Mitch Daniels: The Pro (school) Choice Governor

Indiana passing a school choice plan considered to be one of the most sweeping in the nation makes me smile for two reasons. One, as a Mitch Daniels supporter and a voter who put school reform at the top of the list, he once again has the record to meet the rhetoric (much like with health care reform).

The other is all the self appointed arbitrators of truuuuuue conservatism who pissed and moaned a few months ago (during the Obama Campaign organized union protests in Wisconsin over public employees having to contribute a little to their benefits) because Mitch Daniels wasn’t angry enough when the Indiana Democrats fled the state. The basic logic was that Gov. Daniels didn’t answer a question the way they wanted him to…therefore he’s not qualified to run for President. Yeah, I know.

Apparently Daniels knew a) what he was doing, and b) what was best for his state (something conservatives are supposed to appreciate). He’s talked aboot education reform before in editorials and his State of the State address, but now there’s actual legislation to help give parents more of a choice where they send their kids to school. Among the details…

Creates School Choice Scholarships for low income families to attend a quality school of choice, either a public or private school.

Focuses eligibility on lower income families. Families at or below the income threshold for the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch program approximately $40,000 for a family of four can receive 90 percent of their per student home school corporation state tuition support. Families with incomes of approximately $60,000 for a family of four can receive 50 percent of the state tuition support amount per student. However, $4,500 is the maximum a student in grades 1-8 may receive.

Eligible schools must be accredited by the Indiana State Board of Education or a national or regional accreditation agency recognized by the state board and must fall under the state’s accountability standards and administer the statewide ISTEP test. An eligible school must also hold a public hearing and conduct a random drawing, if it has more choice scholarship applicants than available seats.

Run Mitch, Run.

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