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Schools Divided: A conversation about integrating Indianapolis schools

Students eat lunch at the Oaks Academy Middle School, a private Christian school that is integrated by design.
Students eat lunch at the Oaks Academy Middle School, a private Christian school that is integrated by design.
Dylan Peers McCoy

Indianapolis last spring quietly ended a court-ordered busing program that for three decades had tried to bring racial integration to city schools.

But many of the city’s schools today remain deeply segregated by race — a dynamic that Chalkbeat, the Indianapolis Star and WFYI have been exploring since June in a series of stories that will culminate this week in a discussion geared toward solutions.

The event, 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Indianapolis Central Library, will bring together experts and community leaders to discuss why segregation persists and what policies could increase diversity in schools across the city.

READ MORE: Find the entire series here.
READ MORE: Find the entire series here.

The full series explores the reason why Indianapolis Public Schools’ elementary buildings are more segregated than before busing began, as white and middle-income families have flocked to suburban districts.

It looks at how, even within IPS, there is segregation, with many privileged families getting special access to sought-after magnet schools.

It highlights schools that have done a good job integrating classrooms and lunchrooms.

It explores how racism prevented the unification of the city’s 11 school districts.

And it looks at how school choice has contributed to ongoing segregation and how the city’s charter schools are far more segregated than the traditional public schools.

The series has also highlighted some efforts by the IPS board to diversify admissions to magnet schools.

The full Indianapolis Schools Divided series can be found here.

Panelists at Wednesday’s event will include: Carole Craig, an Indianapolis education advocate; Louis Norris, associate director of student services for Perry Township, who oversaw the district’s desegregation busing program; Mary Ann Sullivan, Indianapolis Public Schools board president; Ahmed Young, education director for the city of Indianapolis’ Office of Education Innovation; and Kevin Brown, Indiana University law professor who has studied desegregation and race in education.

Event details:

6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016
Indianapolis Central Library
40 E. St. Clair St., Indianapolis, IN
Get tickets here

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