Steve Hinnefeld does a very good job of covering education in Indiana. In a post today, he goes over some numbers showing how vast the expansion of Indiana’s voucher program has been and how its advocates no longer even give lip service to the goals they pretended to have when starting the program. In the beginning, school privatization was sold as an opportunity for poor students at failing public schools to seek a better education. Now kids from wealthy families who never had any intent of going to public schools and who live in school districts that are doing well can divert public money to private schools that aren’t providing an education any better than what’s available at the traditional public school.
Steve gives me a nod by noting my assertion that the real goals of Indiana vouchers are to subsidize religious education, punish teacher’s unions, and divert public money to friends and well-wishers of lawmakers who favor school privatization. I really wish that I was getting a mention for how wrong I was because vouchers were proving so successful in providing better educational outcomes for students from poor families. But, of course, that’s not what is happening.
A few of the things Steve notes:
- Indiana awarded $241.4 million in the 2021-22 school year to pay tuition and fees for students to attend private schools. That’s 44% more than the state spent on vouchers the previous year.
- Some 20% of voucher households last year had an income of $100,000 or more.
- In 2021-22, 70% of voucher students had no record of having attended a public school in the state.
- [A] family of five making $172,000 can receive vouchers worth over $5,400 on average per child.
- [T]he number of voucher students exploded: 44,376 students had vouchers in 2021-22, up 24.3% from the previous year.
- Nearly 60% of voucher students are white, an overrepresentation considering the program is most pervasive in urban areas, where there are many Black and Hispanic students. Only 10.5% of voucher students are Black, compared to 13.5% of Indiana public and charter school students.
And again, the studies that have been done reflect that the education kids are getting at these private schools isn’t any better than at traditional schools and it may be worse. Anyway, I urge you to go read the whole post.
Dave H says
The real goal is the destruction of public education, period.
The beginning of the “New Roman Catholic Empire!!!” Led by the five Holy Justices!!! and Emperor DeSantis!!! – Not quite sure if this is funny or not.. or things to come…
I know this belongs on the below post but we need some levity when it comes to abortion – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUspLVStPbk
If we had only listed to every education organization in the state that said this would happen.
Doug Masson says
Who could have predicted? Other than everybody?
Wow after I read the post I googled IPS and the private schools are getting pretty much the same amount of money per student as IPS. My three sons went to a Presbyterian school it went thru fifth grade and we paid the full amount every year. When the school started accepting vouchers (all 3 sons had moved on) my wife was pissed. She felt that if you wanted a christian education you should pay for it out of your own pocket.
I seriously don’t see this as the end of public education but it will hurt the small and midsize schools. Just more referendums to look at down the road until the state turns Democrat.
The public schools could rethink their expensive athletic centers and buildings.
The majority of the athletes at large schools use these facilities as a training ground for travel sports, since they play more games and matches outside of school sports. Had a interesting conversation with a engineer who works for a company that build, rehab and does add-ons to schools. He was telling one high school classroom can cost up to a million to build.
I know when Mitch was governor he stated in 2005, “Our test results lag behind other states, but the size and cost of our school buildings is second to none.” Daniels explained, “We have drifted into practices that work well for architects but not well for teachers or property taxpayers.” I suspect he had good intentions when they started giving out vouchers. The current Republican party has changed big time and the more money they can procure for their friends, relatives and of course it’s benefits them.
That being said my son David worked at the New Palestine middle school as a aid well he looking for a real get out of college job. They were paying him over $18 grand a year to sit with one child that had learning disabilities and could not participate in regular classes. The private schools getting away with discriminating against any student and it should bar them from receiving any state or federal money.
Maybe in the larger cities in Indiana could give out free bus passes if they wanted to up the enrollments of minorities and the poor in private schools. Although I would hate to screw IPS.and the Bloomington schools to name a few.
Just one more thought, the last time I was up in Elwood my friend Cindy was telling me that over 50 kids in Elwood were attending Hamilton South Eastern. (Fishers and Noblesville) Schools. The parents mostly work in these areas and they have been forced out of Hamilton county due to housing costs. Elwood has affordable housing and the parents don’t want to send their kids to Elwood’s junior high and high school which are rated D as under performing by the the state. Hamilton South Eastern schools are all A’s. rated.
They are some inaccuracies in the above:
1. State Aid which is Education Fund revenue for publication and Voucher money for privates doesn’t pay for athletic facilities. Due to vouchers and public school choice schools build those facilities to remain competitive and attract kids.
