A need for vision and talent
In 2001, at the urging of then Mayor Bart Peterson, the Indiana legislature approved a law making Indianapolis the first U.S. city where the mayor has the ability to authorize charter schools, which are public schools that have more freedom to innovate than traditional schools. Peterson selected David Harris, one of his policy advisors, to build and run the mayor's charter school office.
Peterson and Harris worked to grow the number of high-quality charter schools in Indianapolis as a way to help address the city's critical education needs. They approved several great schools through the charter school office and saw firsthand the dramatic impact that creating world-class public education options had on the city and its families.
This progress encouraged them to think even bigger: What if they could multiply the impact the excellent charter schools were making so that every child in Indianapolis could have the opportunity to receive a life-changing education?
Pulling that off would require attracting a critical mass of talented people to Indianapolis to execute this important work. And it would require coming up with bold plans to change the city's education system. The Mind Trust was created in 2006 to do those things.
The Mind Trust has recruited the nation's top education-reform organizations to the city and started a fellowship to help innovators launch groundbreaking initiatives to address critical gaps in K-12 education. The Mind Trust also has launched a nationally unique Charter School Incubator to bring talented people to the city to start networks of the nation's best charter schools. And The Mind Trust has created and championed a plan to establish the kind of conditions in Indianapolis public schools that would allow students - and educators - to thrive.
We've carved out a reputation locally and nationally for our efforts, with The Indianapolis Star declaring that The Mind Trust is "at the center of the reform movement in Indianapolis."
But much more remains to be done before all Indianapolis students have the opportunity to receive an excellent education. So our work continues.