Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) chief Eugene G. White has a simple message for his middle school principals. Get results or get out.

Tired of IPS middle schools' lackluster test results and mounting discipline problems, White gave principals one year to turn things around. "Unless we improve instruction and create a safe, orderly climate for kids, we're going to have new leadership," White stated. If that doesn't work, White may abolish the district's middle schools altogether. (What we know about middle schools--read here--suggests the latter idea has merit.)

Last year, all nine IPS middle schools ranked in the bottom quartile in state tests scores. Suspension rates were as a high as one or more for every two students. Little wonder parents are withdrawing their children from IPS rather than sending them to a district middle school.

Ohio's urban district leaders know something about dwindling enrollment. Perhaps they should take a cue from a Hoosier. Don't go soft in the middle.

"IPS Chief Warns Middle Schools: Shape Up," by Andy Gammill, The Indianapolis Star, August 2, 2006.

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