2. Anyone transferring their kids into HSE schools is working for HSE. They don’t accept transfers any other way. Noblesville schools are a separate entity and not part of HSE. They do allow out of district transfers.
3. Elwood loses 2 kids via transfer to Noblesville, but only 1 by choice. The other is likely a foster care situation. They do lose 27 to Hamilton Heights, 72 to Franklin-Lapel and 47 to Tipton.
The transfer data is published every semester by the DOE and is very interesting to analyze.
If one is going to opine on stuff, at least have a passing knowledge of the data and reality of the subject.
Also as someone who has built multiple school building projects over the last 2 decades and is actively engaged in a project, unless you are building highly specialized classrooms (science labs, technology spaces, vocational spaces, etc) no high school classroom costs $1 million.
Your right I was thinking Noblesville but Cindy did say Frankton -Lapel I asked her on Facebook As you stated they lose 27 to Hamilton Heights, 72 to Franklin-Lapel and 47 to Tipton. That is still 142 kids. out of 1,440 kids that attended in 2022. That is a large number of students leaving a school district..The 1,440 number takes in pre-K and kindergarten so leaving those numbers out it is way 10 percent of the students or more. Losing that many kids hurts a small school district big time..
There is a Catholic elementary school in Tipton and a Christian school and a elementary and high school prep school in Anderson.. I assume there are kids from Elwood attending these schools.
I don’t agree with expensive athletic centers and buildings bringing in that many students. Most new residents don’t even tour the schools at least that is what the two lady’s that work the front desk at two of our newer elementary schools stated.. Take it for what it’s worth. Housing and good neighborhoods and how the students do academically bring in kids. Franklin Central Schools are getting full and the referendum failed again. They said our housing prices will plummet. The housing prices won’t fall because of the schools. They will fall because of interest rates and the economy.. People are still moving in and they are building houses everywhere in the township. I have a sub-division going in across from my house price starts at $450.thousand. We are the last township in Marion County that has land and it’s at least 90 percent or more Republican. To be fair there are many families with elementary kids that want to know more about the kids athletic programs. then the high school.
I did think the million dollar class room was way high (I should have said “take it for what it is worth”). Well they were going to put in a technology lab and I should of pressed him on that but the other part of our conversation was more interesting and educational.
State Aid which is Education Fund revenue for publication and Voucher money for privates doesn’t pay for athletic facilities. I understand that but to be fair why do all new schools need to be radically different? You can answer this better then I, Wouldn’t it save a tremendous amount of money if you have a cookie cutter design that can be modified? I suspect that what Daniels was talking about Yes taking money away from schools because of charter and religious school vouchers is unjust. Throw in the fact that the teachers in these schools don’t come close to making the same money or benefits. Throw in “separation of church and state.” – oh wait I forgot our Supreme Court doesn’t quite believe in this anymore.
Glad to see you posting again Paddy and it good to know your still involved in a project I am assuming for a school.
Hot off the presses – Boebert says she is ‘tired’ of separation between church and state: ‘The church is supposed to direct the government’
I think that those opposed to school vouchers get it all wrong. If Indiana’s public schools were doing a fine job of educating children, this would have never become an issue. But they haven’t. In fact, we were one of the worst in the nation when I chose to move our two kids out of public schools and into a private one almost 20 years ago.
Back then, even affluent school districts like New Palestine’s Sugar Creek, had an A/P pass rate of 20%, which is atrocious. And it was because they offered absolutely nothing from kindergarten through grade 10 for the more advanced students to achieve their potentials and to be prepared for A/P courses in grade 11. That is an absolute violation of Indiana’s law, by the way. But it’s not enforced and the legislature’s funding formula is largely to blame. Back then, they spent 44 times as much per disabled children ($2200 extra) than they did gifted children ($50). I have no idea whether they’ve ever fixed this glaring idiocy or not, but I doubt it.
You complain about private schools getting “public money”. Just whose money do you think that is? It comes from TAXPAYERS, and those taxpayers should not be forced to leave their kids to rot in failing pubic schools whose failures they are forced to subsidize.
You complain that private schools are getting money to accept students from failing public schools. Most who claim this also claim the concern is that this takes money from public schools. My question to you is, why does a public school that loses 150 students need the same amount of money to educate 150 fewer students? It doesn’t.
