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What happens when parents make a bad school choice?

A day before the Indiana Supreme Court hears oral arguments in Meredith v. Daniels, the constitutional challenge of the school voucher law, the state has released voucher figures for the state. Headlines, no doubt, will focus on the fact that voucher participation doubled this year, with 9,300 students participating.

So, all of those students took their voucher entitlements and moved from a failing school to a high-performing one, right? Not in Allen County. The school enrolling the county's highest number of voucher students this year – 116 at Cornerstone Christian College Prep – earned an F on its most recent report card from the Indiana Department of Education. That means Hoosiers sent $536,648 in tax dollars to a failing school.

Central Christian School in Fort Wayne, which earned a grade of D, collected $181,726 for 44 voucher students. Indianapolis Junior Academy, another F school, enrolled 75 voucher students this fall, at taxpayers' expense of about $347,000.

But it's all about parent choice, right?

Karen Francisco, editorial page editor for The Journal Gazette, has been an Indiana journalist since 1981. She writes frequently about education for The Journal Gazette opinion pages and here, where she looks at the business, politics and science of learning as it relates to northeast Indiana, the state and the nation. She can be reached at 260-461-8206 or by e-mail at kfrancisco@jg.net.

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