Advocates rallying to put more money in Hoosier classrooms

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As state lawmakers debate a host of issues surrounding the future of public education, one group of advocates has a Jerry Maguire-esque message for its Tuesday rally at the Statehouse: Show me the money.

The goal, Marilyn Shank of the Indiana Coalition for Public Education told Fox 59 News, is two-fold.

First, convince legislators to fully restore the estimated $300 million cut from state education funding during the recession, she said.  Second, stop the expansion of the private school voucher system.

“[Public school corporations] made budget cuts. They knew that times were tough and they had to do that,” Shanks said.  “But when times are better, we need to give that money back to public schools.”

In current budget proposals, a portion of the cut funding could be restored, but that budget process is not over.  Shank said that amount of money would not return class sizes back to pre-recession levels, but would help stop them from continuing to grow.

Joel Hand, also with the coalition, said the current voucher expansion proposal, in some instances, would give private schools more money per student than the public schools would need to support that student.  The negative impact on the quality of the classroom, he claimed, would not be limited to the traditionally struggling districts.

“You have both inner cities and you also have rural schools that are substantially at risk through the private school vouchers, but that doesn’t mean the suburban schools aren’t at risk as well.”

Supporters of expanding the voucher system believe it is the best course forward for educating Hoosier children.

Vouchers provide Hoosier families with greater choice on how to educate their children and where to send them to school, proponents say.

Supporters also believe vouchers force struggling public school corporations to work hard to improve and remain competitive, while allowing families to send their kids to private schools they may not have otherwise been able to afford.

The Indiana Coalition for Public Education has both Republicans and Democrats on its list of speakers for the 2:30 p.m. event in the south atrium.

More information can be found online at


  • martinstucky

    Indiana Coalition for Public Education=Teacher Union Stooges

    Why don't they throw out the unions and give the dues money back to the education? Sounds like they could put millions of dollars back immediately this way. This is another attempt by the unions to demonize the voucher program which is the best bet for kids getting a decent education. Public schools are strapped by the union teachers and private schools are not. This is the primary difference in the quality of the education. Better teachers.

    • The Truth

      Troll- noun.
      An internet user who sends inflammatory or provocative messages designed to elicit negative responses or start a flame-war. (As a fisherman trolls for an unsuspecting fish.) : Don't answer those silly messages. Some troll is just looking for an argument. (

      • martinstucky

        I see your teaching degree as been put to good use. Is this what you call a kid who asks too many questions in your classroom?

      • The Truth

        Bring something of substance to the argument if you don't like the label. I'm going to assume that you are even remotely interested in a facts-based discussion. If not, guess I was right to start with. If so, then consider the following to points that I am going to make. 1. I disagree with your assessment that union dues are strapping public schools. In Indiana, teachers may choose whether or not to belong to a union. If they choose to belong, they pay money from their own paychecks. No money from the district ever goes into union dues. 2. Do you have data that shows any kind of correlation between teachers union membership and student performance in schools? Or are you simply basing your entire argument on your opinion of unions? So, this is what I would call a constructive argument. Very fact-based and little subjectivity. By the way, I love when my students ask lots of questions. This helps them to be more informed about important issues in life and will help them develop critical thinking skills that they will need to become valuable and important members of their communities.

  • ClanSmokeJaguar

    >hey knew that times were tough and they had to do that,

    Sooooo….exactly what will the 300 million go back to funding? How is whatever that is faring without it? If it's doing well without it, chances are it wasn't needed in the first place.

    Keep the 300 million cut in place.

    >You have both inner cities and you also have rural schools that are substantially at risk through the private school vouchers

    At risk of what?

    Enough with the scare tactics and 0bama-esque fear and loathing schemes. Really…if people can't have an honest dialogue about s### then chances are whatever they're arguing about is conjured up, not needed, and would not stand even-handed scrutiny.

    • Guest

      Interesting that you claim that the ICPE is "Obama-esque". President Obama supports most of these so called education reforms that Republicans in Indiana are pushing.

      • ClanSmokeJaguar

        If even my point was republicans are supporting it, who gives a flying rat's azz?

        But that wasn't my point and either you didn't read what I wrote or comprehended it.

        Again: My 0bama-esque reference was to fear and loathing scare tactics.

        Got it?

  • Wow

    It doesn't even make sense that the voucher program ever became an option. The teachers and the parents are lazy now days… there are hardly any school functions in the schools to keep the children motivated. Awards shows have been reduced to the bare minimum of the kids names just being blurted out to receive an awards vs the way award programs were in the past and should be today where the children has the opportunity from Science, History, Math, Citizenship, and MOST IMPROVED had the opportunity to give speeches… all the children attended, there were speakers that came to the schools to encourage the children… LAZY LAZY LAZY is all I can say because most private schools require so many hours of adult participation that most are not willing to give now where you are, but if you get a name to stand behind you feel inclined, instead of making a name for where you are now. Sorry, but the truth hurts sometimes.

  • Tyrone shoe laced

    I’m find for sending more $$ to the rual and suburb school however no more inner city $$ should be wasted. Inner city schools and it’s additional “social expendatures ” already is a useless burden on the rest of the state.
    How many options do you pay for to trick out a Yugoslav before sanity kicks in?

  • martinstucky

    Keep the 300 million, it is wasted on the school systems anyway. Want to know where your tax dollars are going drive by a local school and look at the brand new Tahoes, BMWs, Mercedes, etc in the teacher parking lot and remember tax dollars paid for them.

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