The Herald-Times

Posted: Tuesday, October 7, 2014 5:37 am |

Local residents will have a chance to weigh in on national K-12 education topics at Ivy Tech’s first Kettering Foundation National Issues Forum on Friday.

National Issues Forums open subjects up to members of the community in an effort to find ways to approach an issue and gain multiple viewpoints, according to Chelsea Rood-Emmick, executive director of civic engagement at Ivy Tech Bloomington.

The issue for those who attend the forum on Friday is closing the achievement gap, a problem that has affected local K-12 schools, but it is not unique to Monroe County or Indiana. Across the nation, students in areas with a larger population of minority and low-income families are not achieving at the same level as their peers.

“The idea is to bring together people who are invested in the issue — parents, social service agencies, parents of future K-12 students — to talk about what they would like to see happen to close the achievement gap,” Rood-Emmick said.

Ivy Tech is supplying the space for the conversation to take place without an intention to sway the discussion, she said. Participants’ perspectives will be documented and collected as part of the Kettering Foundation’s National Issues Guides, which may be submitted to policy makers and schools.

Sara Laughlin, director of the Monroe County Public Library, will moderate the discussion by sharing approaches that have been offered in the past to close the achievement gap, such as addressing root causes of poverty, increasing accountability and providing equitable funding.

There will be two forums held where people will have the opportunity to share their views. The first is Oct. 10 from 6 to 7:30 p.m., and the second is Oct. 12 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Both will be at the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center, 122 S. Walnut St. Childcare for kids 5 years or older will be provided for those who register by calling the Waldron Arts Center at 812-330-4400. Find out more about National Issues Forums at

About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.