Early indications are education is at the top of voters’ minds going into the race for Indianapolis mayor. The mayor’s office currently has no direct authority over public schools, but the city does oversee several charters. So what can the candidates do to improve the city’s schools? We talked with incumbent Mayor Greg Ballard and his Democratic challenger, Melina Kennedy, to compare their plans for Indy’s children. For our first installment, a look at Kennedy’s education platform:
1.) Focus on early childhood education and literacy.
“The biggest missing element in our city is early childhood literacy and education so I have very specific plan, my 2021 Vision, that invests in early childhood education and literacy,” said Kennedy. She plans to use $150 million raised through the sale of one of the city’s utilities to endow an early education program.
2.) Get the community involved.
Kennedy emphasizes talking with educators and parents to find out what they need and how city leadership can affect change. She has suggested the mayor’s office can set up support programs like crime prevention or reading initiatives to help improve student experience.
3.) Don’t take over the Indianapolis Public Schools right now, but keep the option on the table.
Her opponent, Mayor Greg Ballard, wants the city to take control of the Indianapolis Public Schools, but Kennedy’s team isn’t so sure it’s the right step for the near future. “What I would see my role as is stepping in and doing what I can to help those schools turn around regardless of whatever the state’s structure is,” Kennedy said.
Come back later this week for a look at Republican Greg Ballard’s platform for shaping what happens in the capital city’s classrooms.