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Survey: Parents Cite Religious Education as Top Reason for Using Private School Vouchers

According to a survey conducted by the Friedman Foundation, an education reform group that advocates for private school vouchers, parents cite religious education as the top reason they are using Indiana’s voucher program.

The Foundation’s survey also shows that voucher parents chose to leave their previous schools for the lack of religious instruction.

These responses only solidify the many arguments against taxpayer-supported religious education, which drain funds away from community-based traditional public schools in favor of private religious schools. Traditional public schools have no chance in competing for these voucher students whose parents want a religious education for their children.

The survey’s findings come as no surprise as the majority of vouchers are no longer being used for the original reasons their proponents claimed. A report released by the Indiana Department of Education (INDOE) this year confirmed only 2 percent of vouchers are going to students living in an F school district. Families are no longer using the costly voucher program to leave “failing” public schools, as voucher supporters claim, but to fund private religious education.

Indiana’s private school voucher program has become the largest in the nation with nearly 33,000 vouchers issued in the 2015 – 16 school year. The program now costs taxpayers a record $135 million and a loss of $40 million.

The Brookings Institute recently cited Indiana's voucher program as having a negative effect on student performance. Researchers urged Indiana lawmakers to step back from investing further tax dollars into the voucher program.

The entire Friedman Foundation survey can be read on their website.