By Valerie Strauss
Indiana was ranked 46th — of 50 states plus the District of Columbia — meaning that it is further along the privatization track than most other places in the country. For privatization advocates, that ranking would be looked upon favorably. For advocates of public education, it isn’t.
[There is a movement to privatize public education in America. Here’s how far it has gotten.]
The Journal Gazette in Indiana wrote a July 8 editorial about that report, saying in part:
Indiana’s dismal record for oversight of online charter schools is one reason it earned its own failing grade in a report evaluating the extent to which states divert money from traditional public schools to private schools and charter schools operated by for-profit management companies. The survey, by the Network for Public Education and the Schott Foundation, which might be easily dismissed as biased except that its findings are irrefutable, notes:
• Indiana has three separate programs designed to funnel tax dollars from public schools, at a conservative estimate of $171 million a year. “Indiana law has continued to morph over the years so that prior enrollment in a public school is no longer needed to receive a voucher for private school,” wrote Carol Burris, executive director of the Network for Public Education. “That means that taxpayers are now funding private school tuition previously paid for by parents.”
• Private schools receiving tax dollars are allowed to discriminate against students for whom English is not their first language by not providing services and can discriminate in enrollment on the basis of religion. “It is a system in which the school, not the parent, does the choosing.” Burris wrote in an email.
• Failing charter schools have been allowed to convert to voucher schools, so that they can “continue indefinitely,” Burris wrote.
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