Although Chuck Weisenbach and I may not see eye-to-eye on all matters theological, I have to say I concur wholeheartedly with the points he made in his letter published in the Indianapolis Star on June 27. Weisenbach is the principal at Roncalli High School, a very well-regarded Catholic institution in the state capital. Of course, he’s “preaching to the choir” when it comes to trying to convince those of us who already recognize the value of Indiana’s Choice Scholarships, or vouchers.
Just like our Lutheran schools, Roncalli is a market-driven school, and schools such as ours have to offer something that public schools don’t. That’s why we set high standards and promote excellence among our students, educators, and administrators. Our goal isn’t to make money. Our mission is to prepare students to achieve in life as they choose a faith-based path. However, we must continue to outperform or perish. There’s a lot of competition among ours and other high-quality schools available to discerning families.
In his letter to the editor, Weisenbach begins with the fact that there’s a lot of misinformation, and even disinformation, out there about the voucher system. Weisenbach also agrees, as I do, with Star columnist Matthew Tully’s recent assessment that families, especially lower- and middle-income families, want and deserve the educational options provided by the voucher system. That parents want these options is a growing movement across the country.
Weisenbach also praises the state of Indiana for its efforts to make these options available with Choice Scholarships. The voucher system has also given notice to public schools, and many of them have responded to the competition by making themselves better.
The goal of all our schools, Weisenbach writes, should be to educate students so that they’re prepared to “lead our country and the world in bold, visionary ways.” Competition among all schools to be the best they can be is the way to achieve that goal.
It’s time, Weisenbach concludes, to end the politically charged conversation about the value of the voucher system. And, again, I couldn’t agree more. The voucher system has shown its merit by providing families with more choices, and it’s sparked competition among schools if they want to attract families looking for the best for their children.
But despite the ongoing debate about vouchers, our Lutheran Schools will continue to provide the highest-quality education in a Christ-centered environment. That’s not part of any competition. That’s just what we do so well.