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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Ballard releases 5-point plan for improving education

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Mayor Greg Ballard has unveiled his education platform that includes strategies to increase public education opportunities within the city that will position Indianapolis as a national leader in innovative education reform.

“The future of our city involves the creation of new, independent, high-quality public schools that consistently educate and serve all students exceptionally well,” said Mayor Ballard. “New, independent, high-quality public schools are an element of – and can be a catalyst for – neighborhood, workforce and economic development.”

Mayor Ballard’s plan builds upon his first term in office, which include:

  • Received more than 50 applications for new charter schools and opened eight schools – four of which are nationally unique models – for a total of 23 schools.
  • Secured up to $1.4 million in grants.
  • Piloted a model high school accountability system.
  • Created a new performance system for students in special education programs.
  • Featured in nine national publications.
  • Made eight charter school renewal decisions.
  • Launched enhanced school performance information via the Internet.
  • Expanded the Office of Charter Schools into the Office of Education Innovation.
  • Petitioned the Indiana General Assembly to pass a law that allows the mayor to petition the State Board of Education to transfer underperforming schools to local oversight.
  • Implemented an intensive community school model with United Way of Central Indiana.

Ballard’s Five-Point Education Plan was announced at the regular meeting of the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee.

The plan follows.

(1) Make Indianapolis national headquarters for education reform movement.

To make Indianapolis the national headquarters for this growing movement, Ballard would attempt to attract education reform leaders and groups to locate in our city. He would offer an income tax credit to nonprofit education reform organizations that locate in the city.

(2) Charter incubator to open 20 new schools by 2016. Despite the number of charters growing more than 40 percent since 2008, Indianapolis still does not have enough high-quality charter schools to meet the need in our community, especially for students enrolled in chronically low-performing schools.

(3) Expedite replication of successful existing charter schools.

Indianapolis is home to 23 charter schools, many operating successfully with students coming in to attend from low-performing traditional public schools. In addition to incubating new charters, Ballard would expedite the process to speed up the ability of these schools to replicate their successes in other parts of our community.

(4) Create schools targeting high-growth job sectors.

Indianapolis is emerging as a national leader in many high-growth career fields. Recently the Wall Street Journal identified Indianapolis as one of the nation’s seven top growth hubs, highlighting the city’s success in attracting and growing life science jobs. Mayor Ballard would work with education leaders, third-party organizations and charter school operators to develop charter schools that prepare students for jobs in these high-growth sectors.

(5) Petition to return local oversight of state turnaround schools.

Mayor Ballard worked with state lawmakers to give the city the ability to petition the State Board of Education to return schools subject to state turnaround to local control.


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