• Charity Scott

Butler/Tarkington Neighborhood School Equity Action Announced

Updated: Jul 13, 2019

IPSCC will stand with this neighborhood group and parents of School 43 on Tuesday, July 16th at 11am in front of the school located, 150 W. 40th Street. Read their statement below.

Superintendent (elect) Johnson, using this photo, stated during her public interview for the position, that it is not the fault of the fish that the water is poisoned, therefore the problems with the water must be fixed. Same is true for the children attending school 43. They need equitable resources in order to make up for seven years of neglect by the district, causing them to fall from an A school to an F.

Sabae Martin is a member of the Butler/Tarkington Neighborhood Association Board of Directors and the BTNA/Great Places Education Committee and a strong advocate for public education, particularly for the children of this neighborhood school. She and others, includingIPS parents, will be available for interview after her brief remarks.

"The IPS choice practice contributed to the state rating of this school going from an A, seven

years ago, to an F today, as measured by the percentage of students who pass standardized tests. It has contributed to the increased turnover in building leadership and instructors the past few years as well.

This is predictive, according to volumes of learning research from decades of study.

The only consistent correlation across the country of student performance on standardized tests is family income. A conducive learning environment and an effective teacher can affect academic improvement. However, privileged children generally do better academically than their counterparts with identical inherent potential but without the opportunities that more privileged children regularly experience.

The consistent decline at School 43 in student achievement correlates with the efforts by IPS

leadership to attract better prepared, higher performing students across the district to the choice magnet schools. The magnet schools tend to be located in parts of the district that serve more privileged families (higher income, greater advanced education of parents, less stress in day-today living, good nutrition, etc.). These parents choose between an IPS school with mostly other privileged, usually non-minority children, or sending them to private schools or other districts with higher percentages of high performing students.

This practice of concentrating together the students of families of greater means has achieved the objective of more IPS schools with a higher school grade and more privileged families staying longer in the IPS system. However, concentrating the privileged students together has meant a disproportionate concentration of less privileged, mostly minority students in their neighborhood schools.

More privileged families often access positive youth development opportunities that instill self-confidence and ambition in their children with sufficient clothing, Little League baseball, travel teams, gymnastics and cheerleading, soccer, volleyball clubs, violin lessons and vacations to places beyond their home. Less privileged families rely almost exclusively on the school itself, not only for minimum literacy and math learning, but for all aspects of helping a child develop into a functioning adult ready for a competitive society.

Because IPS serves a community with far more underprivileged than privileged, this District practice has led to permanent segregation of most underprivileged, minority students in their neighborhood schools.

Due to continuous turnover in the student body, School 43 and other schools serving primarily underprivileged children and their families must be redesigned with sustainably achievable academic objectives and school culture and climate to allow all to reach their potential regardless of socioeconomic or racial circumstance. In the same way we provide food to the undernourished so all students can be prepared to learn, we must put targeted resources to academic and support opportunities to bolster the experience of our less privileged students for schooling to truly be equitable.

A high performing school serving a less privileged population looks different than a school

serving a more privileged student body. The media center with empty shelves in this school

reflects the inequity.

For as many as possible of its children eventually to compete effectively with more privileged

children, the real success of the school must be measured by different metrics. This high

performing school model works hard to engage and support its stressed and hesitant parents rather than expecting parents to embrace and support the school with time, expertise and resources.

Done right, it will be a long process with commitment of many to establish a culture and climate at neighborhood schools like James Whitcomb Riley #43 to serve this population with so much potential yet so much to overcome. Achievement of success could be inhibited by a focus on temporary fixes driven by District preoccupation with state metrics for a 'high performing school.'

Done right, we should set appropriate long-term goals for such school populations and take the best from all school practices to secure a structure to achieve the goals and demonstrate true equity in learning among all children of IPS—not just for the mostly non-minority students from more privileged families."

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