WBEZ | vouchers http://www.wbez.org/tags/vouchers Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Catholic schools get boost from Indiana vouchers, but critics remain http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/catholic-schools-get-boost-indiana-vouchers-critics-remain-108597 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Indy Voucher.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Just a few years ago, St. Stanislaus Catholic Elementary School in East Chicago, Indiana had fewer than a hundred students and was at risk of closing. But then in 2011 Indiana lawmakers passed a law creating the School Choice Program, which provides public money to low-income parents who want to send their child to a private or religious school. Since then St. Stanislaus, better known as &ldquo;St. Stan&rsquo;s,&rdquo;<br />has experienced a remarkable turnaround.</p><p>&ldquo;It certainly has increased our enrollment,&rdquo; St. Stan principal Mary Jane Bartley told WBEZ. &ldquo;Last year, we opened a second section of 6th graders and this year we opened a second section of third graders.&rdquo;</p><p>Enrollment at St. Stan&rsquo;s has since doubled and other private/religious schools throughout Northwest Indiana might soon get a boost as well. That&rsquo;s because Indiana lawmakers recently loosened the requirements needed for parents to become eligible to participate in the program. Sunday was the deadline for parents to sign up this year. 9,100 Hoosier students are already in the program, with a potential pool of more than a million, according to the Indiana Department of Education.</p><p>East Chicago, a small industrial city outside Chicago, is the only city in Indiana that has a majority Latino population, though African-Americans also make a up a sizable percentage. Catholic schools once dominated this city of 30,000 but as industrial jobs went away and the population dwindled most schools closed except for St. Stan&rsquo;s. But even with the added students and funds, Bartley says the school isn&rsquo;t out of the woods yet.</p><p>&ldquo;We never were able to afford, and we still cannot, school counselors or psychologists or really even teacher aides in all the classrooms,&rdquo; Bartley said. &ldquo;So, therefore, it&rsquo;s up to the classroom teacher to try to meet the needs of all children. I think our teachers are up to the task.&rdquo;<br />&nbsp;<br />Opponents of the program had challenged the constitutionality of providing taxpayer dollars to parochial schools. The Indiana Supreme Court upheld the law last spring arguing that since the money is going directly to parents, there is no violation between the separation of church and state.</p><p>&ldquo;That argument has been put to bed. The (Indiana) Supreme Court ruled that it is constitutional. We&rsquo;re happy with the results,&rdquo; says Marissa Lynch, Field Director for the Indiana Choice Program. &ldquo;This is allowing parents a choice of where their child should attend school.&rdquo;</p><p>But some still worry that the program siphons away public funds from school districts.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s taking away from public education,&rdquo; Cheryl Pruitt, the Superintendent for the Gary Community School Corporation, said on WBEZ&rsquo;s Morning Shift Tuesday. Pruitt says private or religious schools are not monitored by the state the same way as public schools.</p><p>&ldquo;They are not held accountable at the same level as the public schools,&rdquo; Pruitt said.</p><p>According to Pruitt, the amount provided for each participating student, up to $4,500 depending on the family&rsquo;s annual income, often doesn&rsquo;t cover the entire cost of a private education. At some schools, the amount may cover only half of the entire tuition.</p><p>&ldquo;When we look at those really good private schools, that cost is more,&rdquo; Pruitt said.<br />But despite the costs being higher than the voucher amount, Lynch says parents are willing to chip in the additional cost to send their child to a private school.<br />Moreover, of the 9,100 families who are participating in the voucher program statewide, 81 percent are eligible for free or reduced lunch.</p><p>&ldquo;These are families who are making it work to go to the private schools,&rdquo; Lynch said. &ldquo;In a lot of the cases that I&rsquo;m aware of, many of the schools did keep their tuition at about $4,500 for that elementary or middle school. If the fees were more than that, the schools would have some sort of fundraising internally to have some additional scholarship for the students to meet that gap.&rdquo;</p><p>Meanwhile, the reaction from Hoosier parents has been mixed. East Chicago resident Keith Jackson uses voucher money to enroll his daughter at Bishop Noll Catholic High School in Hammond.</p><p>&ldquo;Private school is a better fit for my daughter,&rdquo; Jackson said. &ldquo;Charter or the public schools did not meet all of my daughter&rsquo;s needs.&rdquo;</p><p>But Nilda Rivera, who sends her two children to Catholic schools in Hammond, opposes the program. This despite the fact that she&rsquo;s eligible for vouchers.</p><p>&ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s a violation of church and state,&rdquo; Rivera said. &ldquo;I think they should use that money to fix up the public school system.