How Mike Pence expanded Indiana’s controversial voucher program when he was governor

Feb 1, 2018

By Valerie Strauss

This is the second of three pieces about school “reform” in Indiana, where Vice President Pence was governor from 2013 to 2017 and pushed policies to expand school choice.

The choice program started in 2011, when Mitch Daniels was governor, and continued under Pence, who drove an effort to expand charter schools and loosen eligibility requirements to expand the voucher program’s reach. A Washington Post story on Indiana’s voucher program, published in December 2016, said in part:

Indiana lawmakers originally promoted the state’s school voucher program as a way to make good on America’s promise of equal opportunity, offering children from poor and lower-middle-class families an escape from public schools that failed to meet their needs.

But five years after the program was established, more than half of the state’s voucher recipients have never attended Indiana public schools, meaning that taxpayers are now covering private and religious school tuition for children whose parents had previously footed that bill. Many vouchers also are going to wealthier families, those earning up to $90,000 for a household of four.

The first post looked at the roots of the reform program in Indiana under then-Gov. Mitch Daniels, and this one discusses Pence’s role in the expansion of vouchers, as well as the misuse of public tax dollars in Indiana’s charter and voucher sector. Pence’s support for vouchers and other school choice programs is shared by President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

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