Rise & Shine: Democratic lawmakers call on colleagues to study Indiana’s virtual schools

I started following Chalkbeat closely when I began reporting for The Statehouse File. I found the organization’s commitment to elevating diverse voices to be a vital model for my own work. Soon, I realized I wanted in — and in time, I was blessed with an opportunity to learn and grow as a Chalkbeat intern.

Growing up, it was easy to take the education I received for granted. I had it easy in a stable community, and remained blind to the inequities actively hurting people — some of whom sat next to me in class, and others who came from my own family in Indianapolis.

It was a huge undertaking to minimize my individual perception of my home community and state to best understand the stories that I told over my 10 weeks here— from the impact of a virtual school scandal on its graduating students, to the complexities that urban transportation poses to charter schools and the difficulty of teacher recruitment and retention in Indianapolis schools.

I bore witness to schools in the midst of change, and to students who overcame unimaginable odds. But not without you: Our community of readers, education leaders, and policymakers who, like us, demand more for students everywhere.

Thank you all — and especially to Stephanie and Dylan, who treated me with respect and authenticity every day — for a summer of lessons I’ll never forget.

— Erica Irish, reporter

Rise & Shine is Chalkbeat’s morning digest of education news. Subscribe to have it delivered to your inbox.

CHARTER CHANGE: After years of being managed from afar by Lighthouse Academies, the local board that oversees the Indianapolis campus is betting that it can operate independently. Chalkbeat

EARLY LEARNING: A new study questions whether Head Start still produces long-run gains seen in past research. Chalkbeat

A panel of Indiana education leaders said more can be done to support childhood learning in pre-kindergarten. IBJ

CHANGING PROFESSION: Amid a literacy crisis, Michigan’s school librarians have all but disappeared. Chalkbeat

CATHEDRAL: As students at Cathedral High School returned to school Thursday, they were met with a rainbow display in support of a teacher fired for his same-sex marriage. IndyStar

VIRTUAL SCHOOLS: State Democratic lawmakers are asking for a summer study committee to address how to regulate Indiana’s virtual schools. News and Tribune, WFYI 

OP-ED: “While we celebrate the thousands of individuals who recently graduated from high school, we cannot forget about the thousands who did not,” organizers for the Community Leadership Innovation Fund write in an appeal to the community. Indianapolis Recorder