Sunday, December 20, 2020

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #347 – December 19, 2020

Dear Friends,

Sound the alarm! We don’t need a new legislative crisis during this horrendous pandemic.

Word from the Statehouse is that the Republican supermajority plans to give public tax money to upper income and wealthy private school parents to pay their private school tuition. Currently, vouchers pay all or part of private school tuition for families earning $95,000 or less for a family of four. The proposed plan would remove all income caps.

This is obviously a bad idea during our economic crisis. It would not give school choice to any additional students. The students from upper income and wealthy families are already going to private schools. This plan would just shift the tuition bill for those upper income families to public taxpayers, including low income taxpayers.

This proposal is tone deaf to the fact that public schools serving students of poverty face cuts in the upcoming budget due to the Covid recession. This idea shamefully proposes to take from the poor and give to the rich.

It’s not right. This should not stand.

There is also talk of giving public tuition money to home school parents for the first time. This is another expensive idea that is totally wrong during the pandemic crisis. Since home schools are unregulated and unsupervised, whether or not public dollars would be used to teach children to support our democracy and the U.S. Constitution would be unknown.

These proposals to divert money to private school and home school parents should be non-starters during the pandemic and economic crisis we are in. Contact legislators to make that point.

Let your State Representative and your State Senator know that this is the wrong time to divert funding from public taxpayers to give to wealthy parents who want their children to go to religious or private schools or to home school parents.

Email or contact your legislators, or any legislator, at your earliest opportunity. Then add an email to the leaders of both the House, Speaker Huston (, and the Senate, President ProTempore Bray (

Tell them that during this crisis giving more money to higher income and wealthy families is wrong.

Tell them this idea is not a mandate of the election because it was not a visible issue in the campaign.

Tell them this is no time to revisit the bitter 2011 battle over private school vouchers.

Tell them they should support our current public schools to the maximum degree during this recession and not try to drive a nail in their coffin.

Thank you for supporting public education in Indiana!

Stay safe,

Vic Smith

“Vic’s Statehouse Notes” and ICPE received one of three Excellence in Media Awards presented by Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, an organization of over 85,000 women educators in seventeen countries. The award was presented on July 30, 2014 during the Delta Kappa Gamma International Convention held in Indianapolis. Thank you Delta Kappa Gamma!

ICPE has worked since 2011 to promote public education in the Statehouse and oppose the privatization of schools. We need your membership to help support ICPE lobbying efforts. As of July 1st, the start of our new membership year, it is time for all ICPE members to renew their membership.

Our lobbyist Joel Hand is again representing ICPE in the new budget session which began on January 3, 2017. We need your memberships and your support to continue his work. We welcome additional members and additional donations. We need your help and the help of your colleagues who support public education! Please pass the word!

Go to for membership and renewal information and for full information on ICPE efforts on behalf of public education. Thanks!

Some readers have asked about my background in Indiana public schools. Thanks for asking! Here is a brief bio:

I am a lifelong Hoosier and began teaching in 1969. I served as a social studies teacher, curriculum developer, state research and evaluation consultant, state social studies consultant, district social studies supervisor, assistant principal, principal, educational association staff member, and adjunct university professor. I worked for Garrett-Keyser-Butler Schools, the Indiana University Social Studies Development Center, the Indiana Department of Education, the Indianapolis Public Schools, IUPUI, and the Indiana Urban Schools Association, from which I retired as Associate Director in 2009. I hold three degrees: B.A. in Ed., Ball State University, 1969; M.S. in Ed., Indiana University, 1972; and Ed.D., Indiana University, 1977, along with a Teacher’s Life License and a Superintendent’s License, 1998. In 2013 I was honored to receive a Distinguished Alumni Award from the IU School of Education, and in 2014 I was honored to be named to the Teacher Education Hall of Fame by the Association for Teacher Education – Indiana. In April of 2018, I was honored to receive the 2018 Friend of Education Award from the Indiana State Teachers Association.


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