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The question "How are our children?" rooted in the African proverb, "Habari za watoto wetu?" (Kiswahili).  

"How are Our Children?"is a reflection of a community's priorities and well-being. It's not just a question, but a statement that underscores the importance of the next generation's welfare. When applied to the context of African American education in the U.S., especially in light of the Deferred Dream, the impacts, promises, and broken promises post the Brown v. Board of Education decision, the answer is multifaceted. Please read below for our thoughts and how we are answering the call to action.

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1954 - Brown v. Board of Education

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional, marking a significant victory for the Civil Rights Movement.

Source: History - Brown v. Board of Education

1965 - Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)

This act was signed into law to provide federal funding to disadvantaged students, which included many African American students.

Source: U.S. Department of Education - ESEA

1971 - Indianapolis School Desegregation Case

A lawsuit was filed against the Indianapolis Public Schools, alleging that they maintained racial segregation in schools. This led to a series of court orders and plans to desegregate the schools.

Source: Indianapolis Monthly - The Battle for School Integration in Indianapolis


1983 - A Nation at Risk Report

This report highlighted the declining educational standards in U.S. schools and emphasized the need for educational reform.

Source: EdWeek - A Nation at Risk



1990s - Charter School Movement in Indianapolis

The charter school movement began in Indianapolis, offering an alternative to traditional public schools. While some saw this as an opportunity for better education, others believed it further segregated students.

Source: Chalkbeat - How Indianapolis became one of the most segregated cities in the north

2001 - No Child Left Behind Act

This act aimed to close the achievement gap between students of different racial and socioeconomic backgrounds by introducing standardized testing and accountability measures for schools.

Source: Edutopia - No Child Left Behind: An Overview

2010s - Continued Debate on School Choice in Indianapolis

The debate over school choice, including vouchers and charter schools, continued in Indianapolis, with arguments about its impact on racial and economic segregation in schools.

Source: The Indianapolis Star - How school choice is deepening the divide in Indianapolis schools.

2020 - The Impact of COVID-19 on Education

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated educational disparities, with many African American students facing challenges related to remote learning, access to technology, and more.

Source: Brookings - The impact of COVID-19 on student achievement and what it may mean for educators

This timeline provides a broad overview of significant events related to African American education. It can be further refined and expanded based on specific events and milestones relevant to Indianapolis and the broader U.S. context.

The Dream, the Promise, and the Impact 

The journey towards an integrated, equal-opportunity school system in Indiana has been intricate, marked by both achievements and setbacks. From court-ordered desegregation plans in the 1970s to the rise of charter schools (see our timeline below), the state's educational landscape has been in constant flux. The essence of the question, "How are our children?", serves as a reminder for Hoosiers that while strides have been made, the collective commitment to ensuring every child thrives is an ongoing mission.

We cannot simply do what has been done before and expect different results, we must bring together the most impacted and let them lead us in finding the right solutions. Utilizing the Building the Movement framework from the Schott Foundation and NCEBC’s Blueprint for Action, ICESC’s model for school transformation empowers students and families, training and coaching educators, and engaging school administrators and community.

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Our Solutions

Engage the constituents most affected by the problem of school failure, the parents who bare the burdens, community stakeholders, allies, local non- profits, and churches, from across the city to support in growing the conversation around literacy with Indianapolis citizens.

Through this approach we will engage those with an interest in education, to work together to advocate for the needs of our children, through information, solutions, and accountability.
Allies: Corporations, Foundations, Government and Businesses, etc...

Through collective action, engage parents and families, especially those whose children are struggling and/or failing in school. Provide families with training about collective impact and impactful strategies to advocate for a quality education for their child(ren).

  • Install 12 Mini Libraries at beauty and barber shops

  • Host Study Groups on African and African American History at various churches for students, parents and community members.

  • Establish Saturday morning literacy Centers for students and parents (literacy volunteers needed!)

  • Bring the community together through a series of large community celebration and mobilization events. Events feature powerful leaders and experts whose careers are dedicated towards improving the educational outcomes for Black children.


Leading this effort is new partner, Dr. Chike Akua, author of the Reading Revolution,Culturally Relevant Instructional Strategies for Increasing Black Student Success. Reading Revolution includes literacy skills, demonstration lessons, and programs in practical teaching models for under performing African American and other students. Reading Revolution is designed to accelerate learning for students who need to achieve multiple years’ growth in a short period of time. Our teachers receive: Community -based and Professional Development Workshops,

Coaching, Opportunities for classroom observations and modeling so that our students can learn in a culturally rich and academically rigorous setting.

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Community Voices (Solutions)


Get Involved (Upcoming Events)

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