Friday, August 12, 2016

Mike Pence’s claim that Indiana has the largest school voucher program - The Washington Post

Mike Pence’s claim that Indiana has the largest school voucher program - The Washington Post:

Mike Pence’s claim that Indiana has the largest school voucher program


“I’m proud to be from the state that has the largest education voucher program in America.”
— Republican vice-presidential nominee and Indiana Gov.  Mike Pence, rally in Denver, Aug. 3, 2016
“In the last four years, we passed the largest state tax cut in Indiana history, and now are home to the largest school voucher program in the United States of America.”
— Pence, speech to the American Conservative Union, July 19, 2016
This is one of Pence’s favorite talking points about his record in Indiana. But there’s actually more to the story, and voucher programs across states are difficult to compare because each program is structured differently. Here are the facts.

The Facts

Indiana’s Choice Scholarship Program was launched in 2011, under Pence’s predecessor, Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels. The voucher program survived a state Supreme Court challenge just after Pence took office in January 2013, and he dramatically expanded the program to increase eligibility for students. The program offers vouchers to low- and middle-income families to attend private schools.
There are 26 voucher programs in 15 states, according to the Friedman Foundation, a school choice organization based in Indiana. Pence’s staff pointed to research by this organization, which tracks school choice programs across the country.
In 2015-2016, the latest statistics available for Indiana, there were 32,695 studentsparticipating in the state’s program. That makes this program the single largest education voucher program in any state.
But some other states have multiple smaller voucher programs, unlike Indiana. When looking at the total number of enrollees across all programs in one state, Ohio has the largest cumulative voucher participation, with 45,459 enrollees. Wisconsin ranks just behind Indiana, but the data are not yet complete because a fourth program is now accepting enrollees. As of 2015, there were 31,295 students enrolled across three programs in Wisconsin.
“We [in Indiana] do have the largest single voucher program in the country,” Robert Enlow, chief executive of the Friedman Foundation, said. He noted that there is another way to measure this — the total number of students participating in the program.
Every voucher program is structured differently and difficult to compare across states, Enlow said. In fact, the reason Indiana’s single program has so many students is that it is designed more broadly than the programs in Mike Pence’s claim that Indiana has the largest school voucher program - The Washington Post:

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