Friday, April 29, 2011

Pro-Choice Legislation We Can Get Behind

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, a Republican, is expected to soon sign legislation that would create the nation’s broadest school choice program. The GOP-led House voted 55-43 Wednesday to allow lower- and middle-class families to use their public school funding to send their children to private schools.

The program would be limited to 7,500 students for the first year and increase to 15,000 in the third year. After three years, there would be no enrollment limit. The scholarships would cost the state less than to send the same students to attend public schools.

Lindsey Burke, a policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation, said Indiana is leading the way in education reform. “The Hoosier State is empowering parents through school choice and ensuring it responds to the needs of children,” she said. “These are reforms that should be — and are likely to be — mimicked by reform-minded state leaders throughout the country this year, to the benefit of parents, children, taxpayers and teachers.”

The Oklahoma House has approved the Oklahoma Equal Opportunity Education Scholarship Act, which would provide scholarships to students who come from low-income families or who attend failing schools. Businesses and individuals would receive a tax credit for contributing to the scholarships.

Republican Sen. Dan Newberry, who introduced the bill, said he’s pleased the bill will now return to the Senate for final approval. “This is very important to Oklahoma kids,” he said, “and it gives underprivileged children opportunity to succeed and receive the education they deserve.”

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