The Wawascene was created by Dr. Mark Stock, former Superintendent of the Wawasee Community School Corporation. Due to its local popularity, Dr. Stock has left the blog site to future Wawasee administrators.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Vouchers and Tax Credits Move Forward

The House Education Committee amended non-public school vouchers and tuition tax credits into SB 281 Tuesday on a party-line vote with all Republicans in favor and all Democrats opposed.

Successful students in schools failing to meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) can take a voucher and transfer to a private school. Adequate Yearly Progress is part of a federal law called No Child Left Behind (NCLB) which requires 100% of all students in Indiana to pass ISTEP by 2013-2014 or the school and school district is labeled a failure. If a school fails, than even successful students in the "failing" school can receive vouchers to transfer to a non-public school that NEVER has to meet AYP requirements. This would permit the non-public schools to take the better students from failing schools, leaving the failing students behind. Does that sound fair to ANYONE?

Adding insult to injury, the voucher and tuition tax credit schools are permitted to discriminate in admissions not only on the basis of student test scores and student ability or disability, but also on the basis of religion, wealth, gender, inability to speak or understand English, inability to provide one's own transportation or textbooks, inability of the parents to volunteer, and more. Does that sound fair to ANYONE?

The fiscal impact of this legislation is estimated to be $250 Million when fully implemented. Since no funding source is identified, the funds must come from draining public schools, increasing the state deficit, or both. Does that sound fair to ANYONE? Wawasee is currently planning our response to the state's funding crisis already. What will happen if more funds are taken from public schools?

On the surface, giving a student more options doesn't seem to be a bad idea. But giving public tax dollars to private groups with no accountability or obligation to accept all students seems grossly unAmerican to me.

From your home computer, please consider e-mailing your legislators and letting them know your position on SB 281.

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