Indiana

Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Duncan Repeats Desire For Better Public Schools, Not Private School Vouchers

Screenshot/ed.gov

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan speaks to PBS Correspondent John Merrow during a "Twitter town hall," streamed online at the U.S. Department of Education's website.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan repeated his intentions to “never support school voucher programs” during a “Twitter town hall” streamed online at the Education Department’s website.

It’s a stance Duncan has taken before: vouchers take state resources away from public schools.

“I want great public education. A seven year old doesn’t know whether he’s going to a public school or a voucher school… We underinvest in public education and we need to put more resources in, not to support the status quo, but to improve” told PBS correspondent John Merrow in a live web stream.

While Duncan has made similar statements in the past, he has said that voucher programs are necessary in certain cases — such as in Washington, D.C. schools.

But Duncan’s statement still puts his overall position at-odds with Indiana’s new school voucher program, which appropriates state money to fund tuition for more than 2,800 students enrolled in more than 250 private and parochial schools statewide.

When Duncan and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels — who supports private and parochial school vouchers — appeared on stage together in April, Duncan’s language was nearly identical (as reported by the Associated Press):

“We need to make every single public school a great public school. What we can’t be content with is saving a handful of children and leaving the other couple hundred to drown. We need to give every single child a chance to go to a great public school. The vast majority of our children will always go to public schools,” Duncan said.

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