Two major law centers are taking aim at school voucher programs across the country. The groups are kicking off a new campaign to drive more public dollars to public schools, called Public Funds Public Schools.
The New Jersey-based Education Law Center, and Southern Poverty Law Center will combine resources for litigation, advocacy, and research efforts focused on voucher programs in states across the U.S., including Indiana.
Indiana’s public school teachers have said phasing out the state’s voucher program could help improve pay and better support public schools. Indiana awarded more than $161 million worth of school vouchers – or choice scholarships – last school year.
Attorney Jessica Levin directs the new national project. She says the campaign is focused on a key concern about large voucher programs like Indiana’s: public dollars funding private schools instead.
“They draw desperately needed funds from public schools to private educational uses,” she says. "Public schools are also open to all students, and need to serve all students, according to many federal laws and anti-discrimination laws – many of which don't apply in private schools."
She says the group is not currently involved with any lawsuits in Indiana, but is keeping watch on the state for future action on any expansion or growth of school voucher programs.