In 2011, under the Tony Bennett/Mitch Daniels regime in Indiana and thanks to the influence of the Milton Freidman Foundation, ALEC, and the American Federation for Children, formerly chaired by Betsy DeVos, vouchers were first introduced with legislation passed during that year’s session.
There were limitations to the amount of money the state would spend and qualifications students must have. $6.5 million was the limit and the voucher amount was $4500. The students must spend or have spent one year in a public school. This was supposed to be a social justice bill for low-income families who wanted to move their children to private schools but didn’t have the resources to do so.
You can see the income guidelines for a family of 4 on the chart.
The first two years this did save the state money, although Fort Wayne Community Schools only lost enough students that our overall expenses remained the same, but with less money.
In 2013, the voucher caps were removed and the amount grew to $4800. The pathways to receive a voucher also grew – there are now 8 pathways to receive a voucher with a couple of them being:
- Older sibling in private school, other siblings don’t need public school attendance
- Live in attendance area where the public school has an F letter grade
Want to start advocating for YOUR child? YOUR school? ALL children? Our public schools were designed to give EVERY child a fair shot a free, quality education. Our schools are the future of our communities and are important to everyone.
Here are some resources to learn about what is happening in public education and how to fight to continue a free publication to all.
https://neifpe.blogspot.com/ (Northeast Indiana Friends of Public Education)
http://icpe2011.com/ (Vic Smith – Statehouse Notes – At the Statehouse)
http://www.livingindialogue.com/ (Anthony Cody)
https://deutsch29.wordpress.com/ (Mercedes Schneider)
http://curmudgucation.blogspot.com/ (Peter Greene)
http://www.pegwithpen.com/ (Peggy Robertson)
http://haveyouheardblog.com/ (EduShyster/Jennifer Berkshire)
https://inschoolmatters.wordpress.com/ (Steve Hinnefield)
Action Steps – the first steps to take to become an advocate for public education
Host a House Party and view a film about education reform – contact NEIFPE@gmail.com if you are willing to host and would like volunteers to moderate discussion.
- Education, Inc. A documentary about how money and politics are changing our schools.
- Rise Above the Mark is a documentary narrated by Peter Coyote that brings to light the heartbreaking realities of public education. It’s the story of what happens when politics enters the classroom.
- Race to Nowhere is a film that calls us to challenge current thinking about how we prepare our children for success. Named by TakePart.com as one of “10 Education Documentaries You Don’t Want to Miss”, “Race to Nowhere” brings communities together to spark dialogue and galvanize change in America’s schools.
- GO PUBLIC: A Day in the Life of an American School District is a 90-minute documentary of one entire day in the Pasadena Unified School District. Pasadena is a racially and economically diverse community in Southern California with 28 public school campuses. GO PUBLIC tells the story of one full day from sun up to long after sundown.
Attend School Board Meetings and Work Sessions
Follow the State Legislature, especially the Senate and House Education Committees, and the State Board of Education. Follow bills and write letters. https://iga.in.gov/ http://www.in.gov/sboe/
Attend the showing of Backpack Full of Cash on April 14.
Attend the Network for Public Education Conference in Indianapolis on October 20-21, 2018.
Make appointments to meet your legislators.
Campaign for pro-public education candidates.
Register to vote, do your research on the candidates and then VOTE. https://indianavoters.in.gov/
Spread the word – at the grocery, at the coffee shop, to your plumber, to your mom, at the bus stop, to your realtor, to your barber. Public Schools affect every member of our community. They are our future.