The department of education will have just three months to put the machinery in place for a new private-school voucher system in time for the new school year.
Governor Daniels will sign the voucher bill and an expansion of charter schools into law on Thursday. He‘s already signed bills putting more teeth into teacher evaluations, and establishing a merit pay system for the teachers who excel on those reviews.
State school superintendent Tony Bennett says traditional public schools have nothing to fear from the voucher and charter bills.
“Now there are opportunities,” he says, “for them to be nimble, for them to think about the things they are doing in their school corporation, about quality instructions and quality teachers, to address those needs on a more immediate basis.”
Bennett argues those measures are the answer to many school districts‘ fears of seeing chunks of their budgets walk out the door to charters or private schools. He says rewarding the best teachers and weeding out bad ones will give schools a powerful tool to ensure parents have no interest in looking anywhere else.