A personal note today – to congratulate the staff and students of Fort Wayne's Lincoln Elementary School for being named one of just two Title I Distinguished Schools in the state. The program honors schools for "significant efforts to close the achievement gap or drive exceptional academic performance and provides each recipient a $50,000 high-performing school grant award," according to a news release from the DOE.
Lincoln Elementary is my neighborhood school. It's been almost nine years since my youngest son attended there, but I know some of the teachers doing great work there and still feel a sense of community pride in the school's achievement.
About 65 percent of Lincoln's enrollment qualified for a free- or reduced-price lunch last year, about the same percentage as Fort Wayne Community Schools overall. The number is steadily growing and makes the need for quality early learning even greater. Indiana policymakers, unfortunately, do not support early childhood education. It's much easier to beat up on public schools if you keep them at a disadvantage over other states. Witness the state's failure to seek any share of the Race to the Top Early Learning dollars or make any effort to catch up with the rest of the nation in supporting early childhood education.