Arizona will expand eligibility for the Empowerment Scholarship Account to all K-12 students. This will be a huge victory for school choice and all families who want to take advantage of it.
Arizona Mirror reported that the universal voucher program will give parents $7,000 each to help pay for private school tuition and other expenses. The program will require families to sign up and is expected to benefit around 25,000 students, an increase from the 11,800 who currently use it. Republican Governor Doug Ducey will likely sign the bill into legislation soon.
“This victory is the largest school choice victory in U.S. History,” Corey DeAngelis (National Director of Research at the American Federation for Children), said.
This expansion is possible because Arizona has many low-income communities. It could be a way for parents to provide better opportunities for their children who might otherwise remain in failing public schools. This program can also be helpful for families that are not in financial hardship.
We were told by DeAngelis that the expansion would be the “gold standard” for national education and will likely spark a friendly competition between Republican governors regarding parental rights and educational freedom.
“If Arizona can do that, then other Republican states should also be able to do so in the next session.” He said that it should not be difficult for a party platform to be followed, particularly in states with 80 percent of the legislature.”
The Center Square reported that House Bill 2853 will cost taxpayers more. A 2021 EdChoice study found that each student who takes part in the program will save taxpayers on average $7,500.
Shawnna Bolick (Arizona state representative), voted in favor of the bill.
“We won the supreme for educational freedom when the Arizona legislature approved universal ESAs last Friday. Educational freedom wins! One thing I want to add: Arizona, Governor DeSantis, is the best state for school choice. Not Florida. We believe that parents should decide where their children can go to school.
All Arizona students are eligible to enroll in public schools, even private school students. Students can take part in the ESA to help pay for therapy, tutoring, and private school tuition. This was a huge victory and the best way to end my term as a legislator.”
The expansion is not supported by everyone, who believes that it will harm public schools.
According to 12 News, Democratic state Senator Christine Marsh stated that “We have no financial transparency” and “We have no academic transparency.” “I would like to know how many families earn 30-40k a year and how many are receiving voucher money.”
DeAngelis, however, argues that minimal accountability is a weak argument.
“Underperforming private schools shut down. He said that public schools with poor performance receive more money. Private schools are accountable directly to their families. Families can choose to vote for another private school if they are unhappy with the education they receive.
Arizona leaders are leading the fight for parental rights and education in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic. Alternative schools to the local public school offer children options that can be life-changing. Public schools are worthwhile investments, but those that don’t perform well shouldn’t have money constantly thrown at them. It’s unfair for both taxpayers and families.