Voucher participation and spending are expected to jump even more this fall after state lawmakers expanded the program to be nearly universal and open to almost all Hoosier families.
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Indiana House Republicans will seek to expand the state’s “school choice” program despite a top GOP senator’s call for more voucher school reforms.
The 6-3 outcome could fuel a renewed push for school choice programs in some of the 18 states that have so far not directed taxpayer money to private, religious education.
Indiana lawmakers are almost certain to approve a significant expansion of what is already a broad private school voucher program, setting one of the highest family income ceilings in the nation.
The budget proposal, presented Thursday to the Senate Appropriations Committee, would increase state funding for K-12 education by $408 million over the next two years.
Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray of Martinsville said Republican senators have discussed the potential cost of the voucher expansion but remain firm with the GOP line that “money follows the child” and that the state is funding students, not schools.
At least 65 public school boards have passed formal resolutions against the proposed legislation through a campaign organized by the Indiana School Boards Association.
Republicans tout their proposal as giving parents more choices over how to educate their children, while Democrats and other opponents argue that it further drains funding from traditional school districts.
Indiana politicians are seizing on the upheaval caused by the pandemic to push forward a vast expansion of taxpayer funding for private education.
The program has been growing since its inception in 2011, when it was limited to 7,500 students. Last year, 36,290 students around the state utilized vouchers to attend private schools.
The proposal would prohibit private school voucher money from going to schools that discriminate over factors including sexual orientation, disability, race, gender or religion.
The incident involving a Noblesville school raises questions over who’s responsible for ensuring private schools that receive vouchers comply with state laws.
Now in its seventh year, Indiana’s voucher program expanded by slightly more than 1,000 students in the 2017-18 school year
Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick said federal award will go to a minimum of 50 schools.
Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick was joined Saturday by the last two women to hold her position in a public forum where they discussed charter schools and vouchers.
The International School will be a rare example of a secular school accepting state money to help families pay high school tuition.
The study’s finding that students who remain in the program improve over time gives new credence to advocates who said it was unreasonable to judge a program based on only one or two years of data.
The researchers analyzed student records for public and private school students in grades 3-8 during the first four years of Indiana’s voucher program from 2011 to 2015.
Four underperforming private schools won approval Wednesday to accept more students who receive vouchers under Indiana's school choice program, benefiting from a new law that provides a second chance at avoiding penalties.
Speaking to the American Federation for Children, a group she once led, the education secretary said states that opt out of expanding school choice would be making a "terrible mistake."