With the new administration, we expected to see additional initiatives that promoted privatization with the philosophy of market driven schools. One such initiative is the use of 529 accounts for K-12 schools. This initiative would see the 529 account used to pay for private and parochial schools with taxpayer dollars. These programs offer little if any accountability for the how the money is spent. Previously earmarked for college education, the federal plan would allow the 529 to pay for private and parochial K-12 education with after tax dollars in accounts growing tax free for this tuition. This plan takes tax money from the state general fund that could be used for public schools. This change to 529 savings accounts immediately benefit wealthy families who already send their children to private schools, but now they will be able to offset their tuition that they already intended to pay for, but now can receive a tax credit for it. Of course, low income families do not have the discretionary funds to set aside for a 529, so this is of little help to them. This is another point of catering to the wealthy and continuing to privatize our schools.
The same is true for the Educational savings accounts (ESA’s). Under the guise of helping children in low performing schools and families of poverty, the same tactic used for vouchers, we would see additional money earmarked for public school tuition going to private and parochial schools.
Along with 529’s, vouchers and ESA’s that use taxpayer dollars for private and parochial schools, we also have another tactic to help the wealthy with scholarship granting organizations (SGO’s). SGO’s provide huge tax credits to individuals who purchase them to be used for private and parochial educations. Make no mistake, these are all attacks on public schools.
There are three types of people in the world; those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wondered what happened. Let us not be the generation who wondered what happened to public education. Let us be the catalyst for keeping public schools as the bedrock for our democracy and be the leaders remembered for being advocates for our children attending our high-quality public schools in Indiana. Your voice matters.