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Indianapolis: The Resistance Pushes Back Against Corporate Reformers

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Indianapolis has been a major target for the privatization movement. A group called The Mind Trust, funded by billionaire foundations, has led the effort to destroy public education, while presenting its motives as benign and admirable.

The corporate reform attack on Indianapolis was described vividly in this post by Jim Scheurich and Gayle Crosby.

Tom Ultican wrote about the destructive role of The Mind Trust in Indianapolis, which claims to be allied with the Democratic Party.

Locals, lacking the resources of the privatizes, have fought to save their public schools.

Here is a report on the recent elections from Dountonia Batts, an active member of the Network for Public Education:

Sending a clear message that the community is fed up with corporate reform, voters in Indianapolis ousted two incumbents on the Indianapolis Public School (IPS) Board, replacing them with opponents of the district’s corporate reform agenda.

First-time candidates Taria Slack and Susan Collins were backed by the IPS Community Coalition (the Indianapolis AROS Chapter) and the local teachers union and ran against incumbents backed by Stand for Children and the Mind Trust, a corporate reform institute. Slack and Collins are vowing to pressure the IPS administration to improve transparency, genuine community collaboration and engagement, and hold the administration accountable.

Indianapolis schools have been under persistent attack by corporate reformers over the past decade, with increasing numbers of charters and public school closings. The district—under the tutelage of the Mind Trust—has also created so-called “Innovation Schools,” which are IPS schools that are handed over to a charter management organization. Innovation Schools have complete autonomy, a school board that is not elected by the public, and receive public funds. Additionally, this structure allows charters under the IPS umbrella to take advantage of district-provided services such as transportation and special education services at no cost. This victory is proof that ordinary citizens can defeat big money. People power trumps money power. IPS Community Coalition is organized, prepared, and ready to reclaim our schools


Dountonia S. Batts, J.D., M.B.A., N.S.A.

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