One hundred and sixteen million dollars. That’s the amount that Education Week reports will be made available this year to Indiana’s voucher schools. Needless to say, that’s also the amount that will be taken away from Indiana’s public schools.
Two new reports detail the exponential growth of the state’s school voucher program: One is the annual report issued by the Indiana Department of Education, the other comes from the Center for Evaluation and Education Policy, which is based out of Indiana University’s School of Education.
The article notes that Indiana has been steadily expanding its voucher program since it was first created in 2011.
Recent changes include raising the threshold on income eligibility, lifting the participation cap on the program, and opening the program up to students who were already enrolled in private schools. For example, the legislature passed a bill in 2013 making students zoned to schools graded “F” in the state’s accountability system eligible for vouchers even if they had never attended their local public school.
For the current school year, fewer than 50 percent of students in the voucher program had previously attended a public school. In other words, we taxpayers have generously taken over the cost of private schooling for parents who had previously been footing their own bills. At the same time that our public schools–especially in urban areas–are being starved of resources.
Voucher programs in Indiana and Ohio have some of the least restrictive income-eligibility requirements in the country.
And I’m sure it’s just a coincidence in our “buckle of the bible belt” state, but 94% of the schools participating in the voucher program are religious schools.
Honest to Goodness. Indiana.