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Follow WBEZ NWI bureau reporter Michael Puente on Twitter <a href="http://twitter.com/MikePuenteNews" target="_blank">@MikePuenteNews</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 03 Sep 2013 15:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/catholic-schools-get-boost-indiana-vouchers-critics-remain-108597 Morning Shift: Ina Pinkney shuts her doors and retires http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-09-03/morning-shift-ina-pinkney-shuts-her-doors-and-retires <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Ina - courtesy of www.omega-9oils.com_.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago&#39;s &quot;Breakfast Queen&quot; serves her last plate this year and we celebrate her legacy built on pancakes and good ole fashioned hospitality. And, Congressman Mike Quigley his meeting with the President to discuss next moves in Syria.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-56/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-56.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-56" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Ina Pinkney shuts her doors and retires" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Tue, 03 Sep 2013 08:33:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-09-03/morning-shift-ina-pinkney-shuts-her-doors-and-retires Hoosier lawmakers restrict collective bargaining for teachers; vouchers next http://www.wbez.org/story/hoosier-lawmakers-restrict-collective-bargaining-teachers-vouchers-next-85521 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-April/2011-04-22/Classroom Teacher_Getty_Sean Gallup.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Indiana Republicans have made two big gains in education policy. On Thursday a majority of the Indiana Senate approved what could become one of the most expansive school voucher programs in the nation. That comes just a day after the governor signed a new law that restricts collective bargaining for public school teachers.</p><p>Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels visited Valparaiso Thursday to tout the momentum he and the Republican-controlled legislature have seen for their education agenda.</p><p>Speaking on the collective bargaining issue, Daniels, a Republican, deflected criticism of being anti-union. He said, under the new legislation, teachers still have the right to bargain over salaries and benefits; they are only losing out on bargaining over things that have nothing to do with educating children. He cited things such as the color of paint inside teachers’ lounges or the temperature inside of a school.</p><p>"This is the year we really transform Indiana for the better. I’m really very grateful for what the General Assembly has agreed to help us do," Daniels said before the Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce at Strongbow Inn. "Now, we have to go and make that system work."</p><p>The restrictions on teachers’ collective bargaining take effect July 1.</p><p>Republican lawmakers are expected to enact more changes in education before the end of the legislation session, which ends next week. Several include changes Daniels laid out in his State of the State address in January.</p><p>Next on the list is the school voucher expansion, which the Senate approved Thursday. It could be taken up again by the Indiana House next week. The measure would allow some parents to use public money to send their children to a private school.</p><p>"Choice will no longer be limited to the well-to-do in our state. If you’re a moderate or low income family and you’ve tried the public schools for at least a year and you can’t find one that works for your child, you can direct the dollars we were going to spend on your child to the non-government school of your choice,” Daniels said during his visit to Valparaiso. “That’s a social justice issue to me."</p><p>Opponents worry vouchers would siphon money from public schools. The voucher issue is contentious; so much so that House Democrats referenced it when they bolted from the statehouse last month.</p><p>Another item in Daniels school overhaul initiative would impose a merit pay system on teachers. If it passes, the provision would tie raises in teacher salary to annual evaluations. Unions say that system could short-change teachers who work with students who are tough to teach.</p></p> Fri, 22 Apr 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/hoosier-lawmakers-restrict-collective-bargaining-teachers-vouchers-next-85521 Battle in Indiana over school vouchers begins today http://www.wbez.org/story/indiana/battle-indiana-over-school-vouchers-begins-today <p><p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:PunctuationKerning /> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas /> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables /> <w:SnapToGridInCell /> <w:WrapTextWithPunct /> <w:UseAsianBreakRules /> <w:DontGrowAutofit /> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" LatentStyleCount="156"> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} </style> <![endif]--></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri;">Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels got the voucher idea moving along when he spoke about it during last month&rsquo;s State of the State address. