Indiana

Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

What A-F Letter Grades Can Tell Us About Voucher Schools

A 'Holy Hall Monitor' near the front entrance of Our Lady of Hungary Catholic school in South Bend.

A 'Holy Hall Monitor' near the front entrance of Our Lady of Hungary Catholic school in South Bend.

The majority of Indiana students using state-funded tuition vouchers are using them at private schools that received an A or a B in Indiana’s school ratings system for 2012-13.

But D or F rated private schools had, on average, twice as many voucher-recipient students as the A schools. And the private school with the most voucher students — Ambassador Christian Academy in Lake County — received an F from the state.

2012-13 Letter Grade
Number of Schools
Number of Students
Average # of Students
A125718357
B62427068
C39256065
D131412108
F6770128
1619564

Source: Indiana Department of Education

(We’ve also updated our list of voucher-recipient schools to include letter grades where a rating was available for last school year.)

Private schools with A ratings enrolled an average of 57 voucher recipients. Private schools with D or F ratings enrolled more than 100 voucher recipients on average, according to a StateImpact analysis of the data.

As the table indicates, we don’t have 2012-13 letter grades for every private school participating in the state’s Choice Scholarship Program. And in some cases, we don’t have student counts for rated schools because FERPA protects data for populations of less than 10.

But 16,195 voucher students are attending a private school that did receive a rating from the state last year — that’s more than 80 percent of students participating in the Choice Scholarship Program.

Here’s what else we can tell you about the distribution of vouchers by school letter grades:

  • About 62 percent of voucher-accepting schools received an A or a B last year — compared to 75 percent of all Indiana private schools who receive letter grades. It’s also slightly less than the 65 percent of public schools that received top ratings.
  • About 10 percent of voucher students attend a D or an F school. But D and F schools only make up about 6 percent of voucher schools.
  • Ten schools enroll more than 10 percent of all voucher-recipient students — and their letter grades are all over the map. Two of the schools received A’s and five received B’s last year. The other three received a C, D and an F.
  • Six voucher-recipient schools received an F in 2012-13 — Ambassador Christian Academy, St. Stanislaus School, Lutheran South Unity School, St. Vincent DePaul School, Trinity Educational Daycare and Academy and Jay County Christian Academy. None of them received an A or a B the previous year, and all of them increased their voucher enrollment by at least 30 percent for 2013-14.
  • A voucher school can’t accept new Choice Scholarship recipients if it earns a D or an F in two consecutive years. Five schools — Holy Cross in South Bend, Saint John the Baptist in Tipton, St. Vincent DePaul School in Elkhart, Jay County Christian Academy in Portland and St. Stanislaus School in East Chicago — have now received two low ratings.

As we’ve written before, Indiana private schools haven’t fared as well since the state changed the rating system two years ago.

Of course, the Indiana General Assembly threw out that system last spring. State education officials are reworking the grade calculations now.

Comments

  • Thorvington Finglethorpe

    It seems like if a school is failing not only should it not be able to enroll new voucher students until the problem is cured, but that they should be cut-off from voucher monies entirely until the problem is cured. These “vouchers” demonstrably weaken public schools by sapping their funding–it’s a mockery of the right to universal public education to damage the existing school system by handing money over to a failing school in the name of giving students and parents the “choice” to escape a failing school.

    But how are they “escaping” anything in a failing school? Public schools that get D-F grades two years in a row are treated as “failing” and become elligible for takeover–why then would we continue to shovel tax-money into those institutions?

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