I want to begin this blog by bashing the school board coverage of Indianapolis Public School System (IPS). There are 10 other school districts in Indianapolis, and those school board races barely received any coverage. I am proud to say that my show, The Recess Podcast, not only highlighted the IPS school board races, but I also highlighted races in Wayne, Washington, Pike, and Warren. If you read stories about the local school board elections, you saw stories about the candidates running for school board with IPS. Although, IPS is the largest school district in Indy, the rest of Indy’s students are split amongst the other 10 districts. What about those children and their families?
There are some real issues impacting children in other school districts. The Washington Township school board race includes candidates running who are proposing different tracks for students. Alexandra Curlin is running even after previously winning a seat two years ago where she could not remain in the seat because of a technicality.
In Wayne Township, Karen Burke has lived in the district for fifty years. She has had both children and grandchildren matriculate through the district. This candidate is hoping to continue the great work happening in Wayne and push forward the conversation of race and diversity.
In Pike Township, Temeka Lomax, a former teacher within the district is running for a seat on the school board. She is hoping to bring her experience as a teacher and her knowledge of what is happening in the classrooms to advocate for the district’s teachers. She is hoping to bring the voice of the teachers to the district’s school board.
In Warren, Haley Hilliard is running on the hopes to push for a more diverse Warren Township teaching force, so her children can experience having educators who look like them. As a mother and a small business owner, she wants the board to focus on diversifying the staff and how the schools in the district should impact the community.
These are just some examples of the platforms people who are running for school board in different districts around the city have shared. If these individuals are elected to their school board and get these initiatives off the ground, this could change many districts.
While I know the missteps of IPS have always been highlighted as it is the largest district in the city, I believe the lack of coverage of the other school districts has allowed for those school districts to fail children and have a negative impact on the city and the education landscape.
I want to see more of the large businesses and the local sports teams to donate and support all the school districts in Indianapolis. The children in Warren, Pike, Wayne, Washington, Franklin, Beech Grove, Speedway, Decatur, Lawrence, and Perry deserve the perks afforded to IPS students. I know some will say many of the students who need the resources live in IPS, but there are students who need support in all districts across the city. They also deserve the support!
My challenge first goes to the broader Indianapolis media. Make an effort to highlight what is happening in other districts, both good and bad. The people of this city deserve the news coverage. My challenge to those other school districts is to demands coverage of what is happening in your district. Ensure that you are putting yourself out there to share what is happening so people are aware. Last, the school board candidates who are elected should also push for the same coverage that the IPS receives.