Indianapolis is expanding school choice, writes David Osborne in Education Next. In addition to having a mayor who can authorize charter schools, the city now has “innovation network schools” authorized by Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS).
Some are charters, some are startups, and some are existing IPS schools that have converted. All are not-for-profit organizations with independent boards, operating outside the teachers union contract. But all use IPS school buildings and count toward the district’s performance scores. . . . The city’s charters, which outperform IPS’s traditional public schools, now educate more than one third of all public school students in the district, while innovation network schools already educate another 10 percent. Within another year or so, those two sectors combined will surpass 50 percent.
The district also has created “autonomous schools,” which “get more control over their budgets and hiring than traditional IPS schools but remain within the teachers-union contract,” writes Osborne.