INDIANAPOLIS | Migdalia Romero and Emily Romero, the mother and aunt of students attending Lake Ridge Schools, joined nearly 300 parents, teachers and school leaders from across Indiana at the Statehouse Tuesday for a rally celebrating public education.
"It's the foundation of who we are and what the state is," Migdalia Romero said. "We were built on that, so why not give our children that same opportunity."
Indiana public schools are increasingly fighting for funding with charter schools and the private school voucher program, which uses state tax dollars to pay tuition for nearly 10,000 students attending mostly religious private schools.
The Republican-controlled General Assembly is considering legislation, backed by Republican Gov. Mike Pence, further easing voucher eligibility requirements.
Migdalia Romero said there's no need for that when there's little evidence private schools or charter schools provide a better education than public schools.
"I want the best education for my child, for both of them, and public schools have never failed in that aspect," she said.
State Rep. Vernon Smith, D-Gary, in an impassioned speech, urged Hoosiers to fight to preserve traditional, local schools.
"We should not give those Republicans permission to destroy public education," he said. "The battle is not over until we quit."