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.