Giving Compass' Take:

• Chalkbeat reports on a school in Indianapolis (School 14) that provided a safe haven for local homeless kids, but recent shakeups due to low test scores are now leaving them and their parents nervous about the future.

• Will the new plan be worth it? School 14 will soon be managed be a charter, and though the intent is to bring the education standards up to par, there were intangible benefits that might be lost in the shuffle, such as connecting many of the homeless families to local nonprofits.

• This is sure to reignite the charter vs. public school debate, which you can read more about here. But School 14's situation is unique and we can't ignore the wishes of the families who benefit from it.


Anna Chaney didn’t expect to love School 14. She only sent her daughter because her family became homeless and it was the neighborhood school for their shelter.

But the school soon became an important part of their lives. It has a close-knit community, she said, and there is an abundance of help for families, such as a food pantry, after-school programs, and Christmas gifts.

“Once I was on my feet and able to leave the shelter, we made sure to find a house that was in the boundary”

But last year, Chaney and other parents at the school got a painful shock: After years of low test scores, Indianapolis Public Schools was considering taking drastic action at School 14 by restarting it as an innovation school. Under the plan, which was approved by the school board last week, the school will be managed by a charter operator, with a new principal, and the teachers will likely be replaced — a seismic shift for a school that has long been a place of stability for students living with instability at home.

School 14, which is also known as Washington Irving, has gotten several failing grades, with a brief period of D grades, over the last six years. But many of its parents were nonetheless surprised that the school had struggled on state tests for years.

Read more about School 14 by Dylan Peers McCoy at Chalkbeat