Dear Friends:

The Center for Reinventing Public Education released an important study today showing Indiana schools serving mostly poor and minority students receive approximately $4700 less per student than schools serving the rest of the state’s students. The study said this amounts to about a third less than all other schools. Yet, the report said research shows it usually costs 2-3 times as much to educate a poor and minority student. So, we receive a third less but serve students who require 2-3 times more. Got it.

This is a critically important report on Indiana’s public education funding formula and certainly suggests major reforms are needed to improve equity in education, not just in funding but in outcomes expected from all schools.

While that battle will take place, I’m very pleased to report the findings above that I’ve graphed out for you to see. Even though GEO’s 21st Century Charter School in Gary, Indiana is in one of the state’s poorest communities and is 100% minority, our students outperform their counterparts in one of Indiana’s richest communities–Carmel, Indiana–and most others, too.

No, that is not a typo. The state of Indiana measures college and career readiness every year and they break down the demographics so we can see how students with comparable backgrounds perform. The data show that 72.6% of Black students in our school earn college and career credits while in our high school compared to 70.5% of Black students in Carmel’s high school. As for low-income students, 74.5% of 21st Century’s students earn college and career credits compared to 66% of Carmel’s low-income students.

And, I have data that show our scores went up 16 points this year–that will be reported soon enough.

So yes, Indiana has a funding problem and it needs fixed. However, while legislators work on fixing the funding formula, we must do a better job of spending the money that we do have. Students can’t wait around for legislators to fix things. That’s an annual problem. Educators and administrators need to do a better job of spending the dollars they already have to serve students better today.

There is no reason every student in Indiana can’t earn college or career credits while in high school. Not one reason! The reason they don’t, is schools don’t make it a priority in their budget, staffing, scheduling, and they don’t do everything in their power to encourage students to push themselves. They don’t!

We do!

Ok, I’ve said enough. I’m sure Indiana will fix it’s funding formula (or at least attempt to do so). But you can rest assured GEO will keep spending every penny we currently receive on increasing opportunities for our students at the college and career level.

Kevin Teasley
GEO Foundation

P.S.: Last year, we spent more than $300,000 on college and career costs incurred by our students. They earned more than 1,000 college and career credits, too. We put our money where our mouth is. We prioritize the students. If you want to help us double the number of credits earned by our high school students, please consider making a contribution today. Click this link to donate today.