In 2001, at the urging of then Mayor Bart Peterson, Indiana lawmakers enacted legislation making Indianapolis the first U.S. city where the mayor can authorize charter schools, which are public schools that are independent from school districts, allowing them more freedom to make key decisions at the school level.
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 and saw 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 every child in Indianapolis could have the opportunity to receive a life-changing education?
Peterson and Harris knew that making this a reality would require creating enough great schools for every student to be able to attend one. They launched The Mind Trust in 2006 to help do that.