Thursday, December 22, 2011

Indiana Schools Grapple With Voucher Law's Impact

This from Education Week:
As the 3,919 students who participated in the first year of Indiana’s new, wide-reaching school voucher program near the end of the first semester in their new schools, the program faces up to its next challenge: A state court hearing opens today on a lawsuit arguing the program violates Indiana’s constitution.

The Choice Scholarship program, one of a number of education reforms passed and signed into law by Indiana’s Republican-dominated state government during this year’s legislative session, has drawn national attention for a number of bold components. It is the only active state voucher program in the country that is not limited to low-income students or students who have attended a low-performing school, and the only active voucher program with no eventual cap on enrollment.

With the program moving into full gear, public schools across the state are bracing for an outflow of funds from already-tight budgets while private schools prepare for an increased demand for spaces in their classrooms. Meanwhile, debate still rages over the initiative as schools and families consider the financial, educational, and social consequences of a program that is projected to grow substantially. Advocates say the voucher program allows all families to make a choice once limited to the well-off; opponents question its constitutionality and wonder if the program is really serving who it’s intended to serve.

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