State Rep. Tonya Pfaff: “Our state constitution promises tuition-free education for all students, and it’s time to make good on that promise for students and families.”
INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Democratic Party, the organization advocating for the future of Indiana and its families and workers, called for increased support of Indiana public schools in light of the recent lobbying efforts by school choice advocates for more private and charter school funding. As reported in the Indiana Capital Chronicle, school choice advocates are upping their efforts to expand private and charter school options in Indiana, a move that could divert even more funding and oversight from public schools.
While Indiana Democrats understand the importance of having education options, they do not want to do so at the expense of public schools, which educate nine out of ten Hoosier students. Under the new GOP-backed budget proposal, families making up to 400% of the federal poverty level, roughly $220,000, would qualify for vouchers.
“As Hoosiers, we have a responsibility to ensure that all children have access to a quality education. While we understand the importance of parents having choices, we cannot do so at the expense of our public schools,” said Mike Schmuhl, Chair of the Indiana Democratic Party. “Our educators and schools have been hit hard enough as it is. It’s time for our elected officials to prioritize our public schools and invest in our collective future. We urge them to stand with us in support of public education and more accountability in regard to non-public schools.”
Even members of the Indiana Republican Party are starting to distance themselves from the school choice agenda. Republican State Senator Ryan Mishler stated that “voucher schools are not necessarily better for students than traditional public schools” and that “voucher schools are not subject to the same level of accountability as traditional public schools.”
Indiana Democrats believe in providing equal educational opportunities for all Hoosier students, regardless of their Zip code or socioeconomic status. It’s time to prioritize public schools and invest in our educators, who have dedicated their lives to helping our children succeed.
We urge legislators to reject any legislation that would further harm our public schools and instead work to strengthen them. Democrats at the statehouse are ready to work together to provide quality education for all Hoosier children.