(CNN) - In a ruling that could reverberate nationwide, the Indiana Supreme Court upheld the state's voucher program, which gives poor and middle class families public funds to help pay for private school tuition, including religious schools.
Indiana has the broadest school voucher program available to a range of incomes, critics say, and could set a precedent as other states seek ways to expand such programs.
Supporters say it gives families without financial means more options on where to educate their children.
However, opponents of the Indiana program had sued to block it, describing it as unconstitutional and saying it takes money from public schools.
Teresa Meredith, the vice president of the Indiana State Teachers Association and one of the plaintiffs, said she was "very disappointed in the ruling."
As many as 9,000 students statewide are part of the voucher program and more than 80% use the funds to go to religious schools, according to Meredith.
But in its unanimous 5-0 ruling, the Supreme Court said that was not an issue.
It said it did not matter that funds had been directed to religious schools as long as the state was not directly funding the education. The tuition, the court said, was being funded by the parents who chose to pay it with their vouchers.
"Whether the Indiana program is wise educational or public policy is not a consideration," Chief Justice Brent Dickson wrote. The public funds "do not directly benefit religious schools but rather directly benefit lower-income families with school children."
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Right now, the Indianapolis School System is in such disarray that the Govenor is seeking to take over 4 schools in Indy because they only passed 11-15% of ALL students on the ISTEP tests – the statewide test administered at the beginning and the end of each school year to trak student progress. Some of the 5th graders in these schools can't even READ, and had to have the questions read aloud for them.
If parents want to send their children to a better school, LET THEM! But first, fix the schools that are broken! If the public schools weren't so bad, no one would need to go to a private academy or magnet school.
How dare a non-Islamic think they can have vouchers to ANY school of their choice! They probably think it's all abot the children! Well it's not it's all about the fat incompentent animals that pass for Pubic Screwell teachers, and their union reps! Some think Pubic education is a right and a necessity! I say it is a mental disorder and we need to have a ribbon for it to find a cure! Forget pretending to find a cure for cancer let's cure the terrible disease of Pubic edcation and REALLY save lives!
The state should not be providing money to buy a service from a private company that it already provides. Vouchers are not a solution to questions of how to improve education. Vouchers paper over a gigantic hole in the drywall of instruction. Private schools only instruct those they choose to instruct so where does that leave any student who a private school does not deem worthy?
Additionally, it is not in the best interests of anyone, including students, to have teachers afraid to speak their collective or individual minds regarding curriculum, practice or rigor. Unions protect those rights and many more, including due process to investigate accusations involving teachers. I can instruct and assess my students honestly and correctly because I know that I can justify my actions professionally and my union will back me.
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