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri;">He wants residents who send their children to private schools to use public funds to help pay for that choice. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri;"><span style="">&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri;">On Tuesday, Republicans are introducing a bill in the Indiana House that would make that possible. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri;">Opponents are attacking the bill on many fronts. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri;">They say, for one, vouchers can blur the line between church and state. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri;">Another criticism they have is that private schools are less accountable than public schools. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri;">The voucher idea is just one educational proposal that Daniels is pushing right now. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri;">He also wants more money to expand charter schools. He would also eliminate certain collective bargaining rights for public school teachers. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri;">&nbsp;</span></p></p> Tue, 15 Feb 2011 13:37:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/indiana/battle-indiana-over-school-vouchers-begins-today Ask Me Why: National Day of Listening http://www.wbez.org/story/culture/ask-me-why-ann-and-daniel-talk-about-schools <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/listen melvin gaal_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><div>In the years since the 2000 election normalized the concept of red and blue states, America has only become more politically and culturally polarized. We&rsquo;re more likely to be friends with people who share our opinions, and listen to media outlets that reflect back to us our existing beliefs. Social media and new digital technologies have revolutionized the way we talk to one another and share our opinions, but they haven&rsquo;t necessarily made us better at listening, or at disagreeing without shouting, debating, or itching to make our next point. We can text and we can Tweet, but can we have a conversation without maligning the other side? Can we actually listen to what the other side has to say?</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>WBEZ is proud to present <em>Ask Me Why</em>, a series of recorded conversations inspired by StoryCorps <a href="http://nationaldayoflistening.org/">National Day of Listening</a>. In collaboration with <a href="http://www.prairie.org/">Illinois Humanities Council</a>, we asked pairs of people who know each other and who disagree on an issue if we could record them having a conversation - with a bit of a twist. We told these pairs they couldn&rsquo;t debate, argue or challenge each other. They could only take turns asking each other questions, and listening to the answers. Rather than argue point-counterpoint, the goal would be to better understand why the other person thinks the way they do: What personal experiences shaped their opinion on this issue? Did they always have this opinion and if not, what changed their mind? We wanted to present the idea that thoughtful deliberation and disagreement involves not just making your point, but listening to and working to understand those with whom you disagree.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>For this first installment of <em>Ask Me Why</em>, we have an excerpt from a conversation that took place between Ann Hanson and Daniel Kreisman, two friends who met as graduate students studying education policy at the University of Chicago. Ann and Daniel have spent hours debating policy with one another, both as classmates and as friends. But until recently they had never asked how the other arrived at their beliefs.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>For example, why do they feel differently about the issue of school vouchers, when they both read the same studies and took the same classes? Daniel, who taught at underperforming public schools in New Orleans, believes that public money should be given to parents to spend on private schools; while Ann, who grew up the daughter of public school teachers in Milwaukee, does not.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In the audio excerpt posted above, Daniel and Ann talk to each other and share the stories behind their beliefs, and surprisingly find some common ground.</div> <div>&nbsp;<em><br /></em></div><div>&nbsp;<em>Ask Me Why</em> is made possible by generous support from The Boeing Company and is produced in partnership with the <a href="http://www.prairie.org/">Illinois Humanities Council</a>. Over the next few months we will bring you more installments in this series.&nbsp;If you would like to participate in the <em>Ask Me Why</em> series, you can <a href="http://www.prairie.org/ask-me-why">download the nomination form here</a>.&nbsp;</div></p> Wed, 24 Nov 2010 23:04:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/culture/ask-me-why-ann-and-daniel-talk-about-schools