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Love it or hate it, charter school enrollment is on the rise

Michelle Jones, GIS Analyst, The Polis Center at IUPUI

The topic of charter schools is often controversial.

Consider this. The percent of students in the Indianapolis Public School Corporation enrolled in charter schools 5 years ago was 12.4%. In 2013 it increased to 20.8%. That’s a 67% increase!

But IPS’s increase in charter school enrollment is nominal compared to some other communities. Anderson Community School Corporation in Madison County, for example, increased by 472% between 2009 and 2013.

The following chart shows the percent of students enrolled in charter schools for Anderson Community School Corporation, Indianapolis Public Schools, and MSD Pike Township for years 2009-2013.

charter                 Source: SAVI Community Information System and Indiana Department of Education

Part of the reason we’ve seen such significant increases in enrollment is that the number of new charter schools in Indiana is also increasing. 10 years ago (2002-2003 school year) there were 10 charter schools in the entire state. Now? There are 72.

These data can be fuel for the controversy that surrounds charter schools. Does your community see more charter schools and greater enrollment as positive trends or negative?

John Mutz, chairman of Indianapolis’ charter school board, sees both sides. Benefits of charter schools include the ability to experiment with different types of teaching, including allowing children to learn at their own pace at home on their computers. Teachers can act more like coaches in the classroom. Another benefit is that charter schools can help revitalize neighborhoods. According to John Mutz,  Tindley College Prep High School in the Avondale-Meadows area has sparked a new housing development, a new YMCA, Healthnet Facility, and more.

But there are challenges to charter schools as well. One downside is that they close more often than traditional public schools. Sometimes this is due to the charter school not meeting performance measures, and other times it is due to lack of funding. The most recent example of such a closing is the International School of Columbus, which is closing this Friday after just 5 years of operation.

Want to know if there’s a charter school in your neighborhood?

The SAVI Community Information System recently updated its education data. In addition to 2013 charter school data, you now have access to Advanced Placement and ACT exam data.

What are your thoughts on charter schools? Connect with us on Facebook or Twitter and tell us your opinions.


Inspiring words from this year’s conference

By Laura Danielson, Communications Manager, The Polis Center

At the end of this year’s Governor’s Conference on Service and Nonprofit Capacity Building, we gave each attendee a blank sheet of paper and asked them to complete the following sentence.

When I leave this conference, I will _____________.

The responses range from personal commitments to pledges to challenge organizations to vows to raise awareness. They are as diverse as the attendees themselves. We hope that as you read these commitments, you’ll become as inspired and energized to advocate change as the people who wrote them. 

Tag from Conf


…not be afraid to ask why and why not in everything I do at my job AND in my personal life. I will be a part of the ongoing, ever-changing solution to making life better for the people I interact with every day. I will NOT just maintain the status quo.

…lobby my state representatives to encourage Indiana to accept Medicaid expansion.

…kiss my baby and try hard to make sure she is not one of the “others,” i.e. hungry, homeless, etc.

talk to any organization willing to listen to how hunger impacts their clients/employees.

…commit to introducing a holistic approach to pantries and SNAP outreach. We have to do more than supply “food;” we need to feed the WHOLE individual.

…look at the food pantry in my community center to determine if we are meeting the needs of the community.

…think outside the box to create a unique and holistic solution.

…use our community center as a one-stop shop with information on housing, medical help, food insecurity, and other needs.

…build a better Blackford County.

…strive to create quality programs based on teen and parent needs. These programs will serve as a means to provide educational opportunities that will level the playing field and move toward the eradication of under-education of parents and teenagers.

be innovative in my efforts and not rely on the way things have always been done.

…continue to advocate for older adults.

…personally change my blogging ratio, and up the posts on issues of social justice.

identify the key intervention points and direct resources to those places.

…further research the Clearinghouse Project to learn from the outcomes and see what we can utilize.

…attempt to make my career in the nonprofit industry after graduation, even though it means a smaller income.

…make sure I have the right people at the table.

use data to be more intentional in reaching groups that are not presently at the table but should be.

…get the parents more involved with their children’s growth.

…help parents to understand the importance of education.

engage more qualified volunteers to assist with the children and monitor their growth through education while also identifying weaknesses and strengths of our tutoring program.

…try to understand how my efforts now will affect my service area 20 years from now.

…commit to investing more resources to fully develop and utilize our volunteer program, so I can dedicate and maximize volunteer efforts in health and education initiatives.

…work harder and be more effective at finding strategic partnerships that benefit my community.

…look for ways to educate others on the programs. Greater awareness means more people can get involved.

…refocus on social enterprise.

…become more involved in hunger in the community and start the discussion to have a Food Fair.

…work on moving from a service-focus to an empowerment-focus in my nonprofit work.

…use the data/assessments I already have in more effective ways.

…advocate on behalf of clients and organizations doing amazing work to combat poverty in a frequent, intentional way.

…continue to be a change agent in the community.

…make an effort to be more collaborative in my life and work toward building relationships with neighbors that I do not know.

…build stronger strategic collaborations and make better use of social media.

…work housing into our health activities since housing can be a safe, healthy place to live or a very unhealthy, stressful place to live.

implement what I learned today while advocating for residents of the Fort Wayne Housing Authority.

…focus my intention on speaking to the right people and taking the correct steps towards the future of comprehensive sex education and awareness of sexual assault and rape.

…go back to my community and share what I learned so that we can make changes to improve in different areas.

…start by bringing my ideas to the table!

…question data.

be an advocate for change.

push myself and everyone around me to swim in the Blue Ocean and not get stuck in the Red Ocean.

…look for more collaborations that fill the needs of my program, my agency, and my community.

think about what we need to STOP doing.

