Indiana School Voucher Program Part Of State's Solution For High Dropout Rates (VIDEO)

11/11/2011 01:36 pm ET | Updated Jan 11, 2012

In May, When Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels signed into law the creation of a voucher program that would allow families to use taxpayer money to send their children to private schools, he -- and Indiana lawmakers -- created the nation's largest school voucher program.

Since the academic year started this fall, and with the inception of the voucher program, nearly 4,000 students have moved to private institutions. And in a reversal, many private students have left for the public system -- reportedly to wait out the year in public school to become eligible for the voucher program.

Still, the program has offered more parents a choice in schools that didn't exist before, when students were zoned to public schools by geographic location of residence. Now, Indiana parents can select from a slew of options in education using public funds, including private religious schools, online schools and charters.

In a piece for PBS Newshour, special correspondent John Tulenko reports that those charter schools must attract public students, and the public dollars that come with them, or face closure. At the same time, the advent of school choice offers renewed promise of boosting low graduation rates.

States have seen differing effectiveness and responses to school choice movements and voucher programs. States like Wisconsin report tremendous success -- driven by powerful financial contributors and successful lobbyers. But in Los Angeles, the school district's school choice program failed to yield academic gains.

Is the school voucher program a competitive method that will work for Indiana? Watch Tulenko's report:

Watch Indiana Crafts Dropout Remedy Through Choice of Schools on PBS. See more from PBS NEWSHOUR.