UPDATE: Arizona Passes School Choice Bill, Setting New Standard For Education Choice For 1 Million Students
Arizona set a new standard for education this past week, passing a bill that allows families to pick the school of their choice, and the State will help fund that choice.
The legislation includes an empowerment scholarship account eligibility to every Arizona family.
Under HB2853, every family in Arizona is now eligible for the State’s 2011 Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program. The program was initially designed for disabled, military, or failing students.
Under the program, all of the State’s families qualify for $6,500 in tuition annually per child for private or home schools or learning pods. The move puts the choice of decision back in the hands of parents, allowing them to make decisions they believe are best for their children.
“This legislation is the most robust expansion of educational freedom in the nation,” Matt Beienburg, director of education policy of Goldwater Institute, told the Washington Free Beacon.
“It guarantees every Arizona student, whether they are coming from public school, private school, or homeschooling, the opportunity to join the ESA program and receive their share of state funding to pursue any educational opportunity that best needs their needs,” he said.
Goldwater said many families make financial sacrifices annually, shouldering private school tuition costs or homeschool supplies. Yet, those same families have access to enroll their children in public schools, costing taxpayers over $10,000 per year.
Arizona lawmakers decided to make those funds available to all of the State’s families regardless of school choice.
Earlier this year, Governor Doug Ducey challenged the lawmakers in his State of the State address to “think big” regarding their children’s education.
“This session, let’s expand school choice any way we can,” Ducey said. “Send me the bills, and I’ll sign them.”
On Wednesday, he tweeted, “In Arizona, we trust parents to make the best decisions for their children’s education.”
In Arizona, we trust parents to make the best decisions for their children’s education. https://t.co/PqLWkl9sBL
— Doug Ducey (@DougDucey) June 29, 2022
In an interview on Sunday with Fox News, Corey DeAngelis of the American Federation for Children called the bill “the biggest victory when it comes to school choice in U.S. history.”
“Arizona is now the gold standard for school choice, and they’ve now cemented themselves as the number one state for education freedom and supporting parental rights and education,” DeAngelis said. “This is the way every state should do, and they should follow Governor Ducey’s lead.”
DeAngelis added Republicans across the nation claim they are the party of parents, but Arizona Republicans “proved it.”