OK, so it’s not original and it’s not even our idea. But that play on the famous New York Daily News headline from 1975 pretty well sums up what the Indiana House did today.
It was Rep. Ed Delaney, D-Indianapolis, who, in an impassioned debate today on the school voucher bill, recalled the Daily News headline over President Gerald Ford’s threat to veto a financial bailout of New York City: “Ford to City: Drop dead.”
“This says, ‘Indiana General Assembly to public schools: Drop dead,” Delaney said.
The House had already given final approval today to House Bill 1002, which greatly expands the number of entities that can sponsor charter schools. Then it approved House Bill 1003, creating the most extensive private-school voucher program in the country.
The votes were 61-34 for the charter-schools bill and 56-43 for the voucher bill. You have to wonder what was said behind closed doors in a House GOP caucus to persuade sensible, moderate Republicans – and there are a few – to vote for the voucher bill. (Four Republicans did vote no).
You can watch the April 27 floor debate on the House video archives.
HB 1002 expands sponsorship of charter schools to private colleges and universities and a state charter board, while adding some accountability measures. It also provides mechanisms for charter schools to take over unused or under-used facilities that were built for students of traditional public schools.
On the plus side, it may create more choices for some parents. It won support from one House Democrat, the thoughtful Mary Ann Sullivan of Indianapolis. But with the doors opening for many more charter schools, someone will have to keep an eye out for operators looking to make a fast buck. Is the Department of Education up to the task?
HB 1003, the voucher bill, on the other hand, is pure politics Continue reading