People know cities like New York City, New Orleans and Washington, D.C., are hotbeds for educational change.
But do they know about Indianapolis? They should.
From vouchers to charter schools, Common Core to A through F grading, there is a lot going on here.
Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be writing about every one of the issues listed below to give Chalkbeat readers a thorough understanding of what’s going on here in Indiana. As those stories are posted, I’ll connect them via links to the bullet points below. So check back here frequently for a guide to the basics of major education issues in Indiana.
But back to the core question – why Indiana? Of all the cities across the country that Chalkbeat could have expanded to, why did we choose to come here?
The fact is, Indianapolis, and Indiana generally, has begun to rival those other places mentioned above that everyone knows about when it comes to education – not to mention other emerging centers for education experimentation like Colorado and Tennessee – as one of the most interesting places to watch.
While Indiana has plenty of the elements of what’s come to be known as “education reform” movement – school choice, standards reform and a rethinking of teacher training and instructional methods – it’s also taken some unique approaches that have distinguished it from other places.
Indianapolis, as a city and state capitol, likes to think of itself as an innovation center. That attitude has carried over to its view of educational change. For instance, Indianapolis is unusual in that its mayor plays an ever-increasing role in education, but does it by sponsoring charter schools, not by running the school district, as other cities have tried.
The progenitors of mayor charter school sponsoring have since birthed another major new educational player in the city and state. The non-profit group, The Mind Trust, created a rare example of an education entrepreneur fellowship, which aims to fund the development of innovative educational ideas on the condition that the entrepreneurs try their new ideas first in Indianapolis.
Since 2010, the state has seen a run of major legislative reforms in education and fierce battles over who controls the state education department and the Indianapolis Public School Board. Among the major issues the state continues to grapple with are:
That’s just a taste of what you’ll read about here at Chalkbeat. Check back here frequently for more.
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