In Indiana, Billboards Tell Parents, ‘You Can Choose’

Published September 1, 2004

In a public awareness effort to help families in Marion County, Indiana learn how they can help their children access quality educational options, the Indianapolis-based Greater Educational Opportunities Foundation (GEO) in July unveiled its second billboard campaign of the year to tell parents, “You Can Choose.” The campaign features two local families and several students who are taking advantage of public school choice options, charter schools, and after-school tutoring. To view the billboards in PDF format click here.

Nineteen schools in Indianapolis (Marion County) were cited by the Indiana State Department of Education in July as being “in need of improvement” for not meeting state performance standards. Twelve schools will be required to offer Indianapolis students school choice, and seven will be required to offer students tutoring as well as school choice.

“More than 1,500 Marion County families responded to our first set of billboards posted earlier this year,” said Kevin Teasley, president of the GEO Foundation. “It is clear that families will make good choices for their children once they know their rights and opportunities under the law.”

The first billboard promotes awareness of public school choice options. It features Tishika Jackson and her daughter Jayla, 7, who attended a school designated as “in need of improvement” last year. Once a school is listed as “in need of improvement,” parents may choose to transfer their children to a different public school. As a result of her mother’s choice, Jayla will attend a higher-performing public school this fall.

The second billboard features the Bridgeforth family and promotes awareness of charter schools, which are part of the public school choice options Indiana families now enjoy. The Bridgeforth children–Taylor, 11, Colin, 9, and Sterling, 7–attend the 21st Century Charter School at Union Station.

“I see a lot of possibility here,” said their father, Duncan Bridgeforth.

The third billboard promotes awareness of free after-school tutoring programs in the area, and features a group of six students who took advantage of these programs this past year. Title One schools designated as “in need of improvement” for two years running must provide students access to after-school tutoring programs at no cost to parents.

A Parent Information and Resource Center grant from the U.S. Department of Education assisted GEO with its effort to raise awareness of the No Child Left Behind law.

Keri Hunter ([email protected]) is director of operations with the Greater Educational Opportunities Foundation in Indianapolis, Indiana.