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A ‘Portfolio’ of Schools? How A Nationwide Effort to Disrupt Urban School Districts Is Gaining Traction

Several years ago, Indianapolis Public Schools looked like a lot of urban school districts. The vast majority of students attended traditional public schools, though enrollment was dwindling, and the district had an adversarial relationship with its small but growing number of charter schools.

That’s no longer true. The district is actively turning over schools to charter operators, and it’s rolling out a common enrollment system for district and charter schools that could make it easier for charters to grow. Nearly half of the district’s students now attend charters or district schools with charter-like freedoms.

It’s a remarkable shift that many in Indianapolis credit to — or blame on — the Mind Trust, a well-funded local nonprofit with a clear vision for improving education in Indianapolis.