Video from IndyStar – The Indianapolis Star
In the past few weeks, the Indianapolis Star and the Indianapolis Business Journal have published articles about school vouchers. Both news outlets focused on the need for more accountability when it involves providing funding to private and parochial schools that receive voucher dollars. It is interesting to note, that these articles reported on the fact that the state continues to provide dollars for vouchers to schools that have been rated as D or F for many years with little to no accountability. Furthermore, several schools are receiving monies from vouchers for students who never attended a public school. That number is 55% of students who never attended a public school. The title of the Indianapolis Business Journal article speaks for itself: Wise investment? Voucher system’s effectiveness tough to judge. As we all recall when the voucher program was started under Governor Daniels, the intent of the program allowed for students who were “stuck” in an underperforming public school the “choice” to attend a private or parochial school. So were these choices successful for students? The Indianapolis Star’s Chelsea Schneider reports, “The state isn’t required to analyze the academic performance of individual students as they make the transition from a public school to a private voucher school. Therefore, it doesn’t know whether access to better schools actually has resulted in higher academic achievement for any particular student.”
It is clear from these articles, that voucher students overall are not performing any better now than when they attended public schools. In fact, in many cases, they are not performing as well. Yet, our legislature continues to move down the path of privatizing our state’s educational system in lieu of supporting the public school system that has been effectively educating children for decades. The legislature also holds Indiana public school systems at a higher bar than the voucher-funded private and parochial schools. As I have stated before, it is time for all Indiana public school systems to stand up and share with local taxpayers the real value of where their tax dollars should be going, and that is into INDIANA PUBLIC SCHOOLS!
Dr. Jeff Hendrix
President of IAPSS