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Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey Poised To Sign Expansive School Choice Bill Into Law

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey Poised To Sign Expansive School Choice Bill Into Law

Failure to teach the basics, adherence to Common Core, and CRT are cited as reasons parents want and will now have school choice.

With public schools becoming untenable for many parents, Arizona’s GOP legislature set to work on a school choice bill that will give parents the opportunity to send their child to the school of their choice. The bill is heading for Republican Arizona governor Doug Ducey’s desk, and he is expected to sign it in the coming days.

The Daily Signal reports:

“This session, let’s expand school choice any way we can,” declared Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey in his State of the State address on Jan. 10, “Let’s think big and find more ways to get kids into the school of their parents’ choice. Send me the bills, and I’ll sign them.”

The Arizona Legislature on Friday night answered Ducey’s call, passing a bill to expand eligibility for the state’s Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (also known as education savings accounts or ESAs) to all K-12 students.

Once signed into law, Arizona will reclaim its title as the state with the “most expansive ESA” policy in the nation.

Empowerment Scholarship Accounts empower families with the freedom and flexibility to customize their child’s education. Arizona families can currently use ESAs to pay for private school tuition, tutoring, textbooks, homeschool curriculums, online courses, educational therapy, and more.

The ESAs are funded with 90% of the state portion of Arizona’s per-pupil funding, including the additional funds for students with special needs.

Rufo has more:

Opponents of the move are outraged that Arizona’s children are no longer to be held hostage to the ideological whims of K-12 teachers and the structures that support their cliff dive into grossly over-stepping their educational mandate with racist “antiracism” training and teaching little children about sex, including homosexual sex, and the unscientific claim that there are more than two genders. They don’t say that’s why they are outraged, of course, but that’s the bottom line.

KAWC reports:

The 16-10 Senate vote came as proponents said parents want more choice for their children. Sen. Vince Leach from SaddleBrooke said schools in his district, which includes parts of Pima and Pinal counties, are “hemorrhaging kids.”

“This is not over one year, this is not over a COVID year,” he told colleagues, but over the past five years.

“They’re leaving because parents are making a decision,” said Leach, as schools spend less time teaching basics and more time on things like Common Core standards “when 2 plus 2 equals anything but 4 and parents can’t help their kids with simple basic math problems.” On top of that. he said, are programs like structured English immersion and what’s been called “critical race theory.”

And the charter schools in his district, Leach said, public schools that are privately owned and operated, are all full.

“What does that tell you about the government schools?” he asked.

The solution that Republicans say HB 2853 offers is to allow each of the 1.1 million students in Arizona public schools to get a voucher they can use to attend a private or parochial school.

But Sen. Martin Quezada, D-Glendale, said there’s a reason for the loss of students.

“We created the crisis,” he said, by not properly funding public schools. “And we are at fault for people wanting to look for other choices.”

And what’s worse, he said, is that the people who have been able to afford the cost of private school already have their kids there.

“Now we’ve just handed them a check for $7,000 for each one of their kids,” said Quezada. Legislative budget staffers figure that the cost of giving vouchers to parents of kids already in those private schools will cost the state about $125 million a year by the 2024-2025 school year, meaning even less money for public schools.

“We are perpetuating the discrimination, we are perpetuating the inequity, we are in fact codifying the segregation of our schools,” Quezada said.

The vote came after Republicans used a procedural maneuver to block any attempt by Democrats to propose amendments, skipping the normally required floor debate and instead allowing only an up-or-down roll call. That denied Sen. Christine Marsh, D-Phoenix, the opportunity to seek votes on some suggestions she said would make the plan to use public funds to send children to private schools a little more acceptable.

For example, she wanted students using those public funds to be tested annually to see if they are making academic progress.

Supporters of vouchers, however, say such public reporting is unnecessary.

Sen. Paul Boyer, R-Glendale, said the nature of providing resources to parents to make education choices necessarily makes them more involved in their child’s education as they have the resources to choose a school.

“Remember: this is for whatever the parent thinks is best for their kid,” he said. “And, for the life of me, I still can’t fathom why anybody would oppose that.”

[Featured image via YouTube]


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Teachers unions will be quite upset. Maybe they can go to town and ‘rage’ and loot and burn things. That seems to be the trend lately.

Abolish government schools.

This is good. It will spread across red states soon hopefully.

You know who supports school choice? Mothers. All mothers.

In one recent election, 90% of black mothers whose children are in charter or school choice programs in Florida vote Republican … Because Democrats would take that away.

Once in place, it will be hard to take
from parents. This is a great issue to run on.

And Cornyn is pushing the opposite at the federal level.

    This is great for parents, the kids and the other citizens in the community. But the politicians that get the “benefits” from vendors to public schools are against it. Sadly, the schools and alternative educational sources that will get the money aren’t organized well enough to pay an equal amount to those politicians.

