Friday, April 22, 2011

Indiana’s frustration with slow school improvement may lead to private school vouchers

WAVE-3 reports that Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels is one step closer to the enactment of the nation’s most aggressive school voucher law. This law would allow parents to use part of the public school money to send their child to a private school, instead.

Ebony James, an Indiana mom, says the change can’t come soon enough. She is frustrated by slow progress of improvement in the public school system, saying, "We've been improving for how many years now?”

James’ frustration is interesting. Whites in Indiana outscored Kentucky by a statistically significant amount in the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Grade 8 math assessments. Indiana’s poor whites also outscored our poor whites on that same math assessment.

In fourth grade reading in 2009 – one of Kentucky’s strongest areas in the NAEP – Indiana’s whites and blacks had scores that were not statistically significantly different from whites and blacks in Kentucky, respectively.

Thus, while our state wallows along, content with the slow improvement in our schools, at least one parent in Indiana and the Indiana State Senate say similar or better progress to that in Kentucky is not enough. It’s time to do something radically different.

Sadly, while Indiana moves forward to give parents more choices in schools, here in Kentucky we don’t even have public charter schools, let alone vouchers, as a parent and student school choice option. Instead, Kentucky’s public school system seems to be run more to protect the jobs of adults in it rather than to meet the needs of the students.

And, adults working in those public school adults seem to be doing everything they can to keep the system running in exactly that same old way.

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