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IUPUI hosting discussion to gather input about future of Indianapolis Public Schools


August 29, 2012

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A discussion at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis next week will center on community input about how Indianapolis Public Schools can best provide students a high-quality education and will provide the basis for a report on plans for IPS.

The Indiana University School of Education at IUPUI and its Center for Urban and Multicultural Education are hosting “What’s Possible? A Community Conversation about Indianapolis Public Schools” at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 5, in Rooms 450 A and B at the IUPUI Campus Center, 420 University Blvd.

The free event, open to anyone, is intended to be one in a series of community conversations with parents, educators and community members about the future of the school corporation.

“The IU School of Education at IUPUI and CUME are excited to host this opportunity to hear from those who live and work in the IPS district about how to best serve our children,” said John Houser, research associate at the Center for Urban and Multicultural Education. “Given the many ideas currently circulating about what IPS should be, it is crucial that those directly impacted by IPS every day have their say on what is a great education and how we can provide it. We appreciate the chance to be part of a citywide conversation.”

Several community organizations, such as the mayor’s office, IPS, Stand for Children, the NAACP and the Mind Trust, are hosting the series of community meetings.

Organizers have framed the conversation around three core questions:

How can we ensure that all students in IPS have access to a high-quality preschool program?

What is a great school and how do we ensure all schools are great for all children?

 How can we ensure neighborhoods have equitable access to great schools and diverse options to meet student needs? 

When the series of conversations is complete, the organizers will compile a report of community input. That report will be based on a larger question of “What’s possible?” for IPS.

“While these conversations do not directly address the various reform plans proposed for IPS, it is good to see that the city is interested in community input before pushing for any particular type of reform,” Houser said. “We hope that by engaging a diversity of stakeholders, reporting that comes out of these talks captures the rich array of hopes the people of Indianapolis have for their schools, and strong ideas for how we can reach those for all our students and communities.”

In the past several months, several reports regarding plans for IPS have emerged, including reports from IPS itself, the NAACP, City County Councilman Jose Evans, and the Mind TrustCUME released a report earlier this summer critiquing the Mind Trust proposal. The Sept. 5 discussion will not necessarily dwell on specifics from any particular plan, but rather encourage discussion about how to best work toward creating good schools throughout IPS.

The Center for Urban and Multicultural Education at the School of Education at IUPUI creates connections between research, theory and practice with the ultimate aim of improving the quality of education throughout the P-20 continuum, focusing on the urban school setting from early childhood through graduate school levels, and including formal, alternative and community-based education. The mission is furthered through sustainable partnerships created with schools and other educational organizations in communities around Indiana. CUME’S work seeks to support inquiry, facilitate public discussion and critically challenge stereotypes about diverse students, families and schools.