Indiana Public Schools Losing Millions to Voucher Program


by Jeremy Deaton

According to data obtained from the Indiana Department of Education, private school vouchers drained more than $45 million from the 10 hardest hit Indiana school districts last year, twice the amount lost during the 2012-13 school year.

IN chart

Critics believe Indiana’s voucher system could widen economic, racial, ethnic, and religious divisions. Already, the proportion of African-American and Hispanic students participating in Indiana’s voucher program has declined.

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“Initially, the bill was passed so that you would have to at least go to your local public school first,” remarked Teresa Meredith, president of the Indiana State Teachers Association. “That was so that the public school had the opportunity to show the parents what they had to offer. But now what we’re seeing, as much as 51 percent of students statewide who are using a voucher have never been to a public school. That is just staggering to me.”

Today, nearly 30,000 Indiana students are using vouchers to attend to private institutions. Vouchers divert energy and resources away from public schools, undermining efforts to reduce class sizes, provide professional development to educators and give children the tools they need to grow and succeed. Instead of sapping public schools of valuable resources, educators believe lawmakers should focus on real, common-sense solutions that ensure a world-class public education system that serves all students regardless of zip code.

Reader Comments

  1. This just means they know where their kid is going to get a better education. Sorry but most inner-city schools are, hate to say it, lost causes because the parents of most of the students aren’t involved at all with their schooling. If anything is the biggest proponent of whether or not a child succeeds in school, it’s how much their parents are involved.

    1. Inner city parents being involved I’d not the root cause. Neighborhood schools closed in my area to allow a towndhip school to profit. If the city improved the schools. Parents may have had an option. What public school you know had the resources pumpe into Township school. I can’t even get street repair or sidewalk repair, yet I pay taxes and have no kids in any system. Separate is not equal.

  2. While voter apathy might be a factor (though it is unlikely more voters in a predominantly Republican state would have altered decisions at the state house), there are other issues at play. Businesses, many owned by out-of-state companies, running charter school companies made political contributions, sales pitches that they would raise test scores (and not have to follow the same rules as public schools) and performance while providing “choice”. Daniels was big on “choice”– but was far more interested in taking education money into the for-profit sector and tearing down public education.

  3. THIS is an injustice to public education! Is it possible to call it reverse-discrimination? Private schools or schools that receive vouchers should NOT be receiving additional funds from the public education money pool. The amounts they receive per pupil is all they should possibly be entitled to…and they shouldn’t even receive that.

    1. Jill, public schools failed consistently before private schools came around. The reasons for public school failure is systemic and structural. This breakdown predates the entry of public schools. I am for public schools provided they accept systemic and structural changes – and they are refusing to do that.

  4. I love the voucher program because it allows parents a choice for theit cbhildren. to go to a privare school. There are wonderful public schools and also terrible ones. Parents should a r,ght to send their children to the.very best school available..

    Mr Robinson seems to feel this is some political conspiracy, but it is parents who just want a choice.

  5. How did this happen-I’ll tell you how. The very people who should have voted-stayed home and this is what they let others (who did vote) decide on their behalf.

    1. I have another idea how this happened….too many people voted for the worst president in American history. We all watched what he did from 2008-2012…and yet they voted for him again? Says a lot about the media and how they brainwash people into believing something is good for them, when it clearly is not. Shut off the mainstream media people. Find a factual alternative news site and stick with the truth…not the news channels that have bought and paid for by peiple who stand to benefit greater than you could ever even imagine.

      1. Heather….President Obama had nothing to do with our voucher program. Was Watergate an issue for you or the Iran Contra scandal an issue for you. Indiana politicians and voters are responsible for our poor education system, and yes, we all have lowered our expectations because we don’t demand more. Unless you received a letter from your child’s school stating the school was failing, you have no ideal how important a vocher is. The parent having to drive their child to school vs riding a bus to a neighborhood school, I am sure makes their day.

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