Sheila Kennedy has a good blog post on the latest effort by the Indiana General Assembly to gut public education: universal “scholarship” found in SB 305. Worth just going and reading the whole post, but here’s a bit:
As numerous observers point out, there’s a lot wrong. For one thing, the bill lacks any public oversight or measures ensuring accountability. The state would simply give tax dollars to parents who would be trusted to spend it on their children’s education (there doesn’t seem to be any mechanism to ensure that the dollars would actually be used for education) at any school of their choice, or for home schooling and/or educational materials.
Apparently, all a parent needs to do to get some $7500 per student is fill out an online application promising to spend “part of the money” for the study of “reading, grammar, mathematics, social studies or science.” No standards. No requirements for art, music, foreign language or–perish the thought–civics. Not even those pesky criminal background checks required of public school teachers and volunteers.
Interestingly, the program would be managed by the state’s treasurer–not the Department of Education.
As I’ve repeated ad nauseam, Indiana’s education policy over the last 20 years makes more sense if one understands it as being in pursuit of these goals: subsidize religious education, weaken teacher’s unions, and re-direct public dollars to friends and well-wishers of pro-privatization policymakers. It does not make sense if the goal was to improve educational outcomes for Hoosiers.
The teachers are not paid as well as public school teachers and have limited benefits. if any at all. Interesting enough the religious schools don’t have to file any of the public reports that a normal charter and a public school has to file with the state.
The latest bill is parents with a income up to $250 thousand would get a voucher for each child.