Star Journalist to Speak About Series on IPS School

by Howard W. Hewitt

February 11, 2010

Award-winning Indianapolis Star journalist Matthew Tully will be on campus Tuesday to talk about his work covering one inner-city Indianapolis High School.

Tully, who has worked at The Star since 2002, has spent considerable time this school year at Indianapolis Emmerich Manuel High school. His poignant stories have had considerable impact around the city. At Christmas time he wrote how turnout for the choir’s annual Christmas show had been dismal in recent years, and hundreds showed up to see the performance.

He will do an informal conversation at noon Tuesday in Detchon’s International Hall. Pizza will be served.

Tully has written about needs in the classroom and Indianapolis businesses have gotten involved to bring needed resources.

"This is a crucial time in public education,” Tully said. “At the federal and state levels, there is a hard push for sweeping reform. Nowhere are reforms needed more than in cities such as Indianapolis."

Kevin Chavous ’78, a leading education reform advocate in Washington D.C., spoke to the Indiana Economic Club in January and railed about the IPS dropout rate. He noted 75 percent of blacks drop out of Indianapolis public schools. Manual has a graduation rate of only 39 percent.

The school’s test scores fall not just under state averages but substantially before IPS averages. Tully’s stories have shed light on the hardships and brought attention to the struggling school.

Manual is a school whose students enter the door burdened with social problems ranging from poverty and teenage parenthood to mental illness and language barriers. By sharing his many conversations with students, teachers, administrators, and even the chief of Manual's police unit, Tully provides a vivid account of some of most pressing challenges facing public education today.

Tully has covered government and politics since 1992. He started his career at the Gary Post-Tribune, later covered the U.S. Senate for Congressional Quarterly, and has worked for The Indianapolis Star since 2002. He was named the paper's political columnist in 2005.
In 2008, Tully was named "Journalist of the Year" by the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and also won the Indiana Associated Press Managing Editors' top award — the Kent Cooper prize for best overall news writing.

Raised in northwest Indiana, Tully graduated from Indiana University in 1992.



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