January 29, 2014

 

Advocates for small government like the Friedman Foundation and its allies love to talk about cutting government spending. They even go so far as to say states cutting their school budgets are a good thing.

 

That’s why we are not amused when we hear “ed reformers” like Robert Enlow, President of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, complain to NPR StateImpact that Indiana’s private voucher schools aren’t getting enough of Hoosier taxpayers’ money.

 

What happened to their theory that private organizations know how to better use tax payer money?

 

Indiana already has one of the nation’s largest and broadest school voucher program that gives public tax dollars to private schools, of which 96% are affiliated with a religion.

 

According to the latest voucher school report from the Department of Education, D and F voucher schools received nearly $9.5 million from Indiana tax payers. These low rated schools had double the amount of voucher students as voucher school who received an A.

 

Ambassador Christian School is the leading recipient of voucher money, collecting more than $1.2 million in tax money with 257 voucher students enrolled. Ambassador Christian School received a grade of F for 2013.

 

Private voucher schools are trending lower in letter grade performance. This year, barely a majority of private schools received an A, down more than 30 percentage points since 2011. However, more than two-thirds of public schools, who accept all students, received an A or a B and just 14% received a D or F.

 

We believe at a minimum legislators should halt the further expansion of the still new voucher program and immediately implement a more strict accountability system for voucher schools to ensure taxpayers and children aren’t being shortchanged.