Explore Nueroscience in Education with Dr. Lori Desautels

Mind Trust and Mayoral Control of IPS Schools?


Your Christmas wish is my wish and feels to be profoundly true. We cannot afford another ego driven turf  battle over power, control and special interests of educational and political reformers ( some who have never taught a day in a classroom)  neglecting the needs, geniuses, interests, hearts  and minds  that are being slowly and continually diminished in this present state of tired educational reform proposals. 

We are a society of absolutes and it feels we know and understand very little about balance and small shifts that are intentional and followed through with patience, time, adjustments and modifications with regard to the emotional, social and academic skills and potentials of not only our students, but those teachers who now are being told daily …how they will teach, how they will be evaluated, and how their positions are being threatened unless high performance on standardized assessments are incurred. The story of the Mind Trust take- over feels like an understated paradox and this is why.  Although Mind Trust and the Mayor have promoted and prioritized individual school freedoms,  resources and an overhaul of public school bureaucracy, David Harris, Tony Bennett and Mayor Ballard are attempting to take over these impoverished and so -called failing school environments with a “governmental”  feel of mayoral control and a district that will be told how to run almost every aspect if this new proposal is put into place. I smell  power again, and my wish is that parents, teachers and students will rise to this occasion and speak openly dialoguing about possibilities and creative outcomes!

 I am a professor at Marian University and work closely with Teach for America and The New Teacher Project graduate students and first and second year teachers.   We discuss these changes daily and the implications for all students and families. Solutions? Not simple or fast… but because history repeats itself, a systemic change of this magnitude  from the top down promotes, angst, fear, and dissension leaving our children and adolescent needs out of the equation.

So what can we do? We begin asking questions of one another that not only promote discussion, but “service” inside our classrooms and schools. What do you need? How can I help? What are our options? These questions begin in one classroom  in one school at a time where we discuss, create and innovate, fund, assess, and reflect some more with ideas and resources promoting the outcomes we wish to experience. We reflect, we focus on what is working well and what improvements can be made so we are serving educators and families with a holistic landscape of a robust and rigorous curriculum that contributes to emotional and social well-being along with the fine arts, critical and creative experiential learning that is assessed daily! Then we move to a grade level, then we move the changes inside a school… one at a time!


 How will we meet the needs of a chronically stressed population of 8-17 year olds  that are experiencing unprecedented numbers of depression and stress. Charter school, public school, private school , home school… it doesn’t matter what school if students, school leaders and teachers are not continually reflecting on emotional engagement and the necessity of a collaborative process that emphasizes relationships and power of a curriculum and system, for lack of a better word, where the emotional, social and academic needs of all students are deeply understood and met. The socioeconomic gap is greater than the racial gap and we need to hear this and ask the significant questions!!  Why are we not piloting a program with this 160 page proposal inside one classroom in a public school?

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