A group of parents today released their vision for how Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) can dramatically increase achievement for Black and Brown students and ensure greater equity across the district’s family of schools.
The document — “A Parent Vision for a More Just and Equitable IPS” — contains several recommendations aimed at addressing generations-old systemic racism, which is having a significant impact on educational opportunity for children of color.
According to the most recent data from the Indiana Department of Education, only 7% of Black students and 11% of Latino students passed both the English and math sections of the state’s ILEARN exam. This compares with 32% of white students reaching that benchmark. The gap in student proficiency between students of different races is known as the “opportunity gap.”
The document offered by parents to IPS leaders calls for:
- Creating bold goals for increasing Black student proficiency by 300% and Latino student performance by 200% over the next six years;
- Growing schools and models that have dramatically improved results for kids of color;
- Ensuring all schools in the IPS family are funded equitably;
- Dramatically increasing the number of teachers of color;
- Implementing language justice practices in every school to support non-English speaking families; and
- Ending discipline disparities and thoroughly reviewing the role of police in schools to determine if they are contributing to the school-to-prison pipeline.
“District-wide, children that look like mine are more likely to be disciplined. That is simply not right,” said IPS parent Sherry Holmes. “District-wide, children that look like mine are less likely to have a teacher they can relate to. This has to change.”
Parents invited members of the Indianapolis community to join them in their advocacy by visiting http://equitableIPS.org/.
“A Parent Vision for a More Just and Equitable IPS” is the result of months of research and collaboration among parents affiliated with the education advocacy organization Stand for Children Indiana. Parents formed a committee last fall to review challenges they were experiencing. A survey gathering parent opinions on equity and systemic racism was also part of the fact gathering process. By February 2021, parents finalized their recommendations and began sharing them with IPS leaders over the past few weeks.
It is the hope of parents who authored the document that IPS leaders and the Board of School Commissioners will consider implementation of their top recommendations beginning this spring and summer. Parents will also be tracking if their ideas are included in IPS’ upcoming strategic plan.