Mike Pence’s Voucher Program in Indiana Was a Windfall for Religious Schools

Dec 6, 2016

By Stephanie Mencimer

One of Vice President-elect Mike Pence’s pet projects as governor of Indiana was expanding school choice vouchers, which allow public money to pay for private school tuition. President-elect Donald Trump has said he’d like to expand such vouchers in the rest of the country, but what happened in Indiana should serve as a cautionary tale for Trump and his administration.

Pence’s voucher program ballooned into a $135 million annual bonanza almost exclusively benefiting private religious schools—ranging from those teaching the Koran to Christian schools teaching creationism and the Bible as literal truth—at the expense of regular and usually better-performing public schools. Indeed, one of the schools was a madrasa, an Islamic religious school, briefly attended by a young man arrested this summer for trying to join ISIS—just the kind of place Trump’s coalition would find abhorrent.

In Indiana, Pence created one of the largest publicly funded voucher programs in the country. Initially launched in 2011 under Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels, it was sold as a way to give poor, minority children trapped in bad public schools a way out. “Social justice has come to Indiana education,” Daniels declared after the voucher legislation passed. It was supposed to be a small program, initially capped at 7,500 vouchers. Full vouchers, worth 90 percent of the per-pupil spending in a school district, were reserved for families with incomes up to 100 percent of the cutoff for free or reduced-price school lunch, about $45,000 a year for a family of four.


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One comment on “Mike Pence’s Voucher Program in Indiana Was a Windfall for Religious Schools”

  • Pence’s voucher program ballooned into a $135 million annual bonanza
    almost exclusively benefiting private religious schools—ranging from
    those teaching the Koran to Christian schools teaching creationism and
    the Bible as literal truth.

    The same old story. Base all insanity on the existence of what Richard Dawkins calls a delusion: God. The only logical reason to make people believe in a god is to control your life. Definitely it is not to get you to some fantasy “heaven” and avoid some delusionary “hell.” Voucher programs are based on the idea that children will be indoctrinated, not educated. Children must be taught to question authority and that knowledge is to be treated with humility, never as the absolute “truth.”



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