…work with my center’s management team to move us into a Blue Ocean.

…read more and learn more about the complexity of education and its needs.

find new ways to collaborate with more community members for the benefit of my students’ education.

…work to create a more intentional system of data collection so we have a comprehensive picture of the outcomes and impact of our program.

…work toward a renewed focus on understanding best practices for after-school curriculum.

…continue to be a voice for the poor and under-privileged in the community.

…be a voice for those who are fearful of city administrators.

…work hard to make sure no one “learns” again.

become a networking superstar and put together amazing partnerships.

…think on a Blue Ocean level to transition from being service-minded to empowerment-minded.

…stay in touch with this conference.

make an intentional effort to collaborate with key stakeholders to provide services most beneficial for the success of students.

Examining Housing Changes Over Time using US Census Data

Changes in Owner Occupied Houses in the KI EcoCenter Area: Block Group Units Comparing 2000 and 2010 Census Data

Dr. Scheurich is a professor in urban education studies in IUPUI's School of Education

Dr. Scheurich is a professor in urban education studies in IUPUI’s School of Education

Guest blog by Jim Scheurich, PhD

A change over time in owner occupied houses is one way to examine whether a community is growing, remaining stable, or growing in terms of owners living in their own homes.

The following comparison is based on federal census data that was collected in 2000 and then in 2010.

What is being compared is the area of the KI EcoCenter and its surrounding neighborhood.  This entire area is bordered on the north by 32nd Street, on the south by Fall Creek Parkway, on the east by Central Avenue, and one the west, mainly by Shriver Avenue, which runs close to and parallel with the east side of I65.  (See map #1.)

In the census data, this KI EcoCenter area is broken into five “block groups,” one of the smallest geographical area in the census data. 


Block groups are statistical divisions of census tracts, are general defined to contain between 600-3,000 people, and are used to present data and control block numbering.  A block group consists of clusters of blocks within the same census track.  Most block groups were delineated by local participants in the Census Bureau’s Participant Statistical Areas Program (U.S. Census Bureau).

One block group is on the southwest corner of this KI EcoCenter area, is labeled as 3515.00.2 (“D” in Table 1 below) in the census data, and has Fall Creek Parkway on the south, 30th Street on the north, Capital Avenue on the east, and Shriver Avenue on the west.  (Also, see map.)

A second block group is on the northwest corner of this area, is labeled as 3515.00.1 (“C” in Table 1 below), and has Fall Creek Parkway on the south, 30th Street on the north, Central Avenue on the east, and Capital Avenue on the west.

In between these two is the block group in which the KI EcoCenter is located.  It is labeled as 3515.00.3 (“E” below) and has Fall Creek Parkway on the south, 30th Street on the north, Meridian Street on the east side, and Capital on the west.

Two other block groups are north of these three.  Block group 3510.00.3 (“A) is above and on the north east corner of the whole KI EcoCenter areas covered in this analysis.  It has 30th on the south side, 32nd Street on the north, Central Avenue on the east, and Meridian Street on the west.

The final block group was labeled 3510.00.4 (“B”) in the 2000 census and 3510.00.1 in the 2010 census (Changing numbers between censuses is common, but it means any analysis must be carefully done to ensure the same areas are being compared.)  It is bordered on the south by 30th Street, on the north by 32nd Street, on the east by Central Avenue, and a jagged west side composed of both Indianapolis Avenue and Ethyl Avenue. 

Table 1 below shows this data.  The first column lists the block group numbers geographically described above.  Column two is the number of owner occupied houses in 2000.  Column three is the same for 2010.  Column four is the raw number difference, plus or minus, with plus meaning an increase in such houses and a minus meaning a decrease.  The fifth column is the percent change between 2000 and 2010.

Table 1: Owner occupied homes (OOH) in the KI EcoCenter area: 2000 to 2010


The next largest percentage decrease was for block group E with a 16.7% decrease, but this was only four houses as this area contains few owner occupied homes.  E is the block group in which the KI EcoCenter is located and has Fall Creek Parkway on the south, 30th Street on the north, Meridian Street on the east side, and Capital on the west.

The second largest raw number decrease and the third largest percentage decrease were for block group D with 25 fewer owner occupied houses for a decrease of 14.8%.  As stated above, D has Fall Creek Parkway on the south, 30th Street on the north, Capital Avenue on the east, and Shriver Avenue on the west.

Block group A had a decrease of 18 homes for a 14.0% decrease.  Area A has 30th on the south side, 32nd Street on the north, Central Avenue on the east, and Meridian Street on the west.

Block group C actually had an increase of 10 homes for a 12.3% increase.  It has Fall Creek Parkway on the south, 30th Street on the north, Central Avenue on the east, and Capital Avenue on the west.

Overall for the entire area, there were 553 owner occupied homes in 2000 and 479 in 2010 for a decrease of 74 homes, a 13.4% decrease.

This data raises some serious concerns about the decline of owner occupied homes in the designated KI EcoCenter area.  This is particularly important in areas A, B, and D.  This could mean that what was once a community, principally occupied by African Americans, is being converted into something else, especially given the expansions of Ivy Tech Community College and the Children’s Museum and publicly stated efforts to gentrify the Near North (NNDC President in Near North News, Sept. 12, 2013).  However, just based on this data, it is not possible to determine a cause for the decline, though it ought to certainly cause concern about the potential destruction of another African American community in Indianapolis, much as happened with IUPUI’s expansion.

Next steps in the analyses will look at the changes in this specific area in rental property and vacant houses.

The following map shows the changes in blockgroups from 2000 to 2010.

2000-2010 Blockgroups Update

The following map illustrates the number of housing units lost from 2000 to 2010 in the KI EcoCenter area.

Combined Map


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