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  • Daniels Puts Hoosier State on School Choice Map

    For Indiana families, 2011 is already promising to be an exciting year for educational opportunity. Governor Mitch Daniels recently told the Courier-Journal that he will push to enact an education voucher program for low-income students, which would provide them with scholarships to attend a private school of their choice. The News-Sentinel editorialized on the plan, writing:

    Gov. Mitch Daniels wasn’t kidding when he said one of his goals for the last two years of his term was major education reform… The real stunner, though, is his proposal for a true school choice plan, a voucher system that would allow parents to use state funds to offset the costs of sending their children to private schools. If the governor can pull that one off, it would far surpass both the toll road lease and daylight saving time in sheer audaciousness… Poor students are the ones most in need of a good education. How can we deny them the ability to shop for the best school?

    Daniels is likely to get support for his bold school choice agenda. Speaker of the Indiana House, Brian Bosma, is a strong school choice proponent, and State Superintendent of Education, Tony Bennett, supports Daniel’s education agenda “without question.”

    Across The Hoosier State, parents and local leaders are getting motivated through a new campaign called “Why not, Indiana?” Robert Enlow, President and CEO of the Foundation for Educational Choice noted that the campaign “asks the questions many Hoosiers want answered. Why not provide our kids with a personalized education? Why not allow families a choice of private, charter, magnet, and public schools, with a wide array of options?”

    More quality educational options are clearly needed. While just 34 percent of Indiana fourth graders are proficient in reading, minority students fare far worse. Among African American fourth graders, just 15 percent are proficient in reading.

    Providing an escape hatch out of underperforming public schools can help narrow this gap and raise achievement levels for all students in Indiana. Parents, taxpayers, and local leaders can look to existing school choice programs in Washington, D.C., Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Ohio, as well as tax credit programs in states like Florida and Arizona, for proof of the power of parental choice. Not only are Indiana parents more likely to be satisfied with their children’s education if vouchers are on the table, but student achievement will likely increase, and graduation rates are likely to climb.

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    10 Responses to Daniels Puts Hoosier State on School Choice Map

    1. citizen, USA says:

      Suggestion to Heritage:

      Take a look at the NUMBER of school DISTRICTS in state. Do taxpayers really need all the supts, mgrs, central offices, etc? Could we do with far fewer districts? Say at least 2,000 students.

      Increasing size of districts (population of voters) would also decrease influence of NEA in elections.

    2. Dayle, Puyallup says:

      Sounds like something my home state, Washington State should do too…Go Hoosiers! Lead the way!

    3. Erin, Texas says:

      Citizen, minimizing administrative overhead is a great way to reduce the cost to taxpayers, but creating larger districts also dilutes the input of individual parents. Small districts can be most responsive to local needs.

      The problem is that the number of administrators has been growing MUCH faster than the number of students – clearly, many can be eliminated without compromising the quality of education.

      In my state of Texas, we have some of the most densley-populated urban areas in the country, as well as huge areas that are sparsley populated. So standardizing districts even on the basis of student numbers may not be practical.

      Efforts to make all districts in a state (or nation-wide) "the same" is precisely the problem. The goal is equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome, and what offers greater opportunity than the ability to choose one's school.

    4. Caryl, Illinois says:

      Sure beats the out of control spending in Illinois, a mirror of the Federal

      government, which Illinoisians are NOT TAKING lightly. While we could

      have had Brady for Governor, he won 98 or 99 counties out of 102, what

      did we get — deja vu, the spend all I can marathon man, named Gov. Quinn.

      Does he have any good ideas, no — only tax, tax, tax and businesses are

      leaving in droves, as we have no credibility with the Democrats controlling

      the purse strings. And they think they are doing such a good job, too bad

      they don't know how to read?!!!

    5. Norcross schools says:

      I like the competitive aspect of vouchers. However, let's also implement what citizen USA commented…reduce district bureaucracies. It's out of control.

    6. Spiritof76, NH says:

      Public schools on their own can not succeed because of the union rules- seniority, tenure and protection of incompetent teachers. More choice will force them out. Sweden ( a socilaist utopian country) impelemented voucher program in the 1990s and the private schools are flourishing and forcing the public schools to shed their incompetence.

    7. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      This is the kind of genuine reform I've been crying for, for years! Daniels should be hoisted on the kid's shoulders and paraded around. Any school away from Public Schools (Progressive Madrassas) is new hope for America. What makes it pathetic is how difficult this has been! Twenty years and more! Tell me. Do these Private Schools have any better textbooks, any better curriculum? That is the real difference.

    8. Bruno Behrend says:

      Norcross, Erin and Citizen,

      Take your arguments one step further. Why do we need school districts at all?!

      Of what use is a district or a superintendent?

      If parents have a voucher, how can their control be "diluted?" If money follows the child to a wide new array of content providers, why do we even need expensive "district" infrastructure.

      Please, please, please, don't say "local control." Districts have been engines of centralization from the beginning. The school district is merely a 'franchise" of the DOE/NEA/State School Code complex.

      The sooner you destroy the district, the faster you get school choice. Think big!

    9. Pingback: FRC Blog » The Social Conservative Review: January 6, 2011

    10. Norcross schools says:

      Bruno Behrend

      Yes. Okay, I agree with you. School Districts are another wasteful bureacracy. Let's shake it up!

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