School Choice Week Highlights Educational Options ; Program Helps Parents Learn about Vouchers

By Erbacher, Megan | Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current), January 30, 2013 | Go to article overview

School Choice Week Highlights Educational Options ; Program Helps Parents Learn about Vouchers


Erbacher, Megan, Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)


Two years ago, Marie Metcalf was desperate and down to the last straw in hopes of finding the right school for her then 6-year-old daughter Kyra. To Metcalf, it looked as though she would have no choice but to quit her job and home-school her daughter. But then, she learned about Indiana's school voucher law that enables qualifying parents to use tax money to help pay for sending their children to private schools.

Metcalf explained her family's situation to about 20 community residents and students attending a presentation Tuesday evening in honor of National School Choice Week at Evansville's Oaklyn Branch public library. A sea of yellow scarves decorated the seats at the event organized by Ryan Black, field representative for the Americans for Prosperity Foundation.

National School Choice Week is a celebration featuring around 3,500 festivities across the country with thousands of participants to highlight effective educational options for all American children regardless of gender, geography, socio-economic status or learning ability. Participants believe parents and children should have the ability to choose high-performing traditional public schools, public charter schools, private schools, magnet schools, virtual schools or home schooling, according to Will Green, communications and media coordinator for the nation's events.

Two years ago, the Metcalfs found themselves in a situation where Kyra, now 8, was in a D-rated school and was being exposed to inappropriate things from other children, and the school didn't have the means to develop her gifted and talented test scores because it didn't have the staff. Marie Metcalf said it wasn't necessarily the facility or the faculty, but a lot of classroom time was spent on behavior issues instead of learning time, and Kyra was a 6-year-old reading at a fifth-grade level.

"It was really a no-brainer. I had to take some kind of action," Marie Metcalf said.

She was considering leaving her job and home schooling Kyra, until she visited Evansville Christian School and someone there told her about the state's voucher program, which allows parents meeting income qualifications to receive tax money to supplement the cost of sending their children to private schools. …

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