And why isn't Illinois catching this real education reform wave?
INDIANAPOLIS, IN — The Foundation for Educational Choice today praised Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels for signing the nation's largest voucher program into law. The School Scholarship Act (House Bill 1003) creates a school voucher program that has the broadest eligibility of any voucher program in the nation.
"This is truly a historic day for Indiana's children," said Robert Enlow, President and CEO of the Foundation for Educational Choice. "Gov. Daniels' signature today puts Indiana at the top of the class for educational choice. Moreover, this sends an important message to families across the country: meaningful education reform is possible. We should never give up fighting for access to high-quality educational options for every child, regardless of family income or where they live."
Gov. Daniels has been an outspoken supporter of school choice. He highlighted the need for increasing parental options in his 2011 State of the State address:
"We must begin to honor the parents of Indiana. We must trust them, and respect them enough, to decide when, where, and how their children can receive the best education, and therefore the best chance in life...For families who cannot find the right traditional public school, or the right charter public school for their child, and are not wealthy enough to move near one, justice requires that we help. We should let these families apply dollars that the state spends on their child to the non-government school of their choice."
House Bill 1003 became a cornerstone of Gov. Daniels' education reform agenda. With strong support from Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett, Senate President Pro Tempore David Long, and Speaker of the House Brian Bosma, the passage of the School Scholarship Act dramatically expands educational options in Indiana.
In addition to creating a school voucher program for low- and middle-income families, the bill also doubles the preexisting cap on the scholarship tax-credit program and creates a tax deduction for any family that pays out of pocket for educational expenses relating to private or home schools.
Enlow said the legislation was a significant step toward the vision of Nobel Laureate and co-founder of the Foundation for Educational Choice, Dr. Milton Friedman. In 1998, Dr. Friedman wrote, "We have so far only seen the early fruits from the introduction of vouchers, from giving parents a choice. The best is yet to come as competition and the market work their wonders."
"Today, Milton Friedman's vision for school choice is becoming a reality across the country," said Enlow. "With the passage of the School Scholarship Act in Indiana, we are closer to realizing Friedman's vision of liberty in education for every child."
The Foundation applauded the following individuals for their leadership: Gov. Mitch Daniels, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett, House Speaker Brian Bosma, Senate President Pro Tempore David Long, Senators Dennis Kruse and Carlin Yoder, and long-time choice advocate and House Education Chair Robert Behning.
The Foundation also expressed gratitude to School Choice Indiana, School Choice Indiana Network, Indiana Catholic Conference, Indiana Non-Public Education Association, Indiana Public Charter Schools Association, Indiana Chamber of Commerce, Indiana BAEO, Schools That Can Indianapolis and national allies at the Foundation for Excellence in Education, American Federation for Children, Institute for Justice, and Agudath Israel.
Please visit EdChoice.org/IndianaVouchers for an expanded analysis of the legislation.