Petition aims to make IPS a more equitable district

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INDIANAPOLIS –  Parents are calling on Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) to listen up. They delivered more than 1,200 signatures Thursday to the school board and IPS Superintendent Aleesia Johnson, along with a document that breaks down a plan to address closing the opportunity gap for minority students.

The parents say petition comes from a place of respect.

“There’s always room for hope with action. Hope with no action is lifeless,” said Rachel Wright, an IPS parent who spoke at the event.

Hope for the students who were holding signs with names of the people who signed the petition in support of their education.

“They’re not just students to us, they’re our babies,” said parent, LoToya Hale-Tahirou.

Parents along with the group, Stand for Children Indiana want to close the opportunity gap. In March, they released the “Vision for a More Just and Equitable IPS”, which outlines recommendations they believe would do just that.

“We should be prioritizing the youth who are in most need and include schools of all types in the IPS family when it comes to referendum dollars,” said Wright.

Their plans also looks at redirecting funds from the school police force and hiring more diverse teachers. They’re asking IPS leaders like Evan Hawkins to act.

“The work is always being done so as a board we’re really excited and proud of unanimous adoption of our board goals which focus on academic outcomes and equity,” said Hawkins.

Hawkins is talking about how last summer, IPS adopted a new racial equity policy in hopes of addressing these issues and increasing test scores. That’s after in 2019 – data showed only 7% of Black students and 11% of Latino students passed both English and math on ILEARN, compared to 32% of white students.

“For many of our students a great education is the key to breaking generational bondages attached to poverty. It shouldn’t be that challenging,” added Hale-Tahirou.

It’s issues that impact not only IPS, but across the state. Stand for Children Indiana hopes by working together with the district they can be empower students.

“The work is to roll our sleeves up and keep pushing forward to improve outcomes for our young people,” Hawkins said.

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