“As an organization that spent significant resources supporting the 2018 IPS referenda, we certainly understand the need to invest in our local public schools. While we look forward to hearing the full details of this latest referenda proposal, I’m confident the parents we work with will have several questions that need to be addressed, starting with the strategy that drives this ask of taxpayers.

“Black and Brown families have been clear in their feedback to IPS that the Rebuilding Stronger plan misses the mark when it comes to equitable opportunities for students. The plan greatly expands a school program that has among the worst racial testing gaps in the entire state of Indiana. What even more problematic< leaving out a key parent request to grow a local public school model that is seeing proficiency that is four times the state average for children of color. In hearing from our Stand parent advocates these last several months, I think it is safe to say that growing schools that are working best for children who have been historically underserved must be a key part of any plan funded by this potential referenda.

“It’s our hope that IPS will listen to the constructive feedback being offered by parents — especially parents of color — when it comes to both the referenda and the Rebuilding Stronger plan. For Stand to support any future referenda, the plan for utilizing this new taxpayer funding must be rooted in equity.”

Justin Ohlemiller, Executive Director, Stand for Children Indiana

We’re excited to have launched a new version of our website in August 2022 and are in the process of adding content from before 2022 to our records. Until then, if you have a question about Stand for Children Indiana or the work we do, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Kayla Mattas at [email protected]

To learn more about some of the achievements we’ve made for Indiana students, we encourage you to read these news stories about our work: 

Parents pressure IPS to address academic gaps of Black, Brown students – May 2022 

Stand for Children Indiana unites parents, fights for education equity – December 2021 

How IPS is reaching bilingual families — and what parents want to see next – December 2021 

IPS may share $5 million in referendum funds with innovation schools – November 2021 

Study committee hears testimony on ‘heavy burden’ of juvenile costs, fees – October 2021 

Indianapolis Public Schools sets goals to close achievement gaps for minority students – July 2021 

Parents deliver petition to IPS, outline steps to create a more equitable district – July 2021 

‘Landmark’ juvenile justice bill awaiting governor’s signature – April 2021 

Parents want more action from Indianapolis Public Schools on racial equity goals – March 2021 

I recently spoke to IPS leaders at a board meeting and below is most of what I said. I spoke up because I want to see the district where my children attend get better and set the stage for how equity should look in our community. But I am one voice.

Please join me and parents like me who are asking the district to not only read the goals we have planned for making IPS more equitable, but to act on them by updating the 2025 strategic plan.

Without allies like you, IPS leaders might not take our request seriously, and the current IPS 2025 strategic plan leaves out a lot of detail. Without bold goals found in the details, I don’t see the district becoming truly equitable –despite the best of intentions.

District-wide, students who look like mine are less likely to succeed and I want to see a goal that ensures that’s not going to continue to be the case. I hope to see the IPS strategic plan and equity policy include a goal of increasing Black and Brown student performance and outcomes over the next 5-6 years – if not sooner. The parent vision for a more just and equitable IPS calls for increasing proficiency rates for Black students by 300% over 6 years.

District-wide, children who look like mine are less likely to have a teacher they can relate to. This has to change. I want to see the IPS equity policy and strategic plan set clear, specific goals for growing the number of teachers of color in the district.

District-wide, non-English speaking families are being left out of the conversations and decisions. I want to see the IPS board draft and vote to approve a language justice policy that shapes how schools better support parents and students with language differences.

District-wide, only some schools received their share of referendum dollars. All schools in this district are IPS schools and the funds should be distributed in a way where all schools can get what they need for our babies to succeed. I hope to see the IPS board take action on sharing referendum dollars with innovation schools by this summer.

District-wide, I believe there are mixed feelings about the police in schools. I hope IPS leaders will work to get the community opinion of police-free schools and share the benefits and challenges of ending police presence in schools. I don’t know what the answer should be, but I would like to know if the data shows the funds spent on police could better serve students by being spent on counselors and support services. If we keep police in our schools, I hope they are properly trained to help students and not grow the school-to-prison pipeline.

Last, some schools are equitably serving kids, which is why I know the IPS district can prove all kids can achieve with the right supports. I hope to see the IPS board have a clear plan for duplicating schools that are working for kids like mine. My students attend IPS #87. While a lot of IPS schools have gaps between white kids and Black and Brown kids on tests, the gap is smaller at #87.  Equity is really important to me, so closing that gap at all IPS schools must be a priority. But to close the gap, the board needs to have a timeline and goals for ensuring we have more models that are proven to work for the kids this district serves.

If you agree, please add your name to our vision. There is strength in numbers and the only way the IPS board will act is if enough people show their support.