By the time low-income Indianapolis students are ten years old, they are grade levels behind their more affluent peers. The high school graduation rate in Indianapolis Public Schools is 19% below the Indiana average. Perhaps most alarming, only nine percent of low-income Indianapolis students graduate from a four-year college or university by age 25. This amounts to a simple truth: we are defaulting on the promise of equal opportunity for far too many Indianapolis kids, especially children of color and those from low-income backgrounds.
Though deep inequities persist today, we see countless signs of progress and we have clear, unambiguous evidence of the solvability of the problem. There are many Indianapolis teachers serving low-income students and students of color that consistently – year after year – defy these odds. Growing shares of schools similarly defy the odds and prepare students to live lives of opportunity and choice.
As is true in any endeavor, wherever you see breakthrough results, you see diverse collations of breakthrough leaders driving the effort. Teach For America–Indianapolis is a source of diverse breakthrough leaders. In 2008, Teach For America–Indianapolis enlisted its first group of promising leaders from across our nation to teach in Indianapolis public schools. We saw the need for a collective, broad-based effort, including students, families, educators and community members working from every field, to take shape and almost 10 years later, we are seeing that happen.
Today, we have a member base of nearly 600. This includes more than 300 new and seasoned Teach For America teachers and many leaders at all levels both in and out of schools working to realize educational equity and excellence in our community. Our members have started nonprofits, turned around some of the city’s most struggling schools, and won elected office. We value diversity in every respect. Today, we serve as the leading source of diverse teachers in the state; we believe it’s important to have a diverse network, applying their varied perspectives, experiences and relationships to address educational inequity. We are proud that a growing share of incoming members identify as people of color, 30% last year.
With a large number of alumni from our network working in leadership roles throughout the city, ours is the most exciting community to work in public education in the country. There is an unmatched and growing movement towards a more just education system in Indianapolis and you can have a role in it. Fulfill your greatest ambitions and join our diverse and powerful network to dismantle educational inequity.