• 2011 Legislative Update on School Reform

    Dear Parents and Supporters of Public Education,
        The Indiana House of Representatives will vote on HB1003 which is the Private School Voucher Bill.  This Bill will divert millions of dollars in State tax revenue in the form of partial private school tuition to thousands of families who can afford to pay the rest of the tuition, and who can meet the entrance requirements to get in to private schools.  Instead of using this tax revenue to fund needed public school programs like fully funded full day kindergarten or expanded summer and after school remediation, this tax revenue is being sent to private schools who only accept selected students.  Private school entrance criteria will not enroll our neediest and lowest achieving students.  This Bill will segregate our students based on wealth, achievement and religion.
        Call or email your local legislators, especially the Key Republicans outside of Northwest Indiana (See list to the left)  and ask them to vote against Vouchers for Private Schools - HB1003.

    The current legislative session in Indianapolis is deliberating policy changes that will result in public schools being financially abandoned and unfairly condemned with options that have no credibility for improvement.
    It is important that Merrillville School stakeholders are aware of the new policies and possible implications to our schools.
    The following are just a few of the bills before the Indiana General Assembly that would affect the finances of traditional public schools:

    HB 1002: Expands authority of state to establish charter schools. A larger number of schools reduces the amount of state tuition support available overall. The bill could also reallocate as much as $10 million in local property tax revenues for transportation.
    HB 1003: Voucher bill would allow public dollars to flow to private schools. Every 1,000 students receiving a voucher are estimated to reduce overall state tuition support by $5.5 million.
    HB 1238: Places a gag rule on school corporations, so employees would not be permitted to advocate for a referendum except at the invitation of a community group.
    HB 1001 - This is the budget bill that bases school funding for 2012 and 2013 on 3.5% less than the State funding back in 2009.
    Review testimony submitted by our Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Tony Lux, to the House Education Committee stating the negative ramifications this bill will have on improving the achievement level of the state's lowest performing students.
    Review this editorial that appeared in our local newspapers from our Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Tony Lux, discussing the illusions and realities of the school reform movement underway in Indiana.
    Governor Mitch Daniels from the State of the State Address: "The brute facts persist: Only one in three of our children can pass the national math or reading exam. We trail far behind most states and even more foreign countries on measure like excellence in math."
    Read the background on how the Governor's use of this statistic, derived from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is misleading.
    SUMMARY: At a time when resources for public education are limited, Indiana cannot afford to divert taxpayer money to fund private school tuition.  Editorial from the Tribune-Star newspaper in Terre Haute discusses the issues related to public funding of vouchers for Charter/Private schools. View editorial here.
    SUMMARY: To many Hoosiers, the message will come as a surprise: Indiana's public schools clearly improved during the past 20 years. The data are available from the Indiana Department of Education, the College Board, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, Postsecondary Opportunity and ACT, Inc.
    Read how performance on ten indicators from 1988-89 formed the basis for these positive conclusions.
    Examine 7 reasons why public dollars should stay with public school students and should not be diverted to help private / charter schools.
Last Modified on January 27, 2011