Indiana school voucher program

Results from the first-ever study of Indiana’s school voucher system found negative academic effects among low-income students in math, but also showed the same students could match or outperform public school peers in English – if they remained in the private school long enough.

Updated at 10:04 a.m. ET with Louisiana study

It is the education debate of the Trump era. With the president and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos using policy and the bully pulpit to champion private school vouchers, supporters and critics have tangled over the question:

Do low-income, public school students perform better when they're given a voucher to attend a private school?

The Indiana State Board of Education approved four private schools with a history of low performance and academic failure to accept publicly funded vouchers to cover tuition for incoming students during a meeting Wednesday.

The schools had lost their ability to enroll new students in the Choice Scholarship Program because they had been rated a D or F on the state’s accountability system for at least two consecutive years.

U.S. education secretary Betsy DeVos weathered a volley of questions this week about a Bloomington, Indiana, private school that receives state-funded vouchers but reserves the right to deny admission or discontinue enrollment to students from lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender families.

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos visited a high-performing private Indianapolis high school Tuesday, where nearly every student receives a voucher. She toured Providence Cristo Rey High School on a fact-finding mission and meet students and staff.

DeVos’ school visit follows a Monday speech in Indianapolis where she alluded to “an ambitious” federal expansion of school choice. DeVos did not lay out details of what a federal program could look like.


Republicans rejected several attempts by Democrats Wednesday to increase pre-k funding as they voted down proposed amendments to the budget.

Richard Lee /

A group of Indiana University researchers has released a report comparing the mechanics of school voucher programs in a handful of states, including Indiana. 

IU's Center for Evaluation and Education Policy wanted to compare the school voucher programs in Indiana, The District of Columbia, Arizona, Louisiana, Ohio and Wisconsin – all places where any student that meets an income requirement can receive a state voucher.

A school voucher gives state money to a low-income student to pay for private school tuition.

NYC Department of Education /

An education bill in the Indiana House would expand what parents can do with state-allocated school money.

Right now, parents can use cash that would normally go to a public school for their child’s enrollment and spend it on private school tuition.

Rep. Tim Brown’s (R-Crawfordsville) bill would set up so-called “education savings accounts” to use for textbooks, private tutoring, college tuition savings and home-schooling.

Brown says parents get to choose how the money is spent and the state stays true to the philosophy of “the money follows the child.”

NYC Department of Education /

Private schools are experiencing a surge in enrollment, in large part due to the state’s expanding voucher program. 

When the program first passed in 2011, supporters said funding private school tuition would give poor kids in failing schools options to get a better education.

But as StateImpact’s Indiana’s Claire McInerny explains, a new report shows that as the program enters its fifth year, the costs to taxpayers and students have dramatically changed. 

Study: No Academic Difference For Voucher Students

Apr 17, 2015
chancadoodle /

New research has added fuel to one of the most heated debates on Indiana’s education scene- the validity of the state’s voucher program.

Indiana has one of the biggest school voucher programs in the country, with close to 30,000 participants receiving public funds to attend private schools.

But according to a report released Thursday from the bipartisan Center for Tax and Budget Accountability in Chicago, there’s no statistical evidence that students using those vouchers see any better academic outcomes than their peers in public schools.