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Group plans ad campaign to back school choice

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A private group plans to spend up to $500,000 on an advertising campaign in support of a push for state legislators to broaden school choice in Indiana.

The Foundation for Educational Choice, an Indianapolis-based not-for-profit formerly known as the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation, has started radio advertisements featuring the slogan: "Option: the next chapter in education."

The group also has ads that will appear on billboards and city buses and online. It expects to spend $400,000 to $500,000 on the campaign in Indiana, or about 10 percent of its 2010 revenue, foundation President Robert Enlow said.

"We think it's amoral to base quality of education on the ZIP code you live in," Enlow told The Indianapolis Star. "For us, it's a civil rights issue, an issue of economic freedom and educational freedom."

Proponents of choice say students should be allowed to attend any school they want and that the public money spent on them should follow them even if they choose private schools.

Indiana students already have limited choice as they can move freely within public schools, though they are responsible for their transportation.

Nate Schnellenberger, president of the Indiana State Teachers Association, said such a school choice option could put poor families at a disadvantage because they might not be able to provide transportation for their children to attend other schools.

"We think it drains resources from current public schools, and we think it's a lot better to focus on improving all public schools rather than draining those resources," he said.

Enlow and Schnellenberger agree that moves to broaden school choice in Indiana could have its best chance to advance in the Legislature since Republicans won a strong majority of both the House and Senate in the November election for the session that starts Wednesday.

Enlow said the foundation is working on similar campaigns in three other states — Oklahoma and two others he declined to identify.

Gov. Mitch Daniels and state schools superintendent Tony Bennett, both Republicans, have said they favor more school choice options.

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  1. Only half a million TV Viewers? And thats an increase? I knew Indycar was struggling but I didn't know it was that bad. Hell, if NASCAR hits 5 Million viewers everyone starts freaking out saying its going down hill. It has a long way to before Indycar even hits NASCAR's bad days.

  2. IU has been talking that line for years with no real progress even with the last Dean, Dr. Brater. Why will an outsider, Dr. Hess, make a difference? With no proof of additional resources (cash in the bank), and a concrete plan to move an academic model that has been outdated for decades with a faculty complacent with tenure and inertia, I can count on IU to remain the same during the tenure of Dr. Hess. One ought to look to Purdue and Notre Dame for change and innovation. It is just too bad that both of those schools do not have their own medical school. Competition might wake up IU. My guess is, that even with those additions to our State, IU will remain in its own little world squandering our State's tax dollars. Why would any donor want to contribute to IU with its track record? What is its strategy to deal with the physician shortage for our State? New leadership will not be enough for us to expect any change.

  3. How do you think the Bridges got approved? I spent a couple days researching PAC's and individual contributions to some city council members during that time. My printouts were inches thick on the two I concentrated on. Finally gave up. Was disgusted with all the donations, and who they were from. Would have taken me days and days to compile a complete list. Tried to give it to the Star reporter, but he thought it was all just fine. (and apparently he was treated well himself) He ended up being laid off or fired though. And then of course, there was land donated to the dad's club, or city, as a partial payoff. All done in the shining example of "charity." No, none of these contributions are a coincidence.

  4. I agree what kind of help or if any will be there for Dr. Ley's patients. I was a patient myself.

  5. What about the hundreds of patients who sought this doctor for the right reasons, to quit drugs. what option do these patients now have, experience horrible withdrawl or return to heroin?? those are the choices. what about the children of these former addicts who's parent(s) WILL not b able to maintain their job, for @ least 2 weeks.. There needs to b an emergency clinic opened for these patients.

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