Group works on alternatives for troubled schools

Associated Press:The Indiana Department of Education is spending nearly $700,000 to develop strategies for overseeing troubled schools that don’t involve a traditional school board.
The work by The MindTrust is being done as the state prepares to recommend which of 18 failing public schools should be removed from district control and given to private school operators to attempt a turnaround.
All 18 schools have scored in the lowest category on the state ISTEP+ exam for five straight years. A 1999 state law allows the state to take over schools if test scores are in the lowest category for a sixth consecutive year.
The education department has paid more than $680,000 to The MindTrust in an effort to make sure none of the failing schools — seven of which are in the Indianapolis Public Schools system — return to the hands of a school board that will lead it back to failure.
“The fact that we have as many failed schools in IPS as we do reflects a larger issue in the overall system,” David Harris, chief executive officer of The MindTrust, told the Indianapolis Business Journal. “The state doesn’t want to return schools to a governance structure that isn’t going to produce conditions that are optimal for success.”