Rep. Ubelhor Supports School Choice

Tuesday, November 23, 2010 7:00 pm

Start Date:  11/23/2010  All Day  
End Date:  11/23/2010    
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Indiana General Assembly       
COLUMN

State Rep. Matt Ubelhor                          Contact: Gareth Evans or Ayisha Tahir
Indiana House of Representatives     Press Secretary, Media Department
Statehouse, 200 W. Washington St.                   (317) 232-9659 or 1-800-382-9841
Indianapolis, IN  46204                                        E-mail: gevans@iga.in.gov
Word Count:  436 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE       Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The education debate is heating up this session and it is no secret that Hoosier students are lagging behind in math and reading scores. Approximately two-thirds of our students cannot pass the national math and reading exams. Year after year, we are being outperformed by students not only in other states, but other nations. Something must change. This legislative session, I will be devoting my efforts to adopting new education initiatives to bring more opportunities to Hoosier students.

Last week, Speaker Bosma introduced the Charter School bill, which would make it easier for charter schools to expand and offer students more opportunities in the State of Indiana. The bill sets guidelines in how Indiana charter schools operate. My support for this bill, and charter schools in general, is reinforced by the fact that charter schools are the solution to enhancing our current system and preparing our students for the future, but also increasing opportunities and access.

Indiana charter schools have the ability to produce greater academic growth than traditional public schools. According to the "A Comparison of Student Academic Growth between Indiana Charter Schools and Traditional Public Schools" study, charter school students saw an increase of 22% in the reading portion of the Measures of Academic Progress test, an 18% increase in math, and 25% growth in language when compared to traditional public school students. Furthermore, students who underperformed in subject tests prior to enrolling in a charter school saw greater improvement in these areas after enrollment.

Additionally, charter schools provide support for groups of students who may have had difficulty learning in traditional public schools. Approximately 85% of parents who have a student enrolled in a charter school expressed satisfaction with the education their child is receiving, according to statistics from the Center for Evaluation and Education Policy.

At present, 66% of Hoosier families approve of the charter school option, and thousands of Hoosier students are on a waiting list for a charter school. Indiana has 60 charter schools throughout the state and they serve approximately 20,000 students.

My support for this proposal is not rooted in the belief that all traditional public schools should be replaced by charter schools, but by the idea that families and students should have an alternative option to attend a school that best meets their needs. Our students should have the choice to attend a school that will best prepare them for future employment.

I encourage you to send me your thoughts and concerns on this issue, as education is an important facet that we will continue to discuss throughout the legislative session. Thank you for your continued support.

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