(INDIANAPOLIS) - The Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) district has asked the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) for records related to the 2011 takeover of four district schools.
The move follows revelations that the former Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett sought to change the grade of a charter school funded by a GOP donor. The controversy led to Bennett stepping down as the head of Florida schools, and it's thrown the state's A-F school grading system into disarray. The DOE has promised a review.
In 2011, IPS was fighting the state takeover of Arlington and Howe, insisting the Department of Education unfairly combined the test scores of the separate middle and high schools housed in the buildings.
IPS argued there were two separate schools entitled to two different grades, and that the high school grades were good enough to prevent a state takeover. The Department of Education said no; one building meant one grade. The charter school appears to have received different treatment.
On Thursday, IPS submitted public records requests to both the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) and the State Board of Education for any internal records pertaining to the state's decision to award "Fs" to four combined IPS schools that serve both middle school students and high school students and to intervene in those four schools.
According to IPS Board of School Commissioners' President Diane Arnold, IPS "believes a review of the specific circumstances surrounding the IPS combined schools is warranted given the recent media reports concerning IDOE's treatment of Christel House and a handful of other combined charter schools."
"The accountability system is supposed to be transparent," Arnold said. "It is in the best interest of our students and their families for all of the facts surrounding the school takeovers to be disclosed to the public and reviewed in the light of day."
IPS filed the public records request with the Indiana Department of Education on Tuesday, August 13 and filed with the State Board of Education on Wednesday, August 14.
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