Indiana voucher expansion scheduled for vote

It looks like the Indiana House Education Committee will vote Thursday on a plan to significantly expand the state’s already generous private-school voucher program. Hoosiers who care about public education should fight this every step of the way.

Some observations, based on news stories – Indy Star, Evansville Courier-Press and NPR — about Tuesday’s hearing on the proposal, included in House Bill 1003:

First, it’s astonishing how vouchers, a fairly radical idea until recently, have morphed into a middle-class entitlement. Would-be voucher parents imply that they have a right to taxpayer funding of tuition at private schools, most of which are Christian schools. That would have seemed like a far-out idea a couple of years ago.

Second, some Republican officials seem to have embraced the Libertarian position that self-interested parental choice should be the primary driver of education decisions. The logical end point of this thinking is that we should abandon public schools and replace them with a marketplace of school “businesses” motivated by profit or proselytizing.

Third, the debate in the Legislature is racing ahead of the voucher lawsuit that’s currently awaiting a ruling by the Indiana Supreme Court. The voucher system that Gov. Mike Pence and some lawmakers are now pushing is different from the system that was described in legal briefs and testimony for the lawsuit – especially when it comes to the state constitution’s requirement for a “general and uniform system of Common Schools”

Republican House and Senate leaders were smart to pause on amending the state constitution to ban gay marriage and civil unions, reasoning that an upcoming U.S. Supreme Court decision could have an impact. By the same reasoning, it would make sense to wait to debate expanding vouchers until the state court provides guidance on what’s constitutional.

But ideology, not reason, is driving this train. Let’s hope that some legislators show some common sense, somewhere down the track.

5 thoughts on “Indiana voucher expansion scheduled for vote

  1. I have been in education for 33 years and I feel that using public monies to fund vouchers for those who want to go to charter school is rediculous. Look at what happened to those schools that were afiliated with Ball State University that closed due to test scores and all that money was wasted! Most people send there child to public schools, but there were those who sent their children to private schools, aka known now as charter schools in the past. I am sure that if you took a count of all the legislature members you would see that the majority went to public schools and they must be okay to make decisions that affect the rest of us! We are already giving free monies to those on welfare and benefits for food stamps, etc..who are able to find work…monies to charter schools….I stand in line at the grocery and these people have a full cart and I barely have enough for the basics due to no monies for teachers and education and know we are giving voucher monies. Maybe you should look at their finances…I would bet that most are already getting a free ride!
    Private/charter school should be paid for by those who want to…not the majority of those going to public schools!

    • Charters are pubic. Please research before you post; especially if you really want to defend your stance. The mayor closed my daughter’s public/charter school without due process.

  2. I attended the initial reading of the bill and am very concerned that the event was heavily orchestrated with lots of support from the American Center for School Choice, an advocacy group for religious private schools. There appeared to be a team of at least three present. Indeed, as soon as the governor’s spokesperson finished supporting the bill she made her way to speak to the leader. The House violated it’s own rules by reading the bill less than 24 hours after posting the announcement. I guess when you have all the marbles fairness isn’t an issue.

  3. Just anther thing to shove down the throte of public education.give public money to privite schools. that works real well,NOT just look at how poorly they have done.

  4. Republican to-do list:

    1. Create an education crisis in the public’s mind.
    2. Call for bold reform efforts. Kids are at stake!
    3. Create coalitions of business/private school advocates.
    4. Employ powerful, well-funded organizations to bolster cause.
    5. Minimize the power of opponents through legislation.
    6. Install “reformers” into key public posts.
    7. De-fund public schools incrementally.
    8. Install market-based system funded by vouchers.
    9. Shift school management to profit-driven entities.
    10. Claim success of bold reform efforts.

    By all measures, a brilliant and highly effective plan.

    And they are getting closer to their ultimate goal every day.

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