School choice will ultimately lead to the demise of public education unless public schools start educating children instead of indoctrinating them and passing students they have failed for 12 years, resulting in a worthless high school diploma. This also leads to these kids struggling in college compared to their peers, and throughout their lives.
Stop resenting politicians, parents, and schools trying to give these kids a chance in life. And start demanding that public schools see the writing on the wall and change their ways if they don’t want to become extinct. It’s not rocket science.
Doug Masson says
Your premise is wrong. Private schools don’t do a better job of educating students than public schools do. If anything, voucher recipients have tended to do a little worse than they did in public schools.
The problem with “money-follows-the-child” formulas is that: a) not every child costs the same amount to educate; and b) there are fixed costs that don’t go down when a student leaves.
The public money that’s spent on a child isn’t just paid by those with students currently in school. It’s an investment by all taxpayers and so it makes no sense to let only those taxpayers with students direct the expenditures. Education is a public good that benefits both the individual students and the community collectively.
Finally, the voucher system was sold to citizens as a tool for low-income public school students in failing systems to be able to get out of those systems. It has been expanded so that well-off families who never had any intention of sending their kid to public school can get tax dollars to subsidize their child’s religious education or to get them away from disabled students or away from gay students or away from students of color or any number of decisions that have nothing to do with a failing school system.
https://www.yahoo.com/news/enrollment-soars-nc-private-schools-201435431.html Happening in numerous states. The article states this law was pushed exactly like Indiana’s it was supposed ti be for the poor and people without means. What I found interesting is North Carolina spends over 6 thousand dollars per student.
So the question is what do we do about it? 1. Step one the public schools need to clean up their own house.
1. Do not let parents transfer students to another public school district. The parents picked the school district they live in and if they don’t like it move or pay for private schools. Why should Elwood lose over 13% of their (1st grade thru 12th grade) students to other public school systems because the parents don’t like the school system they decided to live in.
2. Push more money towards career centers. Lets face it a high school degree is worthless if your not going to college and want to find a good job in after you graduate.. What I found out this year (we were going thru our referendum process) is Central 9 which is our career center (due to space) caps the number of students a high school can send to C9. So kids that should be learning a employable skills are instead twiddling their thumbs and end up getting low paying jobs out of high school.
Find a way that the students can stay the whole day instead of being bused back and forth thus losing valuable class time. How it works now is each school pays C9 for a half days of student funding and a percentage of C9’s building maintenance. The students can still take the required state mandated classes, just let them take the classes at the career center,
For students that want to stay in high school, classes that deal in management (practical) of a real business a high school student would have a chance to actually acquire out of high school. Restaurant, warehouse, retail store, online store, web (youtube, tiktok,etc) influencers,, etc. How to start a business- From money up front. time involved, permits, govt rules, etc.., Programming and web design has disappeared out of most high schools and has landed in career centers. I am not sure why? My oldest son is excellent when it comes to Excel. He always complains that his co-workers can barely use a spreadsheet. Shouldn’t this be a staple in everyone’s education?
4. This would require looking at how we presently fund schools. Should every building or operating referendum have money set aside for career centers? Are superintendents, school boards and school unions going to get on board? Lets face it high schools are mainly set up for students to attend college.
5. Push for less state standardization. Why is it back in 1973 my junior and senior years, I had over ten different English (Classic English.Authors, Sci Fi, Humor, etc) classes to choose from.but almost fifty years later we have morphed back to the 1960’s. To be fair some AP students have access to this type of curriculum, but it should be open to all. students. Math classes should include basic everyday senereos like rent agreements, housing contracts, credit card agreements, bank and car loans. How to budget money, etc.
6. Lastly every high school student should have access to a ROTC program. A ROTC program is great for students looking to pursue a military career. It can help pay for college or if a student wants to go right into the army they go up a grade and it can instill in a student that is not going to college leadership and discipline to aspire them to achieve more in the armed services and their life.
I sure you could come up with more ideas.
Ok off my soap box.
How to fix the private school funding problem.
1 All the education (school administration, teachers unions, school boards, politicians ,etc) need to band together and lobby our legislators that this violates how the funding was sold to the public.
2. I am not a lawyer and don’t have time to look at the Indiana Constitution The latest supreme court ruling. Looks like the schools could sue —
More recently, in 2022, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in Carson v. Makin that Maine could not exclude families who send their children to religious schools from its state-funded tuition reimbursement program. The program helped children who live in rural areas without public schools nearby, but said the tuition could not be used for religious schools. The court, in a ruling written by Justice John Roberts Jr., said that the policy violated the parents’ right to freely exercise their religion and that a public benefit that flowed to a religious school based on a parent’s choice did not “offend” the establishment clause of the First Amendment.
