Will Katie Hobbs Take Down Arizona’s Expanded School Choice Program?
Arizona’s newly sworn-in governor has repeatedly said that she wants to reverse the state’s expansion of its school-choice program, arguing that Arizona should instead increase funding to public schools. But the program seems safe for now.
In July, Arizona expanded its Education Savings Account (ESA) system, creating the largest school choice program in the nation. Any child who opts out of public school will receive around $7,000 per year to use toward private-school tuition, a homeschooling curriculum, tutoring, or other expenses. Previously, this funding had been available only for students who met certain requirements, such as having a disability, attending a low-performing school, or living on an Indian reservation.
“This is a monumental moment for all of Arizona’s students. Our kids will no longer be locked in under-performing schools,” then-Gov. Doug Ducey tweeted after he signed the plan into law. “Arizona is cemented as the top state for school choice and as the first state in the nation to offer all families the option to choose the school setting that works best for them.”
Hobbs doesn’t have the same warm feelings. “This voucher system we are under now doesn’t provide real choice in educational opportunity for most families,” Hobbs claimed in an October PBS interview. “It diverts resources from public schools.” In her recent State of the State address, she even argued that ESAs “will likely bankrupt the state.”
In fact, the Common Sense I
Article from Reason.com