INDIANAPOLIS — A day after Indianapolis Public Schools superintendent Dr. Aleesia Johnson gave her state of the schools, a panel of high school students shared their perspective on how to improve education in the city.
The five students' comments headlined a community discussion on racial disparities in education Thursday night.
Crossroads Public Affairs and the Indianapolis Coalition on African American Males joined forces to produce the event at the Eastern Star Church in northeast Indianapolis. They said the goal was to let the teenagers take the spotlight.
"It gives all the validation in the world to have these high schoolers here identifying the problems, identifying the issues that matter to them the most, and challenging us as adults to be more involved in the progression of their educational achievement," Tim Brown, with Crossroads Public Affairs, said.
The students' solutions included an increased focus on individual mentorship both during and after school, as well as teachers listening more actively to their concerns.
"Normally, in a big community where you have a bunch of adults manning the workforce, you don't really hear children," said Montgomery Brooks, a senior at Rooted School, which is housed within Eastern Star Church. "They're kind of drowned out by all of these people who are in a higher place."
"Every day, we see people just like us struggling," said Tyshiana Bradford, a senior at Shortridge High School. "If you can step in and help guide somebody, putting your best foot forward can really bring everybody up as a community."
The superintendents of the Pike Township and Lawrence Township attended the discussion. Brown said he invited Johnson to come, but she could not make it.