I received a desperate message on Facebook from Tarrey Banks, the founder of The Project School in Indianapolis. TPS is a charter school started with a grant from the Walton Foundation. Greg Ballard, the mayor of Indianapolis, is the authorizer. TPS has low test scores, after four years, and the mayor has decided to close it. Banks and TPS parents are outraged. They went to court, blocked the mayor in a lower court, but then lost when a federal judge upheld the closure. TPS is losing the battle.
To get the big picture of what is happening in Indianapolis, read here. You will encounter a familiar cast of characters, including, of course, Bill Gates and Stand for Children.
What is happening in Indianapolis is terrifying if you believe that public education belongs to the public, not to private corporations. .
Here comes a scary future. First, the “blueprint” for Indianapolis, confidently predicting a future of perfection and excellence, but without any meaningful road map. Just promises. And here come the charters, opening with high hopes and closing when judged by scores.
Open, close. Open, close. Open, close.
Below is Banks’ letter. Read it. Read Mayor Ballard’s Blueprint for Utopia. But if you read nothing else today, read this article about the grand plan to privatize the schools of Indianapolis.
This is the Mind Trust / Mayor Ballard (TFA Deputy Mayor Jason Kloth) take-over blueprint. This will literally be the end of public education in the urban core of Indianapolis.
We need help. It’s all but over. The 10th most populated city in the country is about to be one of the biggest systems of educational apartheid in the nation.
My name is Tarrey Banks and I’m the founding school leader of the Indianapolis Project School. I am a lifelong public school educator who made the decision to start a charter school with a group of passionate educators. We are the only truly progressive public school in our city. We take and teach all kids…we don’t push out, kick out, expel, etc. My daughter is a 7 year old student at our school…I made it for her because I know that all kids deserve what she deserves. We are four years old and this week we were the victim of a conservative political strategic attack. Just 3 weeks our mayor has decided to close our doors. The process was corrupt and the information they used was false and/or inaccurate. We are fighting the good fight, but I firmly believe our school will be shut down by the close of business on Monday. I truly believe this is the death of progressive public education in our city if we do not use this as a catalyst to attack the corporate reform agenda.
I know you are busy…you must be. I intend to use the closing of our school as the beginning of a rebellion. Will you help? How can I get you to Indianapolis to push this force back and make folks wake up and see what is happening? Our city is doomed if I can’t move this conversation in a different direction. We have 100’s of families, students, community members, educators ready to protest…to really blow it up…but I need more…I need a national presence…
Will you? What can I do?