Indiana awarded $241.4 million in the 2021-22 school year to pay tuition and fees for students to attend private schools. That’s 44% more than the state spent on vouchers the previous year.
The increase, detailed in a Department of Education report, isn’t surprising. The Indiana General Assembly in 2021 vastly expanded the voucher program, opening it to families near the top of the state’s income scale and making the vouchers significantly more generous.
Nearly all the 330 private schools that received voucher funding are religious schools. Some discriminate against students, families and employees because of their religion, disability status, sexual orientation or gender identity. Indiana is bankrolling bigotry.
And many of the families receiving vouchers could pay private school tuition without public assistance. Some 20% of voucher households last year had an income of $100,000 or more, well above Indiana’s median household income of about $58,000.
The voucher program, created in 2011, was sold as a way to help children from poor families opt out of “failing” public schools. Mitch Daniels, Indiana’s governor at the time and a leading voucher advocate, said students should attend a public school for two semesters to qualify, giving public schools a chance to show what they could do.Continue reading