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Wait! So competition works?

Indianapolis Public Schools launched a campaign this month going door to door to try and bring back nearly 5,000 dropouts ranging from ages 7 to 23. It’s a positive effort that’s for sure – especially in a district that has a dropout rate of 24.6 percent.

But don’t get too high on that horse just yet.

Why after decades of letting these kids slip through the crack is IPS making an effort to re-engage them? It’s a pretty simple answer – competition.

IPS enrollment has declined by about 8 percent since 2006. Many of these students, at least those that haven’t dropped out, have moved to surrounding township schools where test scores are better or to the various city charter schools. What makes it even more pressing for IPS is that the state just approved a school voucher program for low-income students.

Competition is spurring action. The status quo is being jettisoned in the process and thousands of students lost over the years are getting a second chance.

IPS may be more concerned with incomes than outcomes, but at least the kids are the beneficiaries.


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