On this episode, Tuthill talks with the chairman of Indiana’s House Education Committee. Behning carried a choice bill this legislative session that was folded into the state’s budget, creating a new $10 million education savings account program for students with special needs that will be funded at 90% of regular per-pupil funding. The voucher program will have the highest income eligibility of any means-tested program in the country.
The two discuss the landscape of Indiana’s choice programs, which already were considered a national model, and ponder choice expansion opportunities to come, including better transportation options for families. Behning argues that the more choice families have, the better off the Hoosier state’s education system will be.
“I see this as a social justice issue. Providing opportunities for parents that don’t have the ability to make a choice by moving to a community where schools are better – we’re giving them another option.”
· An overview of Indiana’s robust education choice programs
· This year’s legislative process that led to the creation of a new special needs education savings account
· How federal funding impacted Indiana’s overall budget this year in the wake of COVID-19
· Opportunities public school districts have to unbundle services to better serve students who utilize education savings accounts