    The school lawn equipment contract alone is huge to my school board. Oh look, the company with the contract is owned by a board members cousin. 😲

    Having it in one whole state enables demonstration that competition on a wide scale makes a difference. It will be interesting to see how much home schooling increases.

    I believe that opponents are outraged, not because of losing on ideological curriculum issues, but because this holds the potential to eventually break the teachers’ union and its political power and to allow minorities to escape the inner city “plantations”.

      CommoChief in reply to jb4. | June 27, 2022 at 9:47 am

      Exactly this.

      Loss of power, loss of control, loss of influence, loss of money, loss of prestige. They will be exposed as naked frauds as the tide of tax dollars recedes.

      None of which was earned by govt schools but simply given as their due, now they must compete and are outraged because the teacher unions and big ED who destroyed govt schools are not up to the challenge of competition. Unless of course they choose to abandon their ideological framework which they have so far proven unwilling to do.

A school system, devoid of government employees? So much could go right.

OTOH, there are so many freaks operating under the guise of education that no one can be trusted. Parenting is a big job. Break it up into manageable elements but don’t leave it up to strangers.

daniel_ream | June 27, 2022 at 3:14 am

A step in the right direction, but “Frank Lopez’s Ghost” is still correct: it’s not the responsibility of people without children to fund the education of yours. Getting the state (by which I mean the state of Arizona) out of the education business entirely is the better call. At best, I can see an argument for public schooling at the municipal level. People who don’t have children tend not to live in areas with many schools, so public school funding on a ward-by-ward basis is probably the fairest approach.

I do wonder about the exciting new opportunities for graft and subsidy farming this is going to create, but I suppose it’s harder to con the government out of money when you have to do it $7000 and one family at a time rather than laundering it through the average city education budget.

It occurs to me that there’s a potential for some 4-dimensional chess here, too: we know the teacher’s unions and school boards are going to do a full court press to try and delegitimize anything but the public schools, and it would be terribly ironic if a few administrators got noisily fired for using public school resources to engage in prohibited political activity.

    Dolce Far Niente in reply to daniel_ream. | June 27, 2022 at 10:03 am

    I have to disagree with the point that the childless citizens be relieved of the tax burden of education.

    The population in general, including those with no children are massively effected by the results of that education, as is being clearly demonstrated right this minute.

    Progressive indoctrination camps, AKA public schools, have churned out millions of adherents; it is in my best interests as a citizen to have this stopped and education of future citizens returned to at least a neutral 3 Rs approach.

    Overall, of course, the answer to many of the issues that plague us is a much smaller, weaker, poorer government, but at this moment in time, I’ll be happy with a move that will break the stranglehold of public school teachers and administrators.

      daniel_ream in reply to Dolce Far Niente. | June 27, 2022 at 2:12 pm

      Proving once again that soi-disant conservatives are perfectly happy with Big Daddy Government as long it’s giving the free stuff to them.

      Spare me the public good argument. You can make that argument for anything, including gun confiscation, tobacco and alcohol prohibition, HOA laws, and Kelo vs. New London.

      henrybowman in reply to Dolce Far Niente. | June 28, 2022 at 4:03 pm

      Well, we’ve been doing it your way for how many years, and what’s our ROI been? Republic-destroying social catastrophe. Worse, we’re in “men have no say on abortion but they have to pay child support” territory — the childless have no say on education, they just have to pay for it.

      JohnSmith100 in reply to Dolce Far Niente. | June 28, 2022 at 4:40 pm

      I agree that it is in the public interest to fund children’s education, though I think that retirees deserve a break. Also, there is the issue that most public schools suffer from gross arrogance and generally very poor performance.

    henrybowman in reply to daniel_ream. | June 28, 2022 at 4:01 pm

    “Getting the state (by which I mean the state of Arizona) out of the education business entirely is the better call.”

    Gonna be tough, since it’s baked right into the constitution.

The Gentle Grizzly | June 27, 2022 at 7:23 am

Since Jimmuh Kahtuh nationalized the ed biz, do the feds have any power to stop this?

    No, he didn’t. He just created a busybody department, but all it controls are whatever federal subsidies are available, and there aren’t that many of those at the primary and secondary level.

Ann in L.A. | June 27, 2022 at 9:15 am

It’s more about union power, and the money they throw around in politics than it is about anything actually happening inside schools.

Moon Battery | June 27, 2022 at 9:29 am

I’m all for school choice. The better schools will thrive and so will the students.

JackinSilverSpring | June 27, 2022 at 10:25 am

Sen. Quezda is incorrect about the cost to state of this program. That’s because, as students leave public schools for private schools, the public schools should down size to offset all or some of the costs of the program. What he is really saying is that public schools and the attendant public school unions are going to be deprived of a pot of money that would go to fund DemoncRat politicians.