Indianapolis Schools make up the state’s largest school district. Recently Indianapolis Schools have been the focus of a reform package designed to target struggling schools in the state. Due to its immense size, the superintendent has implemented strict reforms that can control and equalize the pacing of individual Indianapolis Schools. However, this most recent motion to tack on an extra 25 days at the end of the year has been met with opposition from all sides.
The Indianapolis Public Schools Teachers Union has expressed displeasure at this development. The extra school days would apply to only four Indianapolis Schools that are believed to be in jeopardy. The progress of each Indianapolis School has been tracked in accordance to the No Child Left Behind Act, which requires annual evidence of improvement.
If no evidence is produced then, according to the act, the schools must be shut down. The progress of the four Indianapolis Schools did not reach necessary standards. In a last ditch attempt to save these schools the superintendent hastily produced an unpopular extension of the school year.
Teachers were informed that they would be required to work the extra days or transfer to different Indianapolis Schools. Because of the time constraints, many teachers feel that the situation was handled poorly and that the information dispensed too late. The extra days, scheduled to begin July 23, would sabotage many summer plans for the teachers in these Indianapolis Schools. Overall there is a general consensus that the situation had been poorly and thoughtlessly handled by the school boards.
This is not the first sweeping reform to target Indianapolis Schools. In the past, the superintendent has advocated standardized tests and restricted teaching methods. These programs were completed in keeping with the standards reform that continues to invade districts across the nation. Teachers in these Indianapolis Schools complied with both constraints and reforms in action if not enthusiasm.
But this most recent dictate has many teachers complaining loudly. The Indianapolis Public School Teachers Union has appealed their case to a state board. They hope that the ruling will favor elimination of the extra school days proposal. Indianapolis Schools may be struggling, but teachers feel that something should have been done sooner to reverse the pattern of failure. Teachers feel that time is running and have asked that their case be moved to top priority. A decision must be made before the start date of extra days begins on July 23.
Aside from the reaction of the teachers, Indianapolis Schools saw the effect this decision would have on students and parents. Since the extra days would benefit struggling students, parents were able to see the positive aspects of this initiative. Many parents viewed the extended school year as a small inconvenience in exchange for the survival of their Indianapolis Schools. Yet other working parents expressed relief at having somewhere structured for children to go over the summer. All sides agree that Indianapolis Schools need to address similar issues before they occur to prevent another similar fiasco.
Patricia Hawke is a staff writer for Schools K-12, providing free, in-depth reports on all U.S. public and private K-12 schools. For more information please visit Indianapolis Schools
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