41 Days of School Choice: Day 17 – Indiana’s Educational Choice Program’s Huge Demand Demonstrates Importance of Educational Choice Programs Nationwide

Washington, D.C. (August 26, 2014) – The American Federation for Children, the nation’s voice for educational choice, and its state ally, the Institute for Quality Education (IQE) celebrate Indiana’s Choice Scholarship Program as part of the #41Days of School Choice initiative. It is one of the nation’s most expansive statewide voucher programs, currently serving 19,809 children from low-income and working class families.

The Indiana General Assembly expanded the state’s voucher program in 2013, giving families multiple pathways to access a quality education for their child.

“Indiana’s voucher program gives families the freedom to choose where they would like to send their child to school. This program is not about advocating for one school model over another, it is about putting the ownership of a child’s education where it should be- with the family,” said IQE president Betsy Wiley.

Elias is a 14 year old student, who has excelled despite many struggles in his life. Elias attended a public school, but struggled because he was so different from the other students. He is considered gifted and had difficulty interacting with other students at his school. His insecurities caused him to struggle academically. Elias and his mother took advantage of the Indiana Choice Scholarship Program and received a voucher to attend the Todd Academy, a school specializing in gifted students with learning disabilities. There Elias is thriving and truly loves his new school saying, “[My] school is more than a school. It’s a community.” To read more about Elias and his journey, click here.

Indiana students and parents desire high quality educational options. This growing desire provides the momentum for the advancement of educational choice throughout the country. During its first three years of operation, the Indiana Choice Scholarship Program has doubled the number of students participating in the program each year, and continued growth is expected.

“The demand for educational choice in Indiana is overwhelming and indicative of the need for, and importance of, educational options for all children across the country,” said Kevin P. Chavous, executive counsel to the American Federation for Children.

Program Facts:

General Eligibility:

  • Families at 150%, or below, the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch Income Guidelines AND
  • Child attended public school in Indiana the full previous school year AND
  • Child is entering first grade or higher

Participating Schools:

  • Must administer the Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress (ISTEP) program and report to the state data for A-F accountability  including ISTEP scores and graduation rates
    Must grant state access to premises for observing classroom instruction and reviewing and instructional materials and curriculum.

Throughout the 41 Days of School Choice campaign, the American Federation for Children will be promoting programs using the hashtag “#41Days”.

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The American Federation for Children is the nation’s leading school choice advocacy organization and works in states across the country to help secure additional, high-quality educational options for families.

About Institute for Quality Education: IQE is a nonprofit organization committed to ensuring all children in Indiana have quality educational opportunities. To learn more about IQE, visit www.i4qed.org