SCHOOLS ARE OPEN TO ALL
- Public schools proudly take every student
who comes to enroll. Private schools can pick and choose among applicants and
can reject any student without an explanation. The inclusiveness of public
schools requires support and resources.
SCHOOLS ARE THE BEDROCK OF DEMOCRACY
- Public schools have been the
key institution responsible for teaching about and perpetuating our democracy.
Public schools are required by law to provide good citizenship instruction
(IC20-30-5-6), to display the flag, and to “provide a daily opportunity to for
students of the school corporation to voluntarily recite the Pledge of
Allegiance in each classroom”, while in private schools, these matters are
optional and unregulated.
SCHOOLS NEED FINANCIAL STABILITY
- Public schools need stable support
to maintain and improve programs. Any incentive created by the General Assembly
to use public funds to attract students to private schools will mean less money
for the public school since the money follows the child. This dollar drain
undercuts the stability of public school programs.
SCHOOLS ARE CENTERS OF THE COMMUNITY
- Public schools bring the
entire community together. Shifting to a publicly funded set of small private
schools will fragment the community along religious and philosophical
SCHOOLS SERVE ALL INCOME LEVELS
- Claims that vouchers are being
directed to low income families ring hollow; the private school tax credit
enacted in 2009 provided scholarships to families earning up to $81,586 for a
family of four. House Bill 1003 would raise that limit to $101,982 for a family
of four. Few would consider this to be “low-income.”
SCHOOLS HAVE STEADILY IMPROVED
- Claims that Indiana’s public school
performance is declining are simply untrue. Steady improvement over the past 20
years in Indiana’s public schools has been clearly
documented. Currently, Indiana’s public schools stand at or near their highest
marks in history on attendance rate, SAT math, ACT, National Assessment, ISTEP+,
and percentage earning Academic Honors diplomas and Core 40 diplomas.
Indiana outperforms Florida on 4th
grade math, 8th
grade reading, and
grade science on the National Assessment.
Of course, more improvement is needed to meet global economic competition, but
outsourcing students to private schools will undercut support and hamper further
improvement in public schools. Parents who press leaders to fund improvements
for their public schools will simply be told to take their child to a private
school if they don’t like their public school.
SCHOOLS ARE NOT SECTARIAN
- Regarding school choice, of course many
families would choose religious schools for their children for religious
reasons. Taxpayers, however, should not be obligated to send students to
parochial schools even if that is the choice of the parents. That is why the
Indiana Constitution says: “No money shall
be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological
Our public policies must avoid financial entanglements
with religious schools. School choice should be offered within the arena of
public schools, through neighborhood schools, magnet schools, tuition transfer
to nearby districts, virtual schools and the 62 charter schools now available.