Vouchers pass Indiana Senate

Indiana’s Senate has passed a school voucher bill that includes tuition aid for middle-income families. The bill has passed the House in similar form. Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels is a strong supporter.

Under the plan, a family of four earning less than $41,000 a year would be eligible for a tuition voucher of up to $4,500 for grades 1-8, and up to $4,964 for high school.

A family of four with an income between $41,000 and $61,000 would be eligible for a voucher of up to $2,758 for all grades.

Some 7,500 vouchers will be available in the fall, with 15,000 vouchers available for 2012-13.

The Senate changed the legislation to require private schools participating in the voucher program teach American history and government, maintain a selection of patriotic readings and not advocate the violent overthrow of the government.

With so many Indiana families eligible for tuition aid, it will be fascinating to see how this plays out. Will kids from $60,000-a-year families crowd out lower-income students?

Gov. Daniels has signed a bill limiting teachers’ collective-bargaining ability.