In Indiana, a public education is guaranteed by our state’s constitution. That guarantee means every child, no matter the zip code they’re born into, has the right to a world-class public education. That promise is not being met in Indiana.
It starts with funding. In Indiana, funding per pupil was higher in 2009 than it is today, adjusted for inflation. Governor Daniels cut education funding during the last economic recession and it’s never recovered, even as new challenges to public schools have arisen.
In addition to lower funding Statehouse Politicians have been diverting funding from public schools to for-profit and private schools in the largest taxpayer-funded voucher program in the nation. Last year, the program ballooned, siphoning $150 million of public dollars, and redirecting them to for-profit and private schools.
The results are just now beginning to bubble to the surface. Last year, nearly a dozen public schools closed. The year before, nearly twice as many shut their doors. Last year, 40 percent of Indiana’s school corporations were spending beyond their means.
In small and large communities just likes yours, children, parents and teachers are grappling with Indiana’s new reality. With budgets shrinking, classroom sizes are increasing and school boards and administrators must make the tough calls. Across the state, schools are canceling the arts, music and physical education and letting experienced educators go.
The new reality is as stark as it seems: Statehouse Politicians are pitting schools against each other and picking winners and losers. The result? Unequal opportunity, where the value of one Hoosier child’s education outweighs another. It’s why we’ve got to step up a and call or email our Representatives and Senators to let them know that this must change.