The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update


September 11, 2013

Editorial: Indiana still doesn't have student choice quite right


So the full impact of the law on local school districts and those across the state — and on students who wish to transfer — really won’t be known until the 2014-15 school year.

The unfortunate reality is that some Hoosier school systems have decided to greatly reduce the number of transfers accepted.

Mishawaka schools, for example, accepted transfers at every grade level and had 450 of them for the 2012-13 school year. One year later, after the new law went into effect, Mishawaka schools accepted just 35 kindergarten transfers and none at other grade levels, according to a recent Associated Press report.

Such a reduction is contrary to the concept of student choice and is an unintended consequence of the new transfer rules.

Another matter to consider: The state’s controversial voucher program enables some low-income students to attend private schools with state assistance. But those private schools can still apply their own criteria to accept or reject students, a luxury no longer afforded to public schools.

After the full impact of the new transfer rules becomes apparent following the 2014-15 school year, the General Assembly should revisit the law to determine whether it’s really promoting student choice of schools. It seems apparent now that legislators still don’t have the law quite right.

In summary Schools can no longer cherry-pick student transfer applicants, but some have responded by greatly reducing transfer slots.

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