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Learning Curve

  • An F for transparency
    “Look at this shiny thing over here!” – Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma, Oct. 14, 2014.
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Charter school turnarounds?

The best evidence that Indiana public charter schools aren't living up to their hype might be found here, in the announcement that two of the four Title I School Improvement Grants are going to charter schools.

If charter schools were established to give educators the freedom and flexibility to achieve what traditional public schools can't, why is it now necessary to spend millions of dollars to "transform" newly established schools?

"Schools most in need of dramatic improvement were given this opportunity to commit to transformational change that benefits students," Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett said of the $15.5 million in Title I School Improvement Grants.

Indianapolis Metropolitan High School opened in 2004 and the Challenge Foundation Academy just four years ago. How is it that these schools now qualify as candidates in need of a transformation?

So freedom and flexibility from educational bureaucracy that charter supporters insisted was needed isn't enough. In the end, they just need need the money.

Couldn't the state have saved dollars by not creating more schools that needed to be transformed?

Karen Francisco, editorial page editor for The Journal Gazette, has been an Indiana journalist since 1981. She writes frequently about education for The Journal Gazette opinion pages and here, where she looks at the business, politics and science of learning as it relates to northeast Indiana, the state and the nation. She can be reached at 260-461-8206 or by e-mail at kfrancisco@jg.net.

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