IBJ: Whew! Tap the brakes on school reform

Many Hoosier education reformers are salivating over the fast pace of school reform in recent years. For years, Hoosiers were notorious for moving too slowly to improve schools. Today, education reform is moving at warp speed. Gov. Daniels, Speaker Bosma and State Superintendent Bennett deserve much of the credit, too. And so it may sound strange to suggest it’s time to slow down, but so be it.

Indiana has now fully embraced school and parental choice. We have no-cost cross-district choice, within-district school choice, vouchers to access private and religious schools, online schools and charter schools.

Charter authorizers are trying to not only learn their roles but authorize new schools at the same time. School leaders are trying to start new schools. Parents are trying to learn about their many new options. And regulators are trying to keep up with the warp speed at which choice is being implemented, too.

Given all the new options, mistakes will be made by all. School leaders won’t be able to assemble their schools properly in such short time frames and may actually make some mistakes as a result. Some parents will choose the wrong school for their children. Some regulators will make bad calls on the effectiveness of schools. Dollars to support the new choices may not arrive on time, either. The list of potential mistakes is endless.

As a parent, I fully understand the urgency of the need to improve schools, but reforms must be given a chance to take shape. Authorizers and regulators need time to structure their new processes and to fully communicate the expectations and procedures to school leaders and parents. School leaders need time to adjust their processes to meet the expectations of regulators and parents.

Ten years ago, Indiana approved charter law. Today, there are 62 charter schools.

This year, the state approved vouchers. According to the state, more than 250 private schools are participating in the first year of the voucher program. The state has effectively increased the number of school options parents have throughout the state by about 20 percent in the past 10 years. Surely the number will continue to grow too.

During these same 10 years, accountability has changed to include the federal government’s annual yearly progress and then the state coupled AYP with public law 221. The annual yearly report will be decoupled from PL221 this year, and the state is currently revamping its “grading” system for schools (details are expected in the spring and then schools are going to be graded right away).

Funding formulas and the timing of cash flows have changed during this time, the state has taken over tuition support payments, ISTEP testing moved from fall to spring, high school graduation rate calculations have changed, high school tests changed from the graduating qualifying exam to end of course, and more. Common Core Standards are on their way. Clearly, there is a lot going on.

It’s safe to say that all these changes have created a bit of chaos at all levels as well as a bit of unpredictability. Each change affects enrollment, retention, school programs, academic achievement and results, cash flows and more. All these efforts are worthy changes but they need time to settle in and everyone involved—schools, parents, students and communities—needs time to assemble their best efforts.

Now, it’s time to provide every player the opportunity to think through each change and to be more deliberate about their next move. Indiana’s education reforms are indeed on the right path. Let’s not derail progress by continuing to move at warp speed just for the sake of moving. Move deliberately and judiciously and Indiana’s school reforms will continue to make progress.

By Kevin Teasley, published by Indianapolis Business Journal


Aplica Ahora

Grade Level

GEO Prep Academy utilizará el sistema en línea EnrollBR para el proceso de inscripción 2021-2022. EnrollBR es un proceso de solicitud común que brinda ayuda a las familias con la correcta elección de la escuela que satisfará las necesidades que sus hijos tengan. Los padres deben seguir las instrucciones a continuación para registrarse para el año escolar 2020-2021.

  1. Haga clic aquí para ir directamente a EnrollBR y comenzar su aplicación.
  2. Necesitará una dirección de correo electrónico. Si no tiene uno, aquí le brendaremos instrucciones para ayudarlo a configurar una cuenta de gmail de Google. Haga clic aquí
  3. Para obtener instrucciones sobre cómo completar la solicitud de inscripción ante de, Haga clic aquí

Para el año escolar 2020-2021, GEO Prep Academy inscribirá los grados K – 8o. Las escuelas están ubicadas en:

  • Grados K-2do – 4006 Platt, Baton Rouge, LA 70814
  • 3ro – 8vo Grados – 2311 N. Sherwood Forest Dr., Baton Rouge, LA 70815

Para obtener información sobre cómo inscribirse en el actual año escolar, comuníquese con la escuela. Se puede contactar a ambas escuelas al número (225) 927-1500.

Apply Now

Grade Level

GEO Prep Academy will be utilizing the EnrollBR online system for the 2021-2022 enrollment process. EnrollBR is a common application process that assists families with school choice to meet the needs of their child(ren). Parents should follow the below directions to register for the 2020-2021 school year.

  1. Click Here to go directly to EnrollBR and begin your application.
  2. You will need an email address. If you do not have one, there are instructions to help you set up a Google Gmail Account. Click here
  3. For instructions on completing the enrollment application beforehand, Click Here

For the 2020-2021 school year, GEO Prep Academy will be enrolling grades K – 8. The schools are located at:

  • K-2nd Grades – 4006 Platt, Baton Rouge, LA 70814
  • 3rd – 8th Grades – 2311 N. Sherwood Forest Dr., Baton Rouge, LA 70815

For information on enrolling this current school year, please contact the school. Both schools can be contacted at (225) 927-1500.