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Mayoral candidate Joe Hogsett on education in his own words

Democrat Joe Hogsett announced a run for mayor last month at the Landmark for Peace monument in King Park.
Democrat Joe Hogsett announced a run for mayor last month at the Landmark for Peace monument in King Park.
Scott Elliott

Chalkbeat recently interviewed Democratic mayoral candidate Joe Hogsett about his views on education in the city. Read more about the interview here and reaction here.

Hogsett touched on a wide range of issues in his first major interview about education. Here is more of what he had to say on some key issues:

On the role of the mayor in education

Joe Hogsett
Joe Hogsett

“The authority of the mayor, but for mayoral sponsored charter schools, over the day-to-day delivery of public education is indirect. I respect that.”

“I would not be a complainer, not a second guesser, not an armchair quarterback, but be available to visit classrooms and attend choir concerts, band contests, sporting events … to convene and listen to principals and administrators about how things are going. I’d want to promote IPS and other public school corporations around the community, so the good things they are doing are acknowledged. And that their failures, to the extent that those unfortunately occur, are recognized and dealt with.”

On the importance of IPS

“IPS has its fair share of problems. Absolutely. Has it been of some duration? I don’t think anyone would disagree with that. The same types of challenges IPS has faced, perhaps for a longer period of time, are manifesting themselves in other school corporations as well.”

“For any leader to focus exclusively on IPS and not spend as much time with other school corporations, paying as much attention to them as one does IPS, you are giving short shrift to what may be a challenge for the townships as well.”

On the current state of IPS

“We have three newly elected school board members to go along with those who remain. We have a reasonably new, and very well respected, leader in Dr. (Lewis) Ferebee, who I have met with now on several occasions.”

On money in IPS race

“The amount of money involved in elections bothers me across the board. This is not a new problem. Maybe we should be troubled that it’s now moved to the level of school board races. But I think that the involvement of large sums of money, large contributors at any level, is always a chronic challenge.”

“You have to balance that against the constitutional principles of free speech and the series of cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court that limits Congress and other legislative bodies from bringing what I would consider to be a little more sanity to the process.”

“It is troubling but I wish I had the answer. I don’t. As long as we have the First Amendment people have the right to contribute in disclosable ways. Let the people know the facts, as Lincoln used to say, and the people will be saved.”

On IPS Superintendent Lewis Ferebee

“I have already offered to Dr. Ferebee to help him personally. All he needs to do is ask. If I’m elected mayor, he and I will engage in a very close working relationship and maybe even a partnership in furtherance of the betterment of IPS.”

“My sense is Dr. Ferebee is available and open-minded. He is progressive. I have found him to be very thoughtful. He is courageous. He hasn’t shied away from controversy, probably much to his chagrin from time to time. These are tough decisions, but you have to have people who are willing to make tough decisions.”

“I do intend to be the kind of mayor who is fully engaged with the superintendent, with principals, with teachers and hopefully with parents and students and other stakeholders so that at least I have a good sense of, and appreciation for, the unique challenges neighborhoods or communities face.”

On charter school accountability

“If a mayoral sponsored charter school is failing, it needs to be held accountable. Nobody wants anyone to fail. They need to improve. They need to get better. If they’re given opportunity to be forewarned, and an opportunity to change, and no progress being made in terms of outcomes, then they need to be closed.”

On city support for preschool tuition for poor families

“I am supportive of the mayor’s preschool proposal. I did take issues with his property tax increase. I am glad the compromise reached funds that program adequately without a tax increase on citizens of Marion County. But I don’t think it can be sustained. That’s why I encouraged our governor and legislature to seriously consider expansion of their pilot program and ultimately put the state in a position so pre-K can be funded from state resources as soon as is reasonably possible.”

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