Despite your advocacy, and despite the heroic parent voices who have spent years fighting for IPS to make data-driven decisions focused on closing tragically large opportunity gaps in our schools, the IPS board on Thursday approved a strategic plan that fell well short of what our children need. I know it’s frustrating when it feels like our leaders don’t listen.
Personally, I joined Stand for Children nearly 10 years ago to be an ally to parents of color, who have been underserved and underappreciated for generations when it comes to decisions made by our K-12 public school system. And to have this result, it brought tears to my eyes. Because the parents and advocates at Stand – and especially their children – deserve better.
But as the hours have turned to days, my frustration has transitioned to hope and a strong resolve that the changes parents have been fighting for are still 100% achievable. Here’s why:
- Parent advocates at Stand are among the best leaders I’ve ever seen. They inspire me every day, and they will inspire IPS leaders to eventually listen and act on their ideas.
- I believe this IPS board has members who are listening and are committed to evolving this plan in its implementation – especially when it comes to growing the top schools for Black and Brown student achievement.
- And we will welcome new leaders to the IPS board in January – three amazing women who Stand parents endorsed back in September. All of them expressed opposition to the IPS plan that was approved on Thursday.
Thursday’s vote is disappointing, but it’s important to keep in mind that it’s a moment in time. As Dr. King said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” At the root of advocacy is the belief that things can and will change. My belief in our mission and the advocates I’m blessed to walk alongside has never been stronger. The fight for a more just and equitable IPS – for a district that truly serves the needs of ALL children – is still ahead of us.