Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Who Can Save IPS?

So I'm watching Headline News this morning, and I hear that "urban school districts" such as Detroit and Indianapolis lead the nation in dropout rates. This isn't exactly the same kind of press as landing a Superbowl, is it?

So here's what I'm thinking. If having "split" authority is bad for accountability (say for example having one guy run the sheriff's department and another guy running the city police force) how can we ever expect change with a board at IPS? Most people can't even tell you who the superintendent for IPS is, let alone the actual board members. The problem is that Superintendents don't have elections. They are selected by a board selected by voters, most of whom have no clue what their board members actually vote for. Mayors have elections though.

Mayor Ballard, you want to save Indianapolis? Use your political capital and take control of IPS. Put it under YOUR office, just like you did with public safety. Nothing is more critical right now for the future of Indianapolis than fixing IPS. I don't think I'm speculating to suggest that there is a connection between public safety and a bunch of high school dropouts on the street. When Democrats oppose you reflexively, just remind them that you'll only be a one-term mayor since there's no way you'll be able to cut 10% out of the city budget, so a Democrat will be running IPS four years from now. That'll sell them!

Then let the mayors fall or fly as their IPS results dictate. What's that, Mayor Ballard? You don't want to? Yeah, I thought that was just a power grab when you took the sheriff's job. You don't really care about "the buck stopping here," do you?



Anonymous said...

I think it would be odd for Mayor Ballard to have control of only IPS when there are eleven school districts in his city. The first step should be consolidation, then the discussion can turn to who should run the schools.

I would also like to point out that there are successful and popular schools in IPS (that even appeal to middle class folks--both black and white). There are also many graduates from IPS high schools who go on to some of the best colleges and universities in the country.

Anonymous said...

Chris: there is already too much politics in IPS without having the Mayor'as office in there...in fact, the process is way too PC and wrapped up in melodrama already. As someone who is an IPS grad and whose kids could have gone to IPS but left to go Catholic, I can give you all sorts of ideas on how to save/improve IPS...BUT...many of these ideas would gut scared calves AND also require a serious re-examination the value of magnets and charters.

Anonymous said...

The rich liberals who live downtown and in the Meridian-Kessler area usually send their kids to private schools. These same rich elites then bash middle class and upper middle class white folks for fleeing Marion County in search of schools not filled with welfare kids. The rich progressive elites don't want their kids mingling with inner city welfare kids, yet they are pissed when people who are not as rich as them flee to better public schools. Hypocrites.

Nothing can save IPS. IPS is nothing but a foster parent who keeps the kids 9ish hours per day M-F. The kids don't have the support they need at home. As long as home is full of bad influences, no amount of money in the world could change how these kids and their parents view education. Those poor kids raised right will do fine. They will be 1st generation college students. Those with crappy parents (usually mom) likely will drop out and continue the cycle of letting government take care of them. I am sure some progressives would love to offer $50K/year to kids to go to school and get an education, but you had best offer it to my kid as well.

Anonymous said...

Indy graduation rates among nation's worst
A new report from America's Promise Alliance reveals Indianapolis has the second-lowest high school graduation rate among the nation's 50 largest cities. Less than a third of IPS students receive a diploma. Including the city's townships raises the number to just under 50 percent. According to the report, more than 1 million high-schoolers nationwide drop out each year.

Anonymous said...

IPS IDOE and our 150 Member School Board have been lying about government schools from their inception. Losing Ground, by Charles Murray, noted graduation rate lies back in the 1970's. Thoughtful folk ought to think about how to get performance out of a socialized, unionized, government monopoly. The Russians are way ahead of us, although their collective farms are still around consuming resources in much the same manner as government schools.

Anonymous said...

Contrary to IN Dept of Ed published results, Marion County's eleven school districts spend a total of $100 million per year on salary & benefits for over 1,000 administrators. (About 150 of them are paid more than the governor.)