In 2014, Indiana passed a law, with support from the Mayor, that created Innovation Network Schools. The law gives educators the power to create new public schools that can flexibly meet the needs of the students they serve. The city has also been home to a growing number of high-quality non-profit charter schools. Early results are promising.
Indianapolis was home to a struggling traditional public school system that suffered severe enrollment losses over more than a 20 year period.
Between 1981 and 2016, the district’s enrollment decreased by nearly 50%, from 57,000 students to just 30,000, due to families seeking other local school options or moving to the suburbs.
In 2006-2007, IPS’ graduation rate was 47%, one of the lowest high school graduation rates in the state.
Over the past five years, Indianapolis’ locally elected school board has created one of the nation’s most innovative public school systems.
Indianapolis is still in the early stages of change. While there is a long road ahead, results in the innovation and the public charter school sectors are showing real promise.
In the 2016-2017 school year, students enrolled in non-profit charter schools achieved the highest academic growth in the city.
Innovation Schools are trending in the right direction, but the schools have not been operating long enough to draw firm conclusions about their performance.
The high school graduation rate has increased from 47% to 83% between 2007 and 2017.
Since the passage of the Innovation School law, IPS has increased enrollment by approximately 3%, reversing the historical trend of enrollment losses.
Despite these positive trends, the results in Indianapolis are not yet an unqualified success. Citywide results still lag behind the state as a whole. But the collaboration between government leaders, educators, and families has set a strong foundation for future progress.