School Choice

Irvington Community Schools foremost supports equity in education. It’s why we exist. Children deserve to go to school where their chances of academic success and building a solid career foundation is best suited for them and their families. One’s ZIP Code should not limit a child’s educational options or determine destiny. School choice matters.

What also matters is that consumers of public education understand the facts when it comes to public charter schools – and that is perhaps the most important point of all: charter schools are public schools.

One myth that should be dispelled is that public charter schools can pick and choose students (otherwise known as “cherry picking”). Nothing could be further from the truth. Per Indiana Code 20-24-5-5, public charter schools must accept any child that comes our way, same as traditional public schools. To avoid oversubscribing, public charters set enrollment targets agreed upon by their charter authorizers, and locally, in cooperation with Enroll Indy, a unified enrollment process launched in 2018 in which Indianapolis-area public charter schools and Indianapolis Public Schools participate.

Accountability is often misrepresented by opponents of public charter schools. In exchange for not being tied to a traditional public school district, Indiana’s public charters are considered to be their own independent LEAs – Local Education Agencies. In return for this autonomy, public charters have a higher level of accountability than traditional public schools. Like our traditional counterparts, public charters must meet state and federal accountability measures including Public Law 221 (school improvement), Indiana’s A-F Accountability Model, and the federal government’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA, formerly known as No Child Left Behind). As well, public charters are bound to meeting the requirements stated within their charters and their performance is closely monitored by their authorizers. Further, the charter renewal process is rigorous and lengthy, beginning several years prior to the renewal decision date. (Irvington Community Schools’ authorizer, the Indianapolis Mayor’s Office of Education Innovation, holds a seven-year charter with ICS.) Of note, an authorizer may revoke a charter at any time and close public charter schools in its portfolio if financial and / or academic performance is not up to par. Finally, public charter schools in Indiana, nonprofits all, are governed by a board of directors. Indeed, we live and breathe school performance accountability.

As one of the oldest K-12 public charter schools in Indiana, established by local East Side residents in a grassroots effort, Irvington Community School, Inc. fully supports a fact-based conversation in the public square on the merits as well as the shortcomings of all public schools, both traditional and charter.

All public school teachers are in this critical undertaking for the same reason: their love of children, which manifests itself in their essential work to educate every child entering every profession in the United States. This is common ground we should all recognize as a foundation for moving public education as a whole forward.

To learn more about Indiana public charter school accountability, funding, and other pertinent information, please read the attached documents below provided by the Indiana Charter School Network. ICS is a proud member of the ICSN.