When my daughter and I lived in Georgia for a short time, I was so surprised by what I saw in her schools. No teacher had more than 16 kids in a class and every teacher had an assistant. Her school had a nurse, counselors, and social workers. The kids there were so far ahead of my daughter, but because of how the school was set up — she caught up fast. I believe if we want to make sure Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) is equitable and that kids are getting the most out of their education, we have to consider similar things.
Some IPS schools have teachers who are supported and have help in the classroom. Other IPS schools have teachers who are forced to play the roles of nurse, counselor, and social worker. Teachers won’t stick around in these conditions, and if they do, they can’t be effective for our kids. Most teachers I know got into the field because they want to help kids, but they can’t help when they are overwhelmed with too much.
Kids in this district, a lot of them have tough lives and bring their troubles into school with them. Are our schools set up to help them? Or are we suspending and expelling kids who need the help the most? Are we offering kids a place to calm down or get help and get back to class?
I want to see the racial equity policy applied. I want to see our students challenged. Equity can start with the leaders of this district and trickle down. Before we know it, it will influence not only our schools but our neighborhoods and our whole community.
Here’s the hard truth: Not every IPS school is providing the same opportunities to students. But we have evidence about what works and we know what needs to happen to uplift our district so it serves every child. As an IPS mom, I believe our district can and must do better – and those changes start with us. By joining me and emailing IPS leaders, you can influence the decisions the district makes about the policies that affect our children’s educations and future. You can be a part of this historic movement to strengthen IPS.