Sunday, April 3, 2011

Bosma: Vouchers Not About Helping Kids Escape Failing Schools

Poised to pass the nation's broadest use of vouchers, Indiana Republicans seemed to hit a bump in the road. Democrats proposed an amendment that would limit voucher use to students attending so-called "failing schools." In response Speaker Brian Bosma said that helping kids escape from failing schools was never the primary goal of the voucher plan. When challenged he referred reporters to the House Republicans 2011 platform document, Strengthening Indiana Plan: “It says nothing about failing or successful schools there.”

But it does. Lesley Stedman Weidenbener points out that under the “Expand Educational Opportunities” section of the plan is this goal: "Provide children who attend failing schools grants [i.e., vouchers] to attend a school of choice." (Read the plan here.)And a recent television ad from Daniels’ political action committee cites a GOP proposal to help “a child trapped in an underperforming school who has no chance at a great education.” Weidenbener concludes, "By insisting the voucher bill is not about failing schools, Republicans have raised some questions about what they are really trying to do and whether it’s important enough to merit so much focus."

Read Weidenbener's column in the Louisville Courier Journal here.