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Ball State U and Muncie - Felix Rippy on Universities’ Duties to Save Local Public Schools

Professor Felix Rippy Writes On Ball State takeover of Muncie Schools

Professor Felix Rippy Writes On Ball State takeover of Muncie Schools

Felix Rippy Op-ed

Felix Rippy Op-ed

Felix Rippy is a professor and commentator on public policy issues, especially dealing with public education and funding.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, UNITED STATES, July 27, 2018 / -- Public policy researcher and professor, Felix Rippy discusses the new solution to failing public schools: a university takeover. As Muncie Community Schools were in deep debt, neighboring university Ball State decides to step in. In his USA Herald Op-Ed, Rippy asks how they could just “sit back and watch [their] local feeder schools close or fail[.]” Especially, he emphasizes, because Ball State University was founded as a teaching college.

The Op-Ed recalls the single other university-school district partnership such as this in American history, Boston University’s (BU) takeover of failing public schools of nearby Chelsea, MA. Similarly, to Muncie schools, Chelsea’s school district was in debt, and struggling to keep students from fleeing to other schools. BU first came to control Chelsea schools in 1989 and gave the reins back in 2008.

After two decades of partnership, Chelsea schools were graduating more high schoolers, had art and music programs in their elementary and middle schools, and were offering many Advanced Placement courses in their high schools. Though, the school district was not 100 percent better, these and other massive improvements detailed in Rippy’s discussion make this solution successful.

Felix Rippy discusses universities’ networks and resources that make this solution so impactful. These abilities combined with a vested interest in the success of these local “feeder schools” creates a welcoming environment for university takeover. Further, Rippy points out that while Boston University is private, Ball State’s status as a public college adds a responsibility to give back to the local community that supports its function. By this formula, a plethora of universities across the country have a duty to serve their local public schools.

From BU to Ball State, just how the university in question gained power over their respective school district marks a change in education reform. In 1989, BU took control through a simple vote by Chelsea officials. In 2018, an Indiana house bill has been passed to monitor and handle financially struggling school districts. First, a special state-level board votes on whether the state assumes responsibility of the failing school district. Then, the board moves to revoke many powers of the school district’s board, like hiring and firing power of the superintendent. At a point in the process, the school is open to university intervention. All of this is possible through Indiana House Bill 1315.

Felix Rippy’s review of this historic event leaves an air of positivity. Failing school districts are a burden on their state and municipality, let alone the students they are supposed to be serving.

With the partnership between Boston University and Chelsea as an example, Ball State is sure to bring positive change to Muncie schools. Rippy describes this “innovative Indiana law” as a beacon of hope for struggling schools everywhere if other universities join in the effort.

Felix Rippy
Professor Felix Rippy
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