INDIANAPOLIS BUSINESS JOURNAL: Extend clarity to vouchers, charters

State schools superintendent Tony Bennett was right to celebrate the achievements of the past three years of his administration during his recent State of Education address. He made it clear that all Indiana schools are now a “school of choice” and that access to most any school is now an option for all Hoosiers.

Creating this system of school choice took years and great thought. Keeping this system for future generations will take just as much care, thought and leadership.

Now that Indiana has many school choices, the conversation is shifting to accountability. Again, Bennett is leading the way for accountability and business leaders, and others interested in education reform should take note.

Much to the chagrin of Bennett naysayers, Bennett isn’t a “shoot from the hip” guy. Look at how he approached accountability during the state takeover process.

Under his leadership, the state completed numerous public hearings and Bennett and his staff visited with school leaders and superintendents, conducted full site visits, and reviewed lots of data. The final decision to hire new consultants and companies to run the schools was truly a “last resort” for Bennett. He had no other choice.

But state takeover isn’t the only option Bennett considers. He recently agreed with Indianapolis Public Schools Superintendent Eugene White’s plan to improve John Marshall Community School. But he did so by setting specific goals to avoid a takeover next year. And, the state has already lined up a takeover company should IPS fail to reach the stated goals. Again, this is a model for accountability. Everyone knows what will happen if goals are met or not.

With other types of schools now in the mix—charter and voucher-redeeming schools—and other “superintendents” with similar power to Bennett’s, it’s important to the health of the school choice movement that we all learn from Bennett’s leadership.

Charter and voucher-redeeming schools, and their support network, need predictability in decision making and transparency, too. These schools take on a great deal of risk just to start up, open and expand. They convince teachers to teach, parents to choose them for their students, banks to lend funds, and vendors to do business with them. Clearly, they take on more risk than a traditional school. This is why Bennett’s transparent, detail-oriented and community-involved approach to accountability is appreciated.

Should a publicly funded school underperform, leaders in charge should do what they can to provide leaders of the challenged school the opportunity to share their plan to improve. The public should be allowed to share their views. A specific amount of time should be set for improvements to take place and goals to be met.

This is what Bennett has done for traditional schools; the same should be afforded to charter and voucher-redeeming schools.

By being transparent every step of the way, leaders will strengthen and grow the public’s involvement in creating new publicly funded schools. All stakeholders—educators, parents, philanthropists, banks, and leaders in all sectors interested in seeing and supporting improvements in Indiana’s public education system—deserve to understand decisions that lead to opening and/or closing a school.

The transparency and due diligence provided by Bennett’s process serves to strengthen the school choice movement. Bennett has built the model for all to follow.

By Kevin Teasley, published by the Indianapolis Business Journal

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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.

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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.