Public Education is the bedrock of American democracy. The majority of Indiana families choose public schools, and the Indiana State Constitution makes clear that it is the responsibility of the General Assembly to provide a free education for our citizens. If we didn’t already know it, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that teachers are vital to our country’s stability and economy. Parents learned very quickly how challenging it is to educate their own children on a daily basis, not to mention a whole classroom of eager, active, young people.
- Yet in the midst of a pandemic, we must acknowledge that we are in a battle to save the public education system in our country, and in the state of Indiana. My opponent’s votes and comments about public schools consistently reflect his view that your tax dollars should go towards funding private schools that are not held to the same standards as public schools, are not proven to improve education outcomes, and worse, increasingly are shown to be a waste of tax money. For example:
- Research indicates that students who moved from a public school to a voucher-supported private school in Indiana are academically less successful at the new school.
- Public charter schools are private corporations taking your tax dollars without meaningful taxpayer oversight. Just this year, we learned that a Virtual School stole $86 million in taxpayer dollars by inflating their enrollment numbers.
- Schools that accept vouchers are allowed to exclude students on the basis of religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability and discriminate against teachers.
MY AGENDA FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION
- DEMAND OVERSIGHT & STOP WASTEFUL SPENDING & FRAUD on unproven voucher, charter and virtual schools.
- IMPROVE PUBLIC SCHOOL FUNDING TO KEEP UP WITH INFLATION
- STOP WASTEFUL SPENDING ON TESTING. Let’s re-evaluate and eliminate certain testing to save millions each year and put those funds back into public school classrooms.
- INCREASE TEACHER COMPENSATION to compete with neighboring states.
- FUND UNIVERSAL PRESCHOOL in all Indiana counties and remove barriers, including parental work status. A child’s education should not depend on conditions involving their parents.