We Can Do Something About This

Sometimes, real life is so ironic.

There is probably no issue more discussed–in Indianapolis and elsewhere–than education. All kinds of grand reforms are being proposed, all manner of expensive “fixes” and pet theories advanced. And meanwhile, we are failing to support proven programs and experiences for the kids who most need those experiences.

Yesterday, our daughter forwarded an email to me from a social studies teacher at Arsenal Technical High School. After 16 years of sponsoring Model UN participation, Tech no longer has the funding to cover transportation and other costs to participate in Chicago in February, and the school board is refusing to authorize the field trip until the teacher can prove he has the cash in hand.

Anyone who has ever taught high school–and that includes me, back in the day–can confirm the importance of programs like Model UN, We the People, Boys and Girls State and the like. Anyone whose children have participated in one of these experiences knows how educationally valuable they are, especially for kids who come from families that don’t have the means to provide travel and similar “extracurricular” enrichment.

Part of the problem facing Tech is evidently that the state has not yet released Title One funds–something that should have happened months ago. These kids will lose a valuable learning opportunity through no fault of their own, because our public “servants” aren’t performing competently.

The teacher, Troy Hammon, feels so strongly about the merits of Model UN that he is offering to use two personal days to pay for his substitute teacher, and covering his own meals and bus ticket. (Shades of those greedy public sector workers people keep complaining about…)

The per student cost of participation is 450. for each of the eight students going. That covers registration, hotel, bus and meals for four days. Extra dollars would pay for a meeting room for research and preparation, and would reimburse the teacher. The kids–honor students with limited time to work– have been asking their parents and grandparents for help. They can get by with 1500 (with the teacher’s contribution), but ideally would have 4,500.

We’re sending $100, and I’m doing something I’ve never done on this blog–I’m asking those of you who can do so to chip in a few bucks so these kids who’ve been working their hearts out to prepare can go to an event with demonstrable educational benefit.

If you are willing to help, contact Troy Hammon. His email is HammonT@ips.k12.in.us. I believe he is setting up a website through which contributions can be made, or you can just send a check to Model UN, 1500 E. Michigan Street, Indianapolis, 46201. [Update: make check payable to Arsenal Technical High School and put Model UN on the memo line]

Grandiose reform efforts are well and good–and needed, obviously–but shame on us if these kids are denied a valuable experience now because we’re all too busy pontificating about policy to do the job that is currently at hand.


  1. I’ve been told that checks should be made out to Arsenal Technical H.S. with Model UN in the memo section.

  2. Isn’t this the same school that accepted a gift for a multi-million dollar sports-related facility when the NFL show came to town and treated us to a brawl during a high school football game a few weeks ago? Don’t blame the state because this school’s administrators have poor priorities.

  3. Mr. Welsh; I am sure the school administrators would have gladly accepted a multi-million dollar gift for educational betterment but this city takes money away from public education. The gift had to do with the Colts, the Super Bowl and Lucas Oil Stadium; sports venues seem to be first in line for our tax dollars with public education, public safety and a collapsing infrastructure at the bottom of their list – if they are even listed.

  4. Wayne, I’m an IPS School Board member and I also happened to co-sponsor this club when I taught at Tech. I’ll be sending $200 today. I hope you can help, too.

  5. Mr. Welch … Really!

    Let’s punish the dedicated students for the sins (probably should not use the word,
    Sins, here. Public education and all that) of a few trouble makers.

    Red George

  6. Sheila – Thanks for alerting us to this. I’ll gladly contribute and hope many others do as well.
    If someone knows the Colts powers-that-be, perhaps they’d spring for the rest of the amount. They certainly have the money.

  7. When I sent my email to those whom have helped or been a part of ATHSMUN in the past, I expected ideas and suggestions. Suddenly I started getting requests for the address to send donations. Some of those came from recent ATHS graduates who are still in college. That makes me quite proud. Awesome!

  8. THANK YOU, Shelia!

    Gary- If the state/governor isn’t sending out Title 1 funds to I.P.S., what about the schools districts that are not getting their rightful Title 1 funds? How many other Hoosier children are getting the shaft?

  9. Sheila and Mr. Hammon; I hope we will be updated on this situation. Already the response looks good. Have you contacted anyone at Indiana Coalition for Public Education (ICPE) regarding this problem; they might have suggestions for assistance. Best of luck, for this year and coming years for you and these amazing young people.

  10. Thank you to everyone. I have sent emails to groups that have been suggested as potential donors or idea creators. The trip paperwork due date looms larger as I must get approval before the holiday break. Any additional ideas are welcome. Thank you.

  11. Update on our fundraising efforts. We received an $1100 grant from The Indiana University Center for the Study of Global Change to support our trip to the Model United Nations conference in Chicago on February 6-9, 2014. Several donors and ATHS Model UN alumni sent checks from $20 to $100. A current ATHS parent went above and beyond to donate $1000 to help with future expenses. We look forward to any additional ideas or contacts to make future trips a reality. Our ultimate objective is to go, in the near future, to the Model UN conference in New York at the United Nations. Again, we thank you.

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