In his State of the State address, Governor Mike Pence doubled down on the state’s efforts to be one of the nation’s leaders in the number of charter schools, saying he wants to even out the funding model so charters get more money relative to their traditional public school brethren.
However, even the National Alliance For Public Charter Schools says Indiana has a long way to go. More than 20 states have more charter school campuses than Indiana. And in the 2013-2014 school year, even as 11 new charter schools opened in the state, eight existing charters closed. That meant fewer than 2-percent more kids were in charter school classrooms by the end of the school year than at its start.
But all this doesn’t even take into account whether students who attend charter schools are getting better educations than if they were attending traditional public schools.
Fast forward to today: As the debate begins in the Indiana General Assembly over legislation to increase funding for charter schools, some are questioning the academic progress of charters after Ball State University decided to close two Indianapolis schools.