Blog: One Week: Two states expand options

The Institute for Quality Education announced this week that Indiana received nearly 30,000 applications for Indiana’s Choice Scholarship Program. This marks another year of record growth for the Hoosier State’s voucher program, with nearly 10,000 more students applying compared to last year. The program was enacted in 2011 and vouchers for grades 1-8 are capped at $4,800 per student. This amount is $1,800 less than the average per-pupil funding of $6,632 provided by the state to Indiana’s public schools last year.

Joan Woods, an Indianapolis parent and choice scholarship recipient praised the program, “The voucher program means so much to us. It has really enabled us to choose a school that best fits my daughter’s character and performance needs.”

Betsy Wiley, president of the Institute for Quality Education, added, “The continued growth of Indiana’s voucher program is proof that Hoosier parents want school choice. Access to a school that best meets the educational needs of a student should not be determined by where they live or family income.”

In other positive news this week, about 250 miles south of the Indiana, in the Yellow Hammer State, the Alabama Accountability Act provided 2,800 scholarships to children in need. Former Gov. Bob Riley praised Alabama’s educational choice program, calling it a “success story on steroids.” Alabama’s program was enacted in 2013 and serves low-income children who are zoned to attend a failing or underperforming school.

Sonya DiCarlo, communications director for the Alabama Opportunity Scholarship Fund said, “[A parent] showed up with all their report cards and said ‘Look, these are the grades they were making in the school they were at before. These are the grades they are making now.’ She was so excited,” DiCarlo said. “And she said, ‘They’re doing so much better and their behavior is better.”

“The opportunity to give a perfect education or higher education to your children — you have to take it,” added Shawn Byrd a parent whose two children use the Alabama Accountability Act.

That’s one week, two states, and countless lives that will be forever changed for the better as a result of educational choice.

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By Matt Frendewey
National Communications Director