Behning Op-Ed: Providing school choice

National School Choice Week is Jan. 23-29 this year. It’s an annual recognition of the educational options families can use to best meet the needs of their children.

For over a decade, I’ve worked hard to support school choice, which empowers Hoosier parents to have more control over their children’s education. In 2011, I authored a law establishing Indiana’s Choice Scholarship Program, which gives low-income families the option to send their kids to accredited nonpublic schools that can accommodate a variety of academic, medical and social needs that aren’t always available in traditional public schools.

While the majority of Hoosier students attend traditional public schools, education is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. Children learn in different ways, and they deserve an opportunity to attend a school capable of providing the best learning environment for success.

There were 110 Indiana charter schools serving over 43,500 students in the 2020-21 school year, about 4% of the state’s student population. While these schools are public schools, they operate with more flexibility to accommodate students with needs traditional public schools may not be able to address. Like traditional public schools, charter schools are open to all Hoosier students and use the same A-F grading scale.

Regardless of the school type parents choose for their children, Indiana continues to make K-12 education a priority and support all students, regardless of where they live and their socioeconomic status. In our new state budget, we increased tuition support for schools by more than $1 billion and provided more school choice options by increasing the number of families who can access school vouchers to enroll their student in a nonpublic school and establishing Education Scholarship Accounts for families with special education students. The new budget also directed $150 million to address learning loss for students caused by pandemic disruptions.

All Hoosier children deserve a high-quality education that gives them the best opportunity for future success. As we recognize National School Choice Week, remember the variety of school options Indiana offers our students. Learn more at MySchoolOptions.org.

State Rep. Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis) represents House District 91, which includes portions of Hendricks and Marion counties.

About Brian Scott

I play on the radio from 7 am -1 pm weekdays on 98.9 FM WYRZ and WYRZ.org. Follow me on twitter @WYRZBrianScott or e-mail me at brian@wyrz.org.

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