Arizona is poised to expand its Empowerment Scholarship Account eligibility to all K-12 students in the state, which will deliver a massive victory for school choice to all families who wish to take advantage.
This universal voucher program will provide parents an average of $7,000 to go toward private school tuition or other educational expenses, Arizona Mirror reported. Families will have to opt-in to the program, which is expected to have around 25,000 students participating, a significant increase from the 11,800 that currently use it, the outlet added. Republican Governor. Doug Ducey will likely sign the bill soon.
” This victory is the largest school choice victory U.S. History,” Corey DeAngelis (National Director of Research, American Federation for Children) said.
As Arizona is home to many low-income neighborhoods, such as in Phoenix or Tuscon this expansion may help families provide better opportunities for their children who might be trapped in failing schools. This program can also be helpful for families that are not facing economic hardship.
DeAngelis stated to RedState the expansion would be the “gold-standard” for national education and that it will create a friendly competition between Republican governors in the area of parental rights and educational freedom.
” If Arizona is able to achieve this, then other Republican states will be able. It should not be difficult to follow your party platform, especially in states where you have 80 percent of the legislature,” he added.
For those who think that House Bill 2853 would cost taxpayers more money, a 2021 EdChoice study determined that the program will save taxpayers an average of $7,500 for each student that takes part, The Center Square reported.
Arizona State Rep. Shawnna Bolick voted in favor of the bill. She had this to add:
” Last Friday, both the Arizona legislature chambers passed universal ESAs. Education freedom is a win! One thing I want to add: Arizona, Governor DeSantis is not Florida’s best choice for school choices. Our belief is that parents should decide which school their child can attend.
“All Arizona residents who are eligible can enroll in public schools, private and home schooled students, and all other students in Arizona. Students can take part in the ESA to help pay tuition, therapy and tutoring. A huge win and the best way to wrap up my tenure as a legislator.”
As expected, not all are supportive of the expansion. They believe that it will hurt public schools.
“We have no financial transparency and we have no academic transparency,” Democratic state Sen. Christine Marsh said, according to 12 News. “I’d like to know how many families that earn maybe a million dollars a year are getting voucher money versus how many families earning maybe 30 or 40,000 a year are getting 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 funding. Private schools have direct accountability to their families. Families can choose to vote with their feet to move their child’s education dollars elsewhere .”
if they are unhappy with the private school they have chosen
In the aftermath of the coronavirus epidemic, parental rights and education are becoming a more important political issue. Arizona leaders have been at the forefront of this battle. Alternate schools to the local school offer children other options. This could make a difference in their lives if they have access to a better education elsewhere. Public schools can be a great investment, but it is unfair for taxpayers and families to keep giving money away to them when they are not performing well.