Indiana House Speaker Todd Huston explained the rationale for expanding private-school vouchers in a story published by the Associated Press. “The overall policy is money should follow the child, to where that child is being educated,” he said.
So there you have it: the philosophy of universal school vouchers, as outlined nearly 70 years ago by libertarian economic Milton Friedman and advanced by his acolytes ever since.
No concern about accountability, about qualified teachers or a fact-based curriculum, about equity, about the rights of children and families. No audits of how public money is spent. No concept that public funding for education should serve the greater good, not just the self-interest of individuals and families.
Faced with questions about state funding for schools that are operating online because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Eric Holcomb came up with an answer: Kick the can down the road.
Gov. Eric Holcomb
Holcomb, together with leaders of the Indiana House and Senate, proposed delaying the “count day” for recording school corporations’ official fall enrollment from September until at least December. That means schools will continue to receive complete state funding through the fall semester.
But it doesn’t address what happens beyond that. Neither does it ensure that schools will get their get the funding they expected for the 2020-21 school year, without having it reduced because some students attend virtually. That will be up to the legislature.
“The key in this discussion is a one-time adjustment to the virtual funding portion of the school formula. That is the solution to the issue,” Denny Costerison, executive director of the Indiana Association of School Business Officials, told me by email.