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Voucher victory lap

With the help of Indianapolis Star staffers Gary Varvel and Matt Tully, the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice will celebrate its voucher success in the last session of the Indiana General Assembly with a reception at Indy's upscale Conrad Hotel.

The venue should put to rest any question about who the legislation was intended to benefit.

It reminds me of a 2006 breakfast event at Carmel's Mansion at Oak Hill, where "local lawmakers and community leaders toasted with glasses of champagne and patted themselves on the back to celebrate the passage of Gov. Mitch Daniels' Major Moves road-building plan," according to the Noblesville Ledger. Hamilton County, whose residents probably find few occasions to travel the Indiana Toll Road, was about to collect almost $2 million for road and infrastructure projects.

The party-goers at the Friedman fete are about reap the rewards of the tax-supported voucher program, with little personal investment beyond the political support offered to the governor and his Republican-controlled General Assembly.

Like the motorists paying twice as much to drive the toll road and the state employees displaced by the 75-year lease, the taxpayers who ultimately will bear the burden of the costly voucher program are not the same ones celebrating.

Karen Francisco, editorial page editor for The Journal Gazette, has been an Indiana journalist since 1981. She writes frequently about education for The Journal Gazette opinion pages and here, where she looks at the business, politics and science of learning as it relates to northeast Indiana, the state and the nation. She can be reached at 260-461-8206 or by e-mail at