By now you have probably figured out that I am not a big fan of Indianapolis Public Schools. I think Superintendent Eugene White is the epitome of everything that is wrong with modern public education in this country and think a majority of IPS School Board members are living testimonials to Murphy's Law. Now with that said, I think the upcoming school board elections provide an opportunity for the state's largest school district to do a complete 180 and become a diamond instead of big lump of coal.
A number of candidates have filed to run for the board this year. The list is as follows:
- Sam Odle
- Larry Vaughn
- Catlin Hannon
- James Nixon
- Larry Whiteman
- Gayle Cosby
- Sharon Dunson
- Alvin Esper
- Elizabeth Gore
- Diane Arnold
I have interviews both Gayle Cosby and Catlin Hannon. I've found both educators to be sharp, passionate and more than willing to put students first. They believe resources should be directed from the Central Office, or as I call it the politburo, and sent back to the individual schools. Principals should have more autonomy and more decisions should be made at the district level.
I know Sam Odle by his stellar reputation in the Indianapolis community as someone with keen business acumen, which would come in handy in helping run the district's finances. James Nixon has been a frequent advocate for schools and has been speaking out for the need to fix IPS for months. Even Larry Vaughn, known as "Crazy Larry" to those of us in the talk radio business, is known to find a good idea or two, but then again even a broken clock is right twice a day.
I haven't had the chance to visit with Larry Whiteman, Sharon Dunson or Alvin Esper but I do look forward to talking with them over the next few months.
I do know current IPS board member Elisabeth Gore and to be frank I wish I didn't. She has been one Dr. White's enablers for years. And it was under her tutelage, along with Mary Busch, Mike Brown and Marianna R. Zaphiriou, that the district loss control of several schools to the state. There was nothing more frustrating than watching these four wrap a school board meeting and get back into the clown car that they came in after having help ruin the lives of more students. This is why I thanked whatever deity was available at the time for Samantha Adair-White, Annie Roof and Diane Arnold.
I think there are good crop of candidates for the IPS board that the voters can pick from. I just hope the race doesn't get lost in the 2012 shuffle. School board races are at the bottom of the ballot, but they are the foundation for any community. Indianapolis will never be able to truly move forward unless its schools get fixed. Hopefully, the voters of IPS will also see it that way and make some real change for a body that really needs it.