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Forget all that rhetoric about “choice” to “save poor kids from failing public schools.” It is a rightwing ruse to siphon public money for private and religious schools.
Proof: in Indiana, voucher enrollments expanded by 50% this year. Fully half the voucher students never attended any public school.
These are not children who were “trapped in a failing school.” They are children whose parents want the state to pay their tuition at a nonpublic school.
“Students using the voucher program — the second largest and fastest-growing of its kind in the nation — now account for 2.6 percent of Indiana’s school system, according to the latest annual report released Monday by the Indiana Department of Education.
Vouchers, billed by the state as “choice scholarships,” funnel tax dollars to support student tuition at private schools. The program is controversial: Proponents say the program expands quality options for poor children, and opponents say the state shouldn’t use tax dollars to pay for religious education while draining the coffers of public schools.”
In a few short years, the program has changed as restrictions are dropped.
The president of the Indiana State Teachers Association said the voucher program “has become an entitlement program which in large part, now benefits middle class families who always intended to send their children to private (mostly religious) schools and taxpayers are footing the growing bill.”
“Several rules placed on the program at its infancy have since relaxed, including the enrollment cap in the first two years and a requirement that students must first try out a public school in their neighborhood before they used a scholarship. New rules last year also allowed siblings and students qualifying for special education services to use vouchers.
“The program has also become less racially diverse over time. This year 61 percent of students using vouchers are white, compared with 46 percent when it started. Just 14 percent of the students are black this year, compared with 24 percent in 2011-12. (Overall, 71 percent of Indiana students are white. About 12 percent are black.)”
This is not a bug or a glitch. This is exactly what voucher proponents like ALEC have wanted all along.