Karen Francisco, editorial page editor of the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, is a great defender of democracy, honesty, and public schools. She is a keen observer of the school choice hustle in Indiana, where grifters and entrepreneurs are welcome to rip off the public. Thanks, Former Governor’s Mitch Daniels and Mike Pence, and compliant legislators.

In this editorial, she explains how charter schools and voucher schools evade accountability. One neat gimmick is to change the name of a failing choice School, and the clock gets reset. Presto, Change-O.

She begins:

When Horizon Christian Academy produced some of the lowest standardized test scores in the state in 2015, a spokeswoman for the Institute for Quality Education defended the Fort Wayne school’s poor performance by claiming accountability for Indiana voucher schools is greater than for public schools.

“Traditional public schools as well as public charter schools can receive an F for four consecutive years before the state can intervene,” Erin Sweitzer told The Journal Gazette. “Private voucher schools, however, are required to stop accepting new voucher students after two consecutive years of receiving a D or F.”

What Sweitzer and other voucher proponents don’t acknowledge is the accountability loophole that allows charter and voucher school operators to walk away from a failing school and open shop under a different name – with barely an interruption in the generous flow of state tax dollars. After a D grade in 2015-16, Horizon Christian Academy went on to receive an F for each of the next two academic years. The state prohibited the school from accepting new voucher students last year, but paid $880,000 in vouchers for returning students. That’s on top of the $11.4 million Horizon’s three schools have collected since the taxpayer-funded voucher program began in 2011.

Now, the school’s co-founder has left Horizon and is preparing to open a new faith-based school, Abraham Preparatory Academy.

Tammy G. Henline told The Journal Gazette’s Ashley Sloboda that the school, at Statewood Baptist Church, is planning a “large, public registration soon.” WFFT-TV reported the school will “rely heavily on a virtual curriculum” and is seeking state accreditation, which would make it eligible to receive vouchers.

If the Indiana State Board of Education approves accreditation, it will deliver Exhibit A in the accountability charade supported by voucher proponents.

In the name of parent choice, they ignore policies that allowed the failing Imagine public charter school to reopen as Horizon Christian Academy and for unlicensed educators to earn six-figure salaries overseeing D- and F-rated schools.

Apparently the voters in Indiana don’t care about how taxpayer dollars are wasted.