Around 20,000 Indiana students use state tax dollars to attend private schools.
In just three years, Indiana's so-called voucher program has become one of the largest in the nation.
But are these vouchers actually failing our children?
The average day at Michiana Christian School involves reading a good book, and reading -the-- good book.
Michiana Christian is proof that you don't have to be a big school to take part in Indiana's private school voucher program although Michiana Christian is a bigger school because of it.
Enrollment hit 58 this year, one third of those students attend, courtesy of vouchers.
The quaint classroom setting already appears to be paying off for one third grade voucher student….
Whose shyness posed problems in the public schools.
Her self-confidence is up her self-esteem is up, she's not afraid to say something or answer a question for fear she'd be wrong.
Indiana state senator John Broden is anti-voucher.
“This is what i refer to as a trojan horse legislation, there was bi-partisan opposition to vouchers. The vote in the senate was very close i believe it was 28 to 22, it included caps on the number of students.”
But the caps are now gone, a requirement that all voucher students first spend two semesters in the public schools has been waived on behalf of siblings.
The program began in 2011 with 3,919 voucher recipients.
In 2012 that more than doubled, to 9,324, in 20-13 it more than doubled again to 20,047.
As a result, this year, the public schools will likely lose an estimated 80-million dollars in state funding…
Up to this point, 928 students have used vouchers to leave the south bend public schools...
Costing the school corporation $5.9 million dollars in state aid.
“People need to know that every dollar that goes to vouchers is a dollar less that goes to educate children in the public schools,” said Broden.
The superintendent of South Bend schools says classes are not overcrowded.
Their average class size throughout the district is somewhere between 25 and 27.
The tough talk, comes from a senator who is a former public school teacher and private school principal who sees the voucher program as more of a kick in the pants of public education than a kick in the head.
What incentive was there in the past for a failing public schools who had no competition whatsoever for those dollars to really improve their product?
They could go six years as a failing school before the state could even step in and do anything.
This is provided competition
“It's forced private schools and public schools to start competing to get these kids in their schools and that's a good thing kids benefit,” Indiana State Senator Carlin Yoder (R) said.
When the product is forced to prove themselves and that's how this does
These are not dollars that we owe anybody, these are dollars that we owe to our children.
To provide the best education we can for them.
And who better than to allow parents to decide what's best for their kid.
Senator Yoder sponsored a bill last year to expand the voucher program, but doesn't have plans to do the same this year.