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Editorial: Sad outcome should guide education in right direction

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The closure of the International School marks a sad chapter in the history of Bartholomew County education.

The cessation of operations at the 5-year-old institution last month had an obvious emotional impact on those directly involved — students, their families, faculty, staff and numerous supporters of the school’s concept, which is based on the International Baccalaureate curriculum.

It also had significant financial overtones for members of the faculty, who were forced to look for new employment opportunities with little advance notice.

Most of the displaced students already have transferred to schools within the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp., but as evidenced by the emotional reactions to the closing, many have concerns about their educational and emotional futures.

There are likely to be discussions about the reasons behind the closure in the months ahead, but it is far more important that the focus be on how to strengthen educational opportunities in this community, using this experience on which to build.

The experience of the past five years has not been a contest in which one form of education vies with another. This is also not an outcome that validates a particular curriculum or justifies a maintenance of the status quo, particularly in the public education system.

Indeed, it was unfortunate that the International School model could not have been incorporated into Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. from the outset. Instead, the school’s charter was issued by Ball State University.

That chapter has ended, and now it is time to determine how the experience can be used as a teaching tool for the future of local education.

To their credit, leaders in the school corporation already had taken enormous strides in broadening educational choices for their constituents, providing a variety of “pathways” for students and their families to choose.

Those families who chose the international school model obviously desired something in addition to what was available in BCSC.

The question now is whether the corporation can take heed of these attitudes that still exist and develop systems that can, to some degree or another, address these wishes.

It is vital that all involved agree that there is no one-size-fits-all model for education in this community.

Families must continue to have options as to how their children are educated — be it based on religious beliefs, social factors or type of curriculum.

The good news is that a framework already is in place for expanding school choices.

It is important that this framework be utilized in not only accommodating those who subscribed to the International School concept but in addressing the needs of the community at large.

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