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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.

FWCS superintendent discusses problems with state mandates with Rotary Club of Fort Wayne

Wendy Robinson, Fort Wayne Community Schools superintendent. (News-Sentinel file photo)
Wendy Robinson, Fort Wayne Community Schools superintendent. (News-Sentinel file photo)
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Tuesday, February 21, 2017 06:02 am
ISTEP. No Child Left Behind. Vouchers. About 60 Rotary Club of Fort Wayne members heard the challenges for local educators described by Fort Wayne Community Schools Superintendent Wendy Robinson during her "State of Our Schools" discussion at the group's meeting Monday at Parkview Field.

The leader of the state's largest public school district, with 30,000 students, described some of the issues that have been taken out of local control, and therefore, local accountability.

One problem with state legislators, she said, is "they don't stick to something long enough to see results."

One issue decided at the state level was the school voucher program, called Indiana Choice Scholarships, which provides public money for students to attend private schools.

Robinson described some of the problems she sees in the program. Most of those students removed from top FWCS schools through the program was because the parents want to send them to a charter school close to their home. These private schools may not be equipped to handle the special needs of some of these students and some parents ask for FWCS' help with those services.

"We're playing with the lives of children," she said.

Touting FWCS' promise of transparency, Robinson, who attended along with some of the district's school board and staff, pointed out to the Rotarians the district's annual report available at their tables. It lists the district's graduation rate for 2014-15 as 86.9 percent. However, Robinson emphasized that the district does not abandon those students, but can connect them to resources. "It might take them five years (to graduate), but we don't give up on them."

FWCS board Mark Giaquinta pointed out that that number doesn't tell the full story on the district's efforts to educate the future workforce. If a child, say one of the many immigrants in the district, moves outside the district without FWCS knowing where he or she went, it counts against FWCS' graduation rate.

 



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