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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Ind. Gov't. - "Voucher schools invite public scrutiny in accepting public dollars"

A long editorial today in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette begins:

What does school choice mean in Indiana? It means taxpayer-supported schools that can choose:

•To refuse admission to students on the basis of religion, economic background, academic record and more.

•Not to offer instruction to English language-learners or students with severe and profound disabilities.

•To conduct school board meetings behind closed doors.

•To teach creationism as science, in violation of federal law.

•To fire teachers without cause.

Taxpayers spent more than $36 million last year on schools not required to provide many of the services public schools must offer. A report released by the Indiana Department of Education this week showed that 19,809 students are using vouchers this academic year – more than double the number who received taxpayer assistance last year.

The General Assembly has expanded eligibility for vouchers each year so that there are now seven pathways for families to qualify. Almost 40 percent of Indiana voucher students this year were never enrolled in a public school. They didn’t choose to leave “failing” schools; they simply chose to use tax dollars at a private or religious school.

Vouchers are not limited to low-income families. A household with three children can earn as much as $102,000 a year and yet qualify for partial assistance. A quarter of the voucher awards this year are used by families at the higher end of income-eligibility limits. For a family of five, that’s more than $51,000 a year.

Related is this Jan. 26th story from Slate, by Chris Kirk, headlined: "Map: Publicly Funded Schools That Are Allowed to Teach Creationism. Thousands of schools in states across the country can use taxpayer money to cast doubt on basic science."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 29, 2014 11:12 AM
Posted to Indiana Government