On May 17, 1954, the United States’ Supreme Court unanimously ruled that state-sanctioned segregation of public schools was a violation of the 14th amendment and was therefore unconstitutional in the watershed civil rights case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas.  

This monumental court ruling marked the start of the national effort to desegregate public schools, which continues to this day.  

On the 70th anniversary of this crucial decision by the Supreme Court, we must not forget how the ruling actually came to be. It took the work of countless brave Black parents, students, educators, and allies working tirelessly to demand change at the local, state, and federal level. And it took those community members organizing even after the ruling to ensure the desegregation orders were implemented, despite what seemed like insurmountable obstacles.  

In this current moment, as we see the resurgence of an anti-equity backlash across the county, let us remember the lessons we learned 70 years ago— that when we come together, we have the power to create the world we want to live in. As we reflect on the past 70 years of the fight for education equity, let’s keep working towards a safe, equitable, inclusive classroom for every child, together. 

Read this article on The 74 to learn how segregation legally continues seven decades post Brown.

What was your experience learning about Brown vs. Board of Education and the fight to desegregate our public schools? Let us know by sharing your story here or in the comments below.

When we talk about charter schools, we often get questions about accountability. This article aims to clear up any confusion about how charter schools are held to high standards of accountability that meet or even exceed the level of accountability for traditional public schools.  

In Indianapolis, charter schools experience three levels of accountability:  

  1. Nonprofit Board – A nonprofit board governs every Indianapolis charter school, providing governance and oversight. These boards include diverse, local community members and professionals who each bring a specific expertise, in areas like finance, operations, legal, academics, or community engagement.  
  2. Charter Authorizer – In order to operate as a public school, Indianapolis charter schools must receive authorization from a formal body. The Indianapolis Mayor’s Office authorizes most Indianapolis charter schools. Indianapolis is actually the first state in the country to give the mayor, a democratically elected official, authorizing power over charter schools. The Indianapolis Mayor’s Office oversees the academics, finances, and operations of mayor-sponsored public charter schools that educate about 18,000 students across the city. If a school’s authorizer determines the school is failing to meet expectations, it can revoke their charter which means the school can no longer operate.  
  3. Indiana Department of Education – The third layer of accountability for public charter schools is the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE). If a charter school is not advancing student achievement, the IDOE has the power to intervene. 

Do you have questions about charter schools? Read these frequently asked questions to seek your answers. 

Are charter schools free in Indianapolis?  

Yes, all Indiana public charter schools, including those institutions located in Indianapolis, are tuition-free. They are publicly-funded but privately-operated. 

Can any child attend a charter school in Indianapolis?  

Attending a charter school in Indianapolis is optional. Parents get to make the decision on where to send their child to learn. 

Like other public schools, the state of Indiana requires charter schools in Indianapolis to follow open enrollment laws. This means that any child eligible to attend a district public school in Indianapolis—regardless of race, religion, disability, language proficiency, or academic ability—is eligible to attend an Indianapolis charter school. 

How good are Indiana charter schools compared to those in other areas of the country?  

Indiana’s charter schools ranked number one in the U.S. in 2022 (for the seventh year in a row), according to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. 

As with all schools, Stand for Children Indiana encourages parents to do their due diligence when selecting a school for their child. The best school for your child is the option that fits their needs, interests and has rigorous standards.  

Are all Indianapolis charter school teachers licensed?  

The state of Indiana has passed laws that mandate at least 90% of an Indianapolis charter school’s classroom teachers must be licensed. At mayor-sponsored Indianapolis charter schools, teachers must have a license or be in the process of getting their license. 

Are Innovation Network Schools the same as charter schools?  

No, independent charter schools operate outside the IPS school district, whereas Innovation Network Schools operate inside of IPS.  However, there are some similarities between both types of schools. Leaders at charter schools, like those at Innovation Network Schools, decide what’s best for their students and are free to innovate at the individual school level. 

I spoke at the State Board of Education meeting today because I support our teachers and schools having science-based training and curriculum that will support all Indiana children in becoming skilled readers. 

