Indiana

Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Supporters Of Public Education Attend Statehouse Rally

Indiana lawmakers are considering an expansion of the state's voucher program that would make more students eligible to attend private school using state money.

Opponents of school vouchers rallied at the statehouse Tuesday in advance of a vote to expand Indiana’s Choice Scholarship program. From Indiana Public Broadcasting‘s Brandon Smith:

Fort Wayne Community Schools is the largest school district in the state. School board president Mark GiaQuinta says that gives Fort Wayne the responsibility to lead the way for public schools across Indiana.

The Fort Wayne school board adopted a resolution opposing a bill expanding the state’s voucher program, saying taking more dollars away from public education to pay for private schools jeopardizes summer school, arts and extracurricular programs.

“For us, it’s very difficult to keep funding the kinds of programs that build the key relationship between students and teachers that inspire that student to come to school each day with the motivation to succeed,” says GiaQuinta.

House Education Committee Chairman Bob Behning, the bill’s sponsor, says expanding the voucher program isn’t about taking money away from public schools but providing parents and students more education options.

“Choice moves student performance forward, and I’m an advocate for making sure all children have an opportunity to learn so I believe this bill just kind of continues what we put in place,” says Behning.

Voucher expansion has the support of Gov. Mike Pence, who last week attended a statehouse rally promoting school choice. Public school advocates organized Tuesday’s event in response.

The Indianapolis Star’s Scott Elliott writes that while many school public superintendents expressed their support, they weren’t planning to let teachers and students out of school early to attend. Many students from charters and voucher-accepting schools attended last week’s rally.

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