Recently, the Indiana Supreme Court rendered a much anticipated decision when it upheld the constitutionality of the state’s school choice voucher program. As the Christian Science Monitor reports, the program affords low to middle-income families the opportunity to “send their children to private schools with public assistance.”
Indiana Governor Mike Pence released a statement supporting the court’s ruling and the importance of early childhood development, saying “parents should be able to choose where their children go to school, regardless of their income.”
Opponents of the ruling, including the Indiana State Teachers Association, argue that the voucher program forces the government to fund religious activity, which would be unconstitutional.
Under Indiana’s voucher program, families of four that earn less than $42,000 per year are eligible to receive up to 90 percent of the maximum state voucher. The program also provides a separate voucher for children with special needs.
The court’s decision could set a precedent for other states to follow. In addition, the Indiana State Senate will soon vote on a bill that could expand the voucher program to kindergarten students.
According to the Alliance for School Choice, approximately 150,000 children nationwide are benefiting from 16 school choice/voucher programs in nine states and the District of Columbia in 2012-2013.