The study was performed by the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability.   Indiana was the target state. It was performed with no bias, but as an effort to study whether vouchers and charters  were effective…

The study sought to answer two questions:

First, does the actual documented track record of existing voucher programs demonstrate that those programs in fact achieved the desired goal of enhancing student achievement? Here, the short and clear answer is no.

Second, can voucher programs be expected to enhance student performance or improve public education systems, based on the education reforms implemented in the nations that currently rank in the top five in the world in reading, math, and science under PISA? Again, based on the evidence, the answer is no.

This should kill any talk of instituting vouchers and coupled with the now readily available knowledge that parents are voting with their feet and pulling out children from charters to PUT THEM BACK INTO PUBLIC SCHOOLS, should sound the death-knoll of the entire Charter School Movement…..

Other key findings…..

 None of the independent studies performed of the most lauded and long standing voucher programs extant in the U.S.—Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Cleveland, Ohio; and Washington, D.C.— found any statistical evidence that children who utilized vouchers performed better than children who did not and remained in public schools.

 After controlling for school type and student demographics, a comprehensive study commissioned by the administration of Republican President George W. Bush found that students who attend traditional, K-12 public schools outperform students who attend both charter schools and private religious schools, irrespective of denomination.

 One probable consequence of the Indiana Choice Legislation, therefore, will be the diversion of public, taxpayer dollars away from the state’s higher performing public education system to lower performing private religious schools. Because of this, the Indiana Voucher Legislation may actually diminish student achievement in the state over time.

 The nations that have been most successful in improving student achievement over time have focused on systems-based reforms that build capacity of the overall education system and have eschewed reforms based on competition and choice. Meanwhile, nations that have taken the competition choice path to education reform have failed to realize enhanced student achievement. Indiana School Choice Scholarship Program.

 The Indiana Choice Legislation fails to comport with the capacity-building education reform model that has been implemented in nations that have successfully enhanced student achievement over time. Instead, the Indiana Choice Legislation adopts the competition/choice model of education reform that has failed to enhance student performance in other nations globally.

 According to the annual financial report of the Indiana Department of Education, Indiana spent $115 million on its voucher program in the 2014-2015 school year. In context, that means over $115 million of public, taxpayer money annually will be diverted from potentially enhancing student achievement by following the evidence-based strategy of building capacity in the state’s public school system, and instead used to subsidize students attending private schools.  Because the Indiana Choice Legislation prohibits the state from regulating the “curriculum content” at private schools that accept vouchers, public taxpayer money will be spent on education of uncertain quality.

 Subsidizing individual decisions that do not generate a public good or service—even legitimate ones well within the rights of, in this case, the parents making them—is an inappropriate use of public money. The Indiana School Expenditure Deduction is particularly difficult to justify from a public policy standpoint for two reasons. First, it is not means tested and hence is using public revenue to pay for private economic transactions that in all likelihood would have taken place anyway. Second, it diverts revenue from public education to assist children in attending private schools that have been found by the Lubienski study to underperform traditional public schools.

 Because white children as a percentage of voucher recipients in the 2014-2015 school year exceed the next largest racial group by more than 44 percentage points, Indiana’s voucher program will likely lead to increased racial stratification within Indiana’s K-12 public schools.  The School Expenditure Deduction will cause local governments across Indiana to lose up to $1.4 million annually in Local Option Income Tax revenue, thereby constraining their ability to provide police, fire, trash collection and other core local services to constituents. This is difficult to justify, given that the public revenue spent to subsidize private decisions under the School Expenditure Deduction serves no identifiable public interest.

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