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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Ferebee’s ‘speed commencement plan’ will hurt our grads

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High school graduations are a unique rite of passage, not just in American society, but I dare say in other civilized societies around the world.

In Indianapolis, high school graduations have traditionally occurred either on weekday evenings; Saturday or Sunday afternoons and evenings, either in ceremonies at school, or because of large graduating classes, at other locations.

Until now…

  • This month, IPS Superintendent Dr. Lewis Ferebee is recommending to the IPS Board that the district undertake a RADICAL change to the district’s seven high school commencements.
  • Instead of being held in the evenings at the respective individual schools, IPS’ Class of 2015 commencements will occur, one after the other, at the Convention Center, Wednesday, June 10, starting at 10 in the morning through eight that evening; with five commencements scheduled to occur before 5:30pm.
  • Instead of parking free in IPS lots or side streets, many parents and friends will pony up the money for high downtown parking rates to see their family members walk across a Convention Center platform and graduate.

Furthermore, to my knowledge, no major urban school district holds high school graduations weekday mornings and early afternoons. (I’ve asked IPS to provide evidence to the contrary, which I doubt they can provide.)

Members of the Crispus Attucks Class of 2015 told me about this absurd plan. In great Attucks Tiger tradition, the students have crafted a petition to Supt. Ferebee pleading this plan be rethought.

Daytime graduation ceremonies are an imposition on working parents and families. Unlike enlightened employers like Lilly, many corporations won’t give employees time off to attend a family member’s high school graduation.

IPS and Ferebee are now forcing parents and relatives into a wrenching choice– lose pay, or miss a milestone in their loved ones’ young lives.

Oh, I forgot to mention the most outrageous part of this idiotic plan concocted by Ferebee and his “Carolina Clique” that now run IPS.

They want the commencements to run 45 minutes to an hour.

Using Class of 2013 data, Attucks graduates would have 22 seconds to have their name called, walk across stage, shake Supt. Ferebee’s hand and receive diplomas. At Northwest, it’d be 13 seconds a graduate. At Tech it’d be a ridiculous 4.4 seconds. All to fit the Carolina Clique’s concept of speed commencements.

This plan for truncated, rushed commencements for IPS graduates is a mockery. It cheapens the ceremony to the equivalent of a kindergarten graduation.

It also insults the tradition of these commencements occurring in their schools. Celebrating the achievement of students finishing high school deserves as much time as needed to provide them and their families with the most significant public recognition many of them will receive in their lives.

This bogus plan puts pressure on our new IPS School Board. You know, the one that Stand for Children bought and paid for.

If this Board adopts Dr. Ferebee’s absurd plan; if they ignore the howls of emotion and protests that’s coming to this Tuesday’s board meeting, then the signal will have been sent, that the new IPS Board doesn’t give a damn about our community. It’ll show they only cater to their wealthy, out of state puppet masters who spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to install a school board so callous and uncaring that they’d reduce a high school commencement to a hurried, ceremonial afterthought.

What I’m Hearing

in the Streets

In barely five months, Democratic mayoral candidate Joe Hogsett’s raised nearly $1.5 million bucks. Meanwhile, the Marion County Republican Party continues to their search for a mayoral candidate.

The big names people know have all said no. Former City-County Councilman Scott Keller has said he’s interested. Another possibility is former Councilman Jeff Cardwell, who runs Gov. Mike Pence’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.

But increasingly, the rumors say the local GOP’s looking at newcomers as their candidate.

One is a businessman named Jefferson Shreve, who until two years ago was a long time resident of Bloomington who moved to Indy and was handpicked to replace Cardwell on the Council.

I’m told severe pressure’s being put on Public Safety Director Troy Riggs, who’s lived here just 28 months, to run.

That heinous House Bill 621, among its abominations, eliminated the old five year residency rule for mayoral candidates.

That makes Shreve and Riggs possible candidates. I don’t know Shreve, I know Riggs. That said, Indy’s next mayor will deal with some intractable issues and its imperative he/she has some understanding of Indy’s history, culture and mores. That’s not to say the next Mayor shouldn’t come up with new ideas for solving Indy’s problems.

Speaking of lack of historical respect, for 71 years the city’s major Black ministerial alliances have sponsored the New Year’s Day Emancipation Day Service.

Politicians looking for Black votes have made the service a required stop. Joe Hogsett attended this year. So did Deputy Mayor Olgen Williams, rumored as a potential mayor candidate by political pundit Brian Howey.

But extremely conspicuous in his absence was prospective independent mayoral candidate Rev. Charles Harrison.

You’d think Harrison, if he’s serious about his mayoral run, would’ve spent the last month in whirlwind visits with community leaders and others.

And given the location of the Emancipation Day Service was just two blocks from his church, I’m puzzled why this serious mayor candidate/minister skipped this event?

See ‘ya next week!

You can reach Amos Brown at ac-brown@aol.com, or follow him on Twitter at @amoswtlcindy.

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