Here and Now

Today on Here and Now

Republicans won four of six recall elections yesterday in Wisconsin, holding on to their majority in the state senate by one vote. It’s a setback for Democrats and union groups. So with a victory in hand, we’ll find out what Gov. Scott will pursue next.

The death of 30 special operations personnel focuses a new spotlight on the war in Afghanistan and the small teams of elite troops that operate there. Military analyst Bing West recently told Congress that these small teams are the forces of the future while the US is in Afghanistan. We’ll ask him whether he still feels the same way.

When you see a soldier, is saying “thanks you for your service” appropriate? Some members of the military are uncomfortable with it. An English instructor at West Point explores the remark and its effect on servicemembers in an essay, and we’ll find out what she learned.

And we have an in-depth report from WFPL’s Rick Howlett on the challenges to the Indiana School Voucher program.

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Indiana School Voucher Challenge Set For Hearing

An Indiana judge is scheduled to hear arguments tomorrow  in a suit challenging the state’s new school voucher program.

The program was created by the Republican-led 2011 General Assembly and allows parents who meet income guidelines and are unhappy with their public schools to use taxpayer dollars to send their children to private schools.

Critics say the program runs counter to the Indiana Constitution’s guarantee of a “uniform system of common schools”

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On a recent afternoon in front of the New Albany-Floyd County Public Library, Sherry Pfund explained why she wants to use the voucher program for her granddaughter, McKenzie.

“Her father is a single parent, and you know, he’s struggling. And he wants her to have a very good education and this is a wonderful opportunity,” she said.

McKenzie transferred this year from a nearby public school to St. Mary’s Catholic Academy, where she just started third grade, and Pfund has applied for a state voucher to help cover tuition.

“You know, there’s a lot of things that the public schools are not offering anymore, and if we can get it, she deserves it, the kids deserve to have that kind of education.”

McKenzie’s family is among more than a thousand across Indiana to seek vouchers during the program’s first year. About 200 private schools are participating—nearly half of them religion-based institutions.

Supporters say the program offers low and middle income families access to good schools they otherwise could not afford to consider. Students can receive up to $4,500 annually toward private school tuition

But others are calling the program unconstitutional and bad educational policy.