Education Freedom Wins Big in Arizona – Reason

by | Oct 12, 2022 | Education

Arizona came closer to the important goal of separating education and state with the defeat of a ballot challenge to a recently adopted school-choice law. In June, the state legislature voted to allow education funding to be used for whatever learning path best suits individual children, not just to support government-run institutions that fail to meet the needs of many students. Opponents pushed an initiative to block expanded education options, but ultimately fell short in their effort to gather signatures. That leaves the instantly popular program free to proceed.
Arizona first introduced Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESAs) in 2011, originally only for children with special needs, and later expanded to encompass students in failing schools, children of military families, and those who are adopted. The new law makes the ESA program available to essentially all students in the state of Arizona, providing funding for the education of their choice, subject to broad requirements.
“An ESA consists of 90% of the state funding that would have otherwise been allocated to the school district or charter school for the qualified student (does not include federal or local funding),” notes the Arizona Department of Education. “By accepting an ESA, the student’s parent or guardian is signing a contract agreeing to provide an education that includes at least the following subjects: reading, grammar, mathematics, social studies and science.”
At current spending levels, “families would receive over $6,500 per year per child for private school, homeschooling, ‘learning pods,’ tutoring, or any other kinds of educational service that would best fit their students’ needs,” adds the Goldwater Institute, which has long championed ESAs.
Once made availabl …

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