Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Kennedy Can Be Transformational Mayor on Education Matters


It looks like education in Indianapolis is going to be a major battleground in the fight for Mayor of Indianapolis, and Melina Kennedy has taken a strong position to win on the issue.

Right now, the Mayor of Indianapolis has very little to do with education in this city and county other than be a cheerleader and a charter granter. I think Melina Kennedy wants to change this. It's a position she doesn't have to take, but it shows the kind of leadership a Kennedy Administration will take to improve Indianapolis.

For his part, Mayor Greg Ballard continues to play it conservative. He clearly doesn't want to take on the responsibility of improving Indianapolis' schools. By his conduct, he's willing to watch from the sidelines and not be engaged in the fight at all. To borrow a Kennedy talking point (that was for Washington Street Politics) the city is "stuck in neutral" for sure in this realm. You see, Ballard was handed the keys of a city that was ready for change in education. Mayor Bart Peterson made people in in his own party mad for his advocacy of charter schools, and he did it before it was popular. That was the case for so many of the Peterson Administration's policies. Ballard continues to just let the car run and not drive it forward.

While I agree in principle with Kennedy's point of view on improving schools in our city, I think that she must do this without getting political. That's going to be the challenge for any Mayor, but I think she can do it. Certainly just the action of making a priority is much better than the way we are dealing with things right now.

I'm sure that there is much more to come on this issue, but I'm also quite sure that Melina Kennedy is on the right track when it comes to advocating for education reform in Indianapolis.

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