Tom Coyne: Indiana public schools try to woo students away from vouchers

Struggling Indiana public school districts are buying billboard space, airing radio ads and even sending principals door to door in an unusual campaign aimed at persuading parents not to move their children to private schools…

Homeschooling - Gustoff family in Des Moines 020

Homeschooling – Gustoff family in Des Moines 020 (Photo credit:

Now this is amazing. This is simply beyond my comprehension: “principals [going] door to door…?” Perhaps it’s the recognition of the reality that homeschooled kids turn out better. Perhaps it’s because the school administration knows it, and can’t stand the competition. Perhaps it’s the money.

There is antipathy towards homeschooling:

“If we don’t tell people the great things that are happening in our schools, no one else will, especially not now,” said Renee Albright, a teacher in Fort Wayne. “There are private enterprises that stand to benefit if they can portray us as failed schools.”

And wouldn’t that be awful: private enterprise might benefit? Of course! This is what the public—read: government nee socialist—schools are afraid of: breaking their that turns kids into socialists and atheists.

Somehow the Indiana legislature allowed this to happen:

The Indiana voucher program, passed by the legislature last year, is the biggest test yet of an idea sought for years by Republicans, who say it offers families more choices and gives public schools greater incentive to improve.

There’s that word again: incentive. “We can’t have that! We know what we’re doing! Trust us! You don’t! We’re professionals! We’ve been trained to teach! You haven’t! How dare you!”

The stakes are high:

But school officials worry about the potential loss of thousands of students, especially those from the middle class, and the state money.

Oh, the money. We forgot to mention that! If the students leave we won’t get state money! Oh no!

Leaders of poor urban schools, which suffered the most defections last year, are especially worried. A district loses $5,300 to $8,400 for each student who leaves…

Fort Wayne Community Schools lost 392 students to vouchers last year, the most in the state. That cost the district more than $2.6 million in state aid and led officials to cut 10 art, music and physical teaching positions at elementary schools.

How delicious! How delightful! It’s been a long time coming.

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