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Student Examines Indiana Voucher System for Washington Post

Amanda McLaren

Amanda McLaren

American University student Mandy McLaren is earning bylines at the Washington Post alongside the pros as part of her School of Communication Dean’s Internship. McLaren is currently pursuing a master's degree in investigative journalism. In addition to her internship with the national education team at the Post, she also is a graduate reporter and researcher at SOC’s Investigative Reporting Workshop.

Her recent story, co-written with Post reporter Emma Brown, How Indiana’s School Voucher Program Soared provides insight into what education policy under President Trump could look like. “Trump has signaled that he intends to pour billions of federal dollars into efforts to expand vouchers and charter schools nationwide. Betsy DeVos, his nominee for education secretary, played an important role in lobbying for the establishment of Indiana’s voucher program in 2011. And Vice President-elect Mike Pence led the charge as the state’s governor to loosen eligibility requirements and greatly expand the program’s reach.”

McLaren also contributed a sidebar to the piece, For Indiana’s Special Ed Students, Choice Comes with a Cost, which looks at how educational needs may or may not be met by schools accepting voucher money, and the lack of oversight and accountability for private schools in the area of special education.

With previous experience as an educator and an administrator in New Orleans public schools, McLaren is deeply interested in reporting on issues affecting students and families.  

Learn more about the MA in Journalism and Public Affairs at American University School of Communication.