We’ll be updating this graphic over the next few weeks as we get closer to the 2020 election.
In 2018, the graphic got pretty long
And the amount spent was pretty massive as well.
Why are we sharing this information?
We are sharing this because the majority of us are not completely aware of how much private money is fueling legislation that impacts public education in Indiana.
And it’s not just Indiana public education. It’s a whole bunch of sectors throughout the United States. Indiana’s public education system is not alone in this attack.
When we elect our representatives—local, state, and national, we citizens need to question: Who do they work for? Who did they take money from? Who is influencing their votes on legislation? Who is influencing the legislation they write?
How we find this information and how you can too
Go to the Campaign Finance page of the Indiana Election Division.
Selection “Contributions” in the left-hand menu.
Enter in a recipient name.
If there are too many results (red message at top), you may need to enter in some contribution date parameters. You can limit it to the past two years, for example.
To find the donors to Hoosiers for Quality Education, we place that name in the “Recipient Committee Name” parameter located near the bottom.
If you are interested to see what big names are donating money to candidates or state-level PACs, you can search the following names in the “contributor” field.
For example, here is a DeVos result, which suggests we should ask the question: Who have Indiana’s past three governors worked for?
And here is a more specific result using “Hoosiers for Quality Education” as the contributor and “Rogers” as the recipient. State Senator Rogers was the author of the controversial “share referendum dollars with charter schools” amendment in 2020 HEA 1065. $51,500 from Hoosiers for Quality Education is a significant amount for a legislator who has only been in office since 2018. See the second image above. You will see she is near the top in terms of campaign amounts received. Again, we should ask the question: Who does Linda Rogers work for?
As we citizens ask questions such as
When you head to the voting booth or complete your ballot by mail, be sure to do your research. Be an educated voter and vote for public education.
Sources: Brendan Fischer, “Former Indiana Superintendent, Lauded by ALEC and Education Privatizers, Cheats on School Grading Formula for Top Donor,” PR Watch, July 30, 2013, https://www.prwatch.org/news/2013/07/12198/former-indiana-superintendent-lauded-alec-and-education-privatizers-cheats-school; Wikipedia.com, Sourcewatch.com, K12.com, accessed September 16, 2020 ; and Eric Weddle, “Indy’s Al Hubbard Bows Out of Consideration for No. 2 U.S. Education, Job,” WFYI.org, June 4, 2017, https://www.wfyi.org/news/articles/indys-al-hubbard-bows-out-of-consideration-for-no-2-us-ed-job.
Indiana Coalition for Public Education–Monroe County (ICPE–Monroe County) advocates for all children to have high quality, equitable, well-funded schools that are subject to democratic oversight by their communities.
We are a nonpartisan and nonprofit group of parents, grandparents, caregivers, teachers, and other community members of Monroe County and surrounding areas.
COVID-19 cases in Indiana are climbing, coinciding with the planned beginning of our school year. Across our state, local school boards are faced with difficult decisions about how to educate children and serve their communities during a pandemic. Meanwhile, the Trump administration wants our schools to move into full-bore reopening and has reframed guidance from the CDC to downplay safety protocols.
So far, Indiana has not issued specific metrics that could guide decisions about opening schools in person. Parents, teachers, and others are scrambling to read news reports and check coronavirus dashboards as they attempt to balance their desire to have children in school with the need to keep students, teachers, and staff safe.
In this ongoing emergency, we affirm:
School is crucial to our children’s development as citizens, seekers of knowledge, and people who care for others and for their world. Childhood is brief and matters exponentially. Our state must do what is necessary to constrain this virus and bring infections steadily down so that our children, teachers, and staff can safely go back to school.
Indiana Coalition for Public Education–Monroe County
Indiana Coalition for Public Education
Washington Township Parent Council Network
Northwest Indiana Coalition for Public Education
People often ask, how do I support public education? Here are a number of ways. Some are very current.
Write your legislators.
Sign a petition.
Here is a petition to suspend standardized testing in Indiana for 2020.
Vote for public education.
Write your legislators.
And, of course, join us!
Did you know that school funding is tied to the student in Indiana? Most folks—including educators—don’t. It’s top-level. It’s complex. There is even a portion of state education funding called complexity.
Simply put, in Indiana, each student is a backpack full of cash. The cash follows them to the school district they attend. There are added complexities (there’s that term again), but that is the heart of it. If you decide to enroll your child in a privately managed virtual school, like Connections Academy (Pearson) or Indiana Digital* (K12 Inc.), instead of sending them back to your neighborhood public school, then the state funding that went last year to your child’s public school goes instead to the virtual school. If you choose to enroll them in a private, out-of-state, out-of-pocket school, you get little to no assistance. If you decide to homeschool in the traditional sense, you get little to no assistance.
I get it. We’re in a pandemic. Some of us can NOT send our child back to school. (On the flip side, some of us MUST.)
However, if children do not return to their local public school, then the school district collects less funding than prior years from the state. Since the bulk of public school funding comes from state funds, the results of less state funding will be layoffs, larger class sizes, fewer support staff, fewer field trips (when we’re out of the pandemic), fewer extracurriculars and specials, etc.
This hurts children. Most of whom thrive better in smaller classes where teachers can devote more one-on-one time with them.
This hurts the future of communities.
This hurts low-income children and low-income communities the most.
Stuart Greene, a school board member in South Bend, explains how it can truly hurt in this article.
…this nationwide trend of whether students leaving their public schools for [alternate schooling] could have a clear consequence.
To help protect districts from large financial losses, Senator Eddie Melton and other legislators have stressed that state funding for Indiana’s schools for the 2020–21 year should be based on the last student count (ADM, average daily membership) before the pandemic, which was in February 2020. In addition, he and others believe that the schools must also be financially supported by emergency federal funding as educating children during a pandemic will not cost less. In fact, it will cost much more.
Still, some of us can NOT send our children back to school. I get it. But please be patient. Chances are your school district may offer an online option. Choosing that online option affords your child more local resources than an online option that is not local.
What can I do?
* Indiana Digital is classified as a traditional public school, but it is a virtual school that serves students across the state much like a virtual charter school.