Arizona passes sweeping school choice changes

, Spencer Irvine, Leave a comment

School choice is a growing trend among red states, and one of the leading pro-school choice states is the Grand Canyon State of Arizona. Its Republican governor, Doug Ducey, signed into law a significant advancement of school choice in which free-market competition could dislodge entrenched public school interests.

Ducey’s office announced that the governor “signed the most expansive school choice legislation in the nation into law, ensuring kids and families in every corner of Arizona can access the education that best fits their needs.” Ducey, who is in his last term of governor due to term limits, said, “This is a monumental moment for all of Arizona’s students.”

The former Coldstone Creamery CEO-turned-governor added, “Our kids will no longer be locked in under-performing schools. Today, we’re unlocking a whole new world of opportunity for them and their parents.”

The law says that all 1.1 million Arizona K-12 students are eligible for scholarship funds to choose the school that would be the best fit for them, which funds are called the Empowerment Scholarship Account. The education savings account, as it is called, allows Arizona families at least $6,500 per year per child for private school, homeschooling, tutoring, or other educational programs that serve the child’s educational needs.

Meaning, Arizona parents can use the education savings account dollars to pay for their child’s education, based on their child’s needs. Parents may not have to rely on public school bureaucracies to get the education that their child needs because they have the financial ability to do so, due to the school choice law.

Also, due to the confusing nature of government bureaucracy, the governor’s office said that there will be improvements to make the process “more user-friendly for parents.”

The bill, House Bill 2853, was sponsored by Republican state Rep. Ben Toma. The bill passed in the state house by a 31-26 vote and in the state senate by a 16-10 vote, mostly along party lines.