Watch the video of my testimony here:

I have always admired teachers. I know how hard they work and how much they care about students. My time tutoring only reinforced how much I appreciate the work of our educators.  I believe that in the long-run, changing how our state teaches children to read will only benefit our classrooms and our teachers, who I know care about our kids and want all the tools they can get to help struggling readers in their classrooms. 

I know there has been some pushback about the new literacy endorsement teachers need, and I won’t pretend to know all of the politics at play here. But as a parent who cares about kids in Indiana and as a person who has seen firsthand how the reading crisis in our state is impacting children, I wanted to be here to say our kids deserve more. Our kids deserve proven methods in reading instruction so they have fair chances at successful futures. 

That’s why I support the efforts being made by state leaders to ensure our tremendous educators have the support they need to help our most struggling readers.    

I want to see Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) close the opportunity gap by growing schools that work, regardless of the type of public school.

Watch this to learn why:

All children are capable of amazing achievement in the classroom. It comes down to the opportunities provided by our public education system.

When: May 6th to May 10th, 2024 🌟 Teacher Appreciation Day: May 7th, 2024

Join us in honoring the dedicated teachers who light up our classrooms, inspire young minds, and shape the future.

Here are some heartfelt ways to express your gratitude for all the amazing things our educators do:

Create a social media campaign

Share stories of exceptional educators you know using hashtags like #ThankATeacher and #TeacherAppreciationWeek. You can post photos with your post and encourage others to join the celebration.

You can also share a story about an amazing Indiana teacher who has had a positive impact on you or others and we’ll shout them out on social media for you.

Write personalized notes

Pen down your appreciation in heartfelt letters to your child’s teachers. In these notes you can share specific details about how this teacher made a difference for your family and express how their dedication positively changes lives.

Gift thoughtful tokens

Consider sending your child’s teacher small gifts like personalized mugs, stationery, or classroom supplies. A simple gesture can brighten their day. If you decide to purchase a gift instead of making it, consider supporting local businesses with your purchase.

Send snacks to school

Send in snacks for your child’s classroom and add a special treat for your child’s teachers. Ask them if they have a favorite food that would brighten their day. You may also want to make sure there are no class allergies to avoid or policies around homemade versus store purchased and individually wrapped food items.

Send in school supplies

We may be nearing the end of the year, but teachers often reach into their own pockets to ensure every student has what they need to be learning in the classroom. Ask your child’s teacher which supplies would help them the most for the next schoolyear. Send in a goodie bag of those items.

Sign up to volunteer

Ask your child’s teachers if there are any upcoming activities in which they needs volunteers or if having a parent helper in the classroom one afternoon would be appreciated.

Take an appreciation video

Take a short video of your child thanking their teacher for all that they do and email it to them.

Remember, a genuine “thank you” goes a long way. Let’s celebrate our Indiana teachers and make this Teacher Appreciation Week truly memorable!

Public charter schools play a significant role in Indiana’s educational landscape, offering an alternative model of schooling that prioritizes innovation, choice, and accountability. But often there is some confusion surrounding this type of school. Are they free? Do they accept students with disabilities? Are they public? If you’ve had any of the above questions, you’ve come to the right place.

Public charter schools are tuition-free and open to all students. They operate independently of traditional school district policies and have the flexibility to innovate in how they serve students. This autonomy at the school leader level means public charter school leaders can make decisions that are in the best interests of their students and families. 

This flexibility matches with rigorous accountability. Public charter schools have high standards for advancing student achievement and remaining fiscally sound.

Public charter school facts

  • Indiana charter schools are public schools—they are free to attend and open to all students for enrollment. 
  • Charter schools cannot deny students for any reason and must provide special education services and accommodations like any other public school.  
  • They are governed by a nonprofit board of directors. 
  • Public charter schools give school leaders the autonomy and flexibility to create new models for instruction that meet specific student needs. 
  • They are held accountable for advancing student achievement by their charter authorizer and the  Indiana State Department of Education
  • In Indianapolis, the mayor has the power to authorize public charter schools through the  Office of Education Innovation. The office is responsible for overseeing the academics, finances, and operations of mayor-sponsored public charter schools that educate about 18,000 students across the city.