By Michael Henrich
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Oct. 6, 2014) — On the last day to register to vote in time for the November election, Hoosiers will start to find out Monday whether words will morph into action when it comes to improving the public education system in the Circle City.
With ten candidates competing for three seats on the IPS school board, FOX59’s newsgathering partners at the Indianapolis Star published a column by Erika D. Smith asking when parents would stand up and take action in their schools and the school board races.
“Where is the outrage?,” Smith wrote. “Where is the sustained anger and coordinated determination from the black community — my community — to help fix a school system that serves so many black students in Indianapolis? Where is the large-scale parental involvement? I don’t see it.”
We brought the issue of perceived apathy by the overall community to Teresa Meredith, president of the Indiana State Teachers Association.
“For IPS, the big issue is really community engagement; trying to get folks to be aware of what’s going on in the school in their immediately neighborhood and then asking them to not only be aware, but step inside and see what they can do to help.”
While stressing that her organization is a statewide association, Meredith said that IPS does have some “real gems.”
“We so many times focus on where the weaknesses are and we have to,” she said. “We have to identify the weaknessses, but I think if you look at what’s going well, you can somehow mimic that, hopefully, to help schools that aren’t doing quite as well to improve.”
Meredith added that a big part of improvement rests on parents registering to vote and then getting involved in the upcoming school board races, no matter where they live.
“Talk to the educators. Get inside the buildings. Talk to the bus driver. Talk to the assistant that is at the pickup and drop-off spot for your child,” Meredith urged. “Ask questions of the people who really work in the schools to find out who really is going to be the best candidate to serve the students’ needs in that area.”
In order to vote in the November election, a U.S. citizen at least 18 years old needs to register by the close of business Monday, said Erin Kelley, communications director for the Marion County Clerk’s Office.
“We are voting for our U.S. congresspeople,” Kelley said of this November’s ballot. “We have several statewide races, countywide races, township races and school board – and several judicial retention questions.”
Anyone who wishes to register to vote in Marion County can download a form at this website and deliver it in person to the clerk’s office at the City County Building in downtown Indianapolis. Potential voters can also register online at this IndianaVoters.com website.