To the editor:
You have to ask why your representative in the state legislature has just voted to expand a school voucher program that will move $35.9 million from your public schools to private ones this year.
Is it because your local schools are failing? Is it because your child’s teachers are not very good? That doesn’t jibe with the results of Ball State University’s 2011 public opinion survey showing respondents overwhelmingly (67 percent to 80 percent regionally throughout Indiana) pleased with their local schools.
How do you feel about your own schools? Ask Rep. Burton why he would promote vouchers instead of Indiana’s public schools?
Since no credible research has ever shown vouchers having impact in raising student achievement above public school levels, and no school voucher program has ever been demanded or voted for by the public — they are always legislated, why would Rep. Woody Burton vote to expand them for us? Did you demand them?
Vouchers are centered predominantly in inner-city metropolitan areas of poverty in Marion and Lake counties. Originally they were touted as improving academic performance. When their proponents couldn’t show this, vouchers became “choice scholarships.”
Instead of putting money into the high-poverty-impacted public schools with their myriad accompanying problems — which yes, needed more money than others — publicly funded choice scholarships now permit certain people to select to attend predominantly sectarian religious school with their own admission standards, meaning the choice for acceptance is up to them.
Your public schools accept every child who comes to enroll — no exceptions.
Does Rep. Burton think your public schools are so lacking that provision needs to be made to let people choose not to attend them? Why not vouchers for private fire and police protection if choice is so popular?
You have to ask Rep. Burton why the support for private schooling? Does he know that corporate America sees public education as a promising profit source? For example, standardized testing alone is presently a $46 million proposition for test-makers in Indiana.
If Common Core is adopted, that figure will explode as new tests are developed. And does Rep. Burton understand the amount of money to be made by private turnaround for-profit companies run to save “failing” schools, schools based on an A-F grading system that ensures a percentage of failing schools each and every year?
Manufacture a crisis to instill public fear and repeat it over and over. Then call for action (Vouchers for all!) in the name of reform. Disguise the underlying ideology of profits with the words “choice,” “freedom” and “all for the children.” Then move to dismantle public education is apparent.
Put a stop to this travesty. Hold Rep. Burton accountable. Make him tell you why.