INDIANAPOLIS--(study that identifies Indianapolis neighborhoods with the greatest need for additional high-performing K-12 schools is being released today by leading nonprofit community development financial institution (CDFI) IFF. IFF's school study, The Shared Challenges of Quality Schools: A place-based analysis of school performance in Indianapolis, is unique in its practical, neighborhood-level analysis of school performance.)--A first-of-its-kind
“to unite district, charter, and independent school leaders around the shared goal of providing quality schools for all children.”
This neighborhood-level approach, according to IFF, is designed to help education stakeholders better focus investments on where they will reach the greatest number of underserved children
IFF says that the overarching question that drives the new study is "[w]hat areas in Indianapolis have the greatest need for high-performing seats?” In providing an answer to this question, the study aims "to unite district, charter, and independent school leaders around the shared goal of providing quality schools for all children."
Indianapolis Needs 78,000 Performing Seats -- 45,000 in Priority Areas
Among its key findings, the new IFF study documents that Marion County needs approximately 78,000 "category A or B seats," or high-performing seats, if it is to provide every child with a seat in a high-performing school. Most of the citywide need for these seats is concentrated in 11 top "Priority Areas," which are scattered throughout the city. Moreover, despite changes to the state accountability metrics, from 2011 to 2012, Indianapolis still consistently needs approximately 45,000 high-performing seats in those same Priority Areas.
Purpose of New Study
IFF says that its new study provides data and analysis that can be actionable "to maximize the impact of educational resources." The study assumes that all students should have access to a high-performing school -- regardless of school type -- in their neighborhood.
Community Leaders Welcome New IFF Study
Community leaders are welcoming the new IFF study as an "invaluable tool" for helping assess educational need.
Said the Executive Director of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Bill Taft: "LISC believes that IFF's educational quality analysis at the neighborhood level will help Indianapolis more effectively target efforts at improving schools. If community development efforts in neighborhoods are to succeed, it is critical that children living in each community have access to a quality education where they live."
"As we develop strategies for improving our city’s public schools, this study provides an invaluable tool to help us understand where the greatest concentrations of educational need exist,” said David Harris, Founder and CEO of The Mind Trust, an Indianapolis-based education reform nonprofit. “The study shows, for example, that charters offer many low-income students higher quality educational options than traditional district schools. At the same time, too many charters still fail to perform, as the study highlights, and those underperforming schools should be closed.”
The new IFF study and a detailed Executive Summary are available here.
With an office in Indianapolis, IFF, certified by the U.S. Treasury as a CDFI in 1996, uses modest government grants and tax credits to leverage substantially greater private resources to provide facilities loans and related services at below-market rates to organizations serving low-income communities. These organizations are addressing such essential community needs as education, healthcare, housing, child care and access to healthy food. IFF’s strong financial performance and wide-reaching community impact has earned it the highest rating from the CDFI Assessment and Rating System (CARS). This makes IFF one of only four CDFIs nationwide – and the only one in the Midwest – to earn CARS’ highest rating of “1” for Financial Strength and Performance; “AAA” for Impact Performance; and a “Policy Plus” for leadership in policy changes supporting disadvantaged people and communities. To learn more about IFF, visit www.iff.org.