NEWS: Across the Pond, Reformers Look to School Choice for Inspiration

From The Telegraph in England:
One of the most powerful ideas in education reform is the “voucher”. At present, the Government spends more than £5,000 per year on average for a child in a state school (more for secondary schools, less for primary schools). With a “voucher”, parents could choose to take that money and spend it on a place in a private school. Parents would gain a much greater range of choice overnight, and research suggests that greater choice leads to better results. This is the evidence from Sweden, which has served as the inspiration for Michael Gove’s free schools.
These arguments have been winning the debate in America for several years. Last Thursday, the State Senate of Indiana approved the largest voucher programme to be seen in the US so far. The programme is geared towards families on lower incomes. It will eventually allow 62 per cent of all families in Indiana to take their public funds to a private school if they so choose. The Government will pick up the tab on a sliding scale depending on each family’s income, with the poorest eligible for 90 per cent of their school’s fees.
Indiana’s Governor, Mitch Daniels, explained the reforms: “If you’re a moderate or low-income family and you’ve tried the public schools for at least a year and you can’t find one that works for your child, you can direct the dollars we were going to spend on your child to the non-government school of your choice. That’s a social justice issue to me.”
The Indiana reforms follow hot on the heels of the renewal of a school voucher programme in the District of Columbia, which has helped thousands of disadvantaged children get a decent education that they would not otherwise have received.
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