Not sure if the present court has ruled on private schools and school funding.
Or well those are my thoughts.
One more thought – using your argument “The problem with “money-follows-the-child” formulas is that: a) not every child costs the same amount to educate; and b) there are fixed costs that don’t go down when a student leaves.
The public money that’s spent on a child isn’t just paid by those with students currently in school. It’s an investment by all taxpayers and so it makes no sense to let only those taxpayers with students direct the expenditures. Education is a public good that benefits both the individual students and the community collectively. ”
You could surmise that a parent can only access the tax money they paid in local, state and federal tax towards a private education.
2021 – 2022 from the DOE stats – more vouchers coming down the pike – The number of voucher students exploded: 44,376 students had vouchers in 2021-22, up 24.3% from the previous year.
Indiana’s schools serve 1.12 million students, of which 1.03 million are enrolled in public schools. More than — 83,000 students currently attend Indiana’s accredited non-public schools, — which comprises 7.4% of Indiana’s students. Indiana saw enrollment increases from the previous school year across all school types, including an increase of 2,999 students (.2%) in public schools and 4,672 students (5.9%) in non-public schools.
Focusing on career centers and trades training is not the panacea that people act like it is.
I can’t find the link right now, but Michael Hicks published an article recently that shows that there are about 1000 skilled trades jobs available each year and we have about 40,000 kids not going to college each year.
Career centers have nursing, culinary arts, information technology, Construction & Landscape, Health Science, Health Science II: Medical Assisting, Health Science II: Nursing, Hospitality Management , Fire and Rescue, Dental Careers, Veterinary Careers, Cosmetology, Early Childhood Education, HVAC, Criminal Justice, Emergency Medical Services, PLTW Biomedical Science Hmm I haven’t even touched on skilled back when I went to school called industral arts.
Construction and Landscaping, HVAC – Skilled trade
Health Science, Nursing, Dental, Vet et al – need more education post career center
Hospitality Mgmt, IT and Early Childhood- best paying jobs in these areas go to college grads
PLTW Biomed – not even a certification or career comes out of this, need college and many schools provide (or should provide) this in their own HS building not a career center
Fire Rescue, EMT/EMS, Criminal Justice – need further education
Cosmetology and culinary arts- not highly paid professions (when the argument is that people can make really good money without going to college and by going to trade schools)
I am not staying that career centers and trade schools aren’t useful and important, because they are. I am in the process of expanding our local vocational offerings and hopefully opening a local vocational school instead of shipping our kids out of county to another program because I believe in their value.
I am saying that it isn’t the magic bullet everyone thinks it is. There simply aren’t the number of jobs available for the kids not going to college in Indiana. And, the average wage in the trades has decreased over the last decade in the trades.
For every “My kid didn’t go to college, became a plumber and makes $90k/year at the age of 20” story there are a hundred “My kid didn’t go to college and overnight stocks for Walmart for $14/hour and no benefits because they only schedule them for 30 hours” stories.
Lets try this again -Maybe Michael Hicks was talking about these professions., Diesel Service Technology Aviation Flight, Auto Service Technology, , Precision Machining, Welding Technology, Auto Service Technology, Construction Trades, Auto Collision Repair, Aviation Maintenance, Aviation Operations, Construction. and HVAC. Most of the classes that were available back when I was in school in the 70’s.
Let me be more succinct…
If the mistake was made pushing too many kids to college, we need to make sure that we aren’t swinging the pendulum too far the other way and pushing too many kids into the trades. The promise of good paying jobs for everyone won’t come true.
I know jobs like Cosmetology don’t pay well but the students won’t have to pay $10 to $30 grand at the hair stylist schools.
After you complete the nursing classes you can take the test to be a nurses aid. Pays around (pays gone up due to inflation) $20 a hour to start, The pay doesn’t go up
over time..I talked to the director at C9 and she stated that number of kids in the program were headed to college and wanted a head start in their field..
Like anything in life it’s up to the kids to make it happen. Elwood high school isn’t rated very high but the career center that’s literally a stones throw away from the high school is rated one of the best in the state. Opened up in 1971 they have added on to it over time.
Truly hope you get a new vocational school, my son went to C9 and it was about a hour and ten minutes on the bus daily.
Opps nurses program