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Indiana lawmakers to consider big education proposals

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The fate of a couple of Gov. Mitch Daniels' major education proposals likely will be decided Indiana legislators this week.

A House committee is expected to consider Daniels' proposal for teacher merit pay on Monday, and a Senate committee could vote on the Republican governor's controversial plan for private school vouchers on Wednesday.

Daniels' merit pay proposal would require student achievement to account for part of teacher evaluations, and teachers who don't do well on yearly evaluations wouldn't get automatic pay raises. That bill has already cleared the Senate.

A voucher proposal that has already cleared the House would use taxpayer money to help parents send their kids to private school. It's the most controversial of Daniels' aggressive education proposals, but has support from many Republicans who control both the Indiana House and Senate.

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    If it's really "for the children", as so many in the teachers' union claim, then both of these proposals should be met with open arms - but they're not. Why do you suppose that is? There's no violation of separation of Church and State involved, here. The voucher, as I understand it, is based on the average cost-per-pupil statewide. So, if Johnny's parents decide to send him to a private school or a charter school, than that's where the state's school tax money should be going, not into the coffers of the ISTA. The money stays with the child. This promotes excellence in all schools, because it levels the playing field - parents don't have to pay twice to send their children to the best possible school. So, if, for example, IPS is loosing children to, say, the Archdiocesan schools, they're also loosing the money. Which is a BIG incentive to improve said IPS, and stop warehousing the children, often turning out high school "graduates" that are barely literate at the first grade level. If IPS wants the money, they'll have to work to make the schools the best schools possible.

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