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IN poised to expand school voucher program

Expansion of the state’s school voucher program is headed to Governor Mike Pence.  The General Assembly passed the measure late Friday.

The House originally approved voucher expansion eliminating the requirement that recipients attend a public school for one year beyond kindergarten.  But the Senate balked at such a broad expansion.

The final version requires students to attend at least a public kindergarten before receiving a voucher.  It does allow students to skip public school entirely if their public school receives a failing grade from the state.  It’s that provision that  Representative Ed DeLaney (D-Indianapolis) says will hurt public school students in districts like his.

“Why would IPS fix up a failing school?  They won’t get the kids back.  What’s the incentive for IPS to improve?  There is none!”

House Ways and Means Chair Tim Brown (R-Crawfordsville) says the budget sets aside money to protect public school funding in case the voucher program expands significantly.

“And so we want to protect the foundation.  We have done that, we’ve listened, we have answered the call to protect education.”

The legislature also approved a bill proponents say halts implementation of the Common Core, a set of nationally-developed academic standards currently adopted by 45 states.  The legislature and Department of Education will study the Common Core before the State Board of Education develops a new set of standards by next year.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.
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