Schools have been politicized in recent years; used by both sides to bolster longstanding battles in American education policy. It’s easy to hate on the American education system. And don’t get us wrong, there are a litany of legitimate beefs with the status quo. Unfortunately, too often those beefs become politicized; each issue fades from black-and-white to red-and-blue. Battle lines are drawn and lost in the fray is the most important thing: Are we doing the best job we can for the students?
But, when we walked the halls of Herron High School in inner-city Indianapolis, we didn’t hear anything about politics or policy. We didn’t hear anything about teacher’s unions or blowing up the establishment.
We saw a diverse student body, we saw a diverse faculty, and we saw engagement like we hadn’t seen ever before. We saw a model of success that ought to be held up, regardless of political bent, as a point of pride. The focus at Herron was singular, concise, and simple: How can we get the most kids to the best universities with the most financial assistance.
The focus was singular, concise, and simple: How can we get the most kids to the best universities with the most financial assistance.
Herron is a bright and shining example of education innovation. It’s not the center-point of a debate over American policy. These numbers cannot be debated:
- 50% increase in neighborhood property values.
- 98% acceptance rate to 4-year institutions.
- $13.2M of college scholarships last year alone.
- 33% less funding from the state.
Take a walk through the halls at Herron and sit down to chat with students, faculty, and parents. Remember that the focus of American education policy isn’t about right or left; it isn’t about unions or markets; it’s about embracing what works. It’s hard to argue that Herron isn’t a shining example of what works.
Marc Oestreich is a contributor for Opportunity Lives.