Opponents of Indiana’s Choice Scholarships often argue that Choice Scholarships are unfair because Non-Public schools are not held accountable to the same standards as public schools. What the public may not realize is that Non-Public schools are actually held to a higher standard of accountability than public schools. Non-public schools that accept Choice Scholarships and receive a letter grade of D or F for two consecutive years must face immediate consequences. By contrast, public schools only receive consequences after four years of an F grade. In other words, state rules for private schools are stricter than for public schools when it comes to a school’s letter grade. non-public schools are held to a higher standard of accountability. Keep in mind, of course, that most non-public schools score high in Indiana’s school grading system, with nearly 90 percent of state-accredited non-public schools scoring an A or a B. Students in these schools frequently outperform their public-school neighbors on standardized tests.
But opponents of school choice would have you believe that private schools are not as trustworthy as public schools because of differences in accreditation. The reality is that most non-public schools are accredited by the State of Indiana, using the traditional or Freeway model. Others are accredited by a variety of regional and national accrediting bodies, including but not limited to, AdvancED (North Central), ISACS, ACSI, NLSA, and CSI. Many non-public schools hold multiple accreditations. Accountability and accreditation are important factors to consider when selecting a school. The Indiana Non-Public Education Association encourages parents to research each school’s academic performance including accreditation status, test scores, and graduation rates. These facts can help parents make informed decisions regarding the education of their children. Parents’ opportunity to make such decisions should not be limited to the wealthy few. Indiana’s Choice Scholarship Program empowers families of limited means to exercise real choices about the education of their children. All families should have the opportunity to choose their children’s education. School choice puts opportunity and responsibility into parents’ hands—parents who best know the educational needs of their children, and who are best able to hold schools accountable.