IPS Makes Right Move
Despite the wailing and gnashing of teeth on social media, Indianapolis Public Schools is making the right decision by closing Broad Ripple High School and turning Northwest and Arlington into middle schools. It’s also continuing with its plans to close down John Marshall.
I understand the emotions attached to these institutions, but there is a certain reality that needs to be faced here. The district has been losing population at the high school and if tough decisions aren’t made now, the state will come in and make them later. If you don’t believe me, pay a visit to Gary and Muncie.
This is a simple matter where the numbers tell the story. Where at one point, IPS had 25,000 high school students, today that number is 5,000. My high school in Chicago in the late 1980s had 2,000 students. And because of those low numbers, Broad Ripple and Arlington are operating at 25 percent capacity. Northwest is at 32 percent. And don’t blame charters and innovation schools. If there were none in the District, IPS would still have the same issue as it does right now.
Let that sink in for a few minutes.
Now here’s some good news. The remaining high schools: Arsenal Tech, Washington, Attucks and Shortridge (along with Herron and Purdue Polytech) will actually offer students more choices. Arts, science, engineering, vocational tech, social science, etc. And students and their parents will have the opportunity to pick which school works best for their child. The data shows students are more likely to graduate and do well when they have a choice as to where they want to go as opposed to being forced to go to schools within their boundaries.
And not only is the potential there for kids to get a better education that suits their interests, but the district can save on transportation costs since, geographically speaking, the remaining high schools are centrally located.
And speaking of savings, IPS is also going to close down two administrative facilities.
Now, of course, it will behoove the District to properly and effectively communicate with the parents, students and neighborhood groups and businesses in the effect areas.*. I think they can and they will. They don’t have a choice. And I truly believe that when you lay out all the facts and put the histrionic emotional displays on the shelf, the public will see that this is the right thing to do.
IPS is like a couple whose children have all moved out and it’s time to downsize.
It’s just that simple.
* The IPS Board of School Commissioners will take their regularly scheduled July and August meetings on the road to each of the schools recommended for closure. Each meeting will include a period for public comment. People can go to www.myips.org (Click on the School Board tab) to sign up to speak. Deadline for sign-ups is noon on the day of each meeting. Those meetings are scheduled for:
Broad Ripple Magnet High School for the Arts and Humanities
115 Broad Ripple Ave.
John Marshall Community High School
10101 E. 38th St.
Arlington Community High School
4825 N. Arlington Ave.
Northwest Community High School
5525 W. 34th St.