Empowering More Students!

June 7, 2017 by  

ESAs have made a huge difference in students’ lives since 2011 when Empowerment Scholarship Accounts were first introduced in Arizona.  That doesn’t seem to matter to critics, though.  Since SB 1431 opened up the program to more students, claims that it will doom public education tried to drown out the facts.  In addition, they are even working to doom ESAs on the 2018 ballot, which would be a shame  – so please beware of any initiative petitions circulating right now.  Here’s why ESA critics are wrong:

  • IT’S CAPPED.  The number of eligible students is designed to grow about 5,500/year with a maximum capped at about 30,000 total students over the next six years.
  • LOW INCOME FAMILIES CAN BENEFIT MOST under the newly structured program.  Check out facts!  Click here.  Also, did you know…
  • ABOUT 1/4 OF ARIZONA’S 1.1 million CHILDREN ARE ALREADY ELIGIBLE for an ESA (before SB 1431) – that’s a lot of students – yet only 3,100 of these students are enrolled in the ESA program.  Students with disabilities, students from failing schools, foster and adopted kids, active duty military and children living on tribal lands are currently eligible for an ESA.  This begs the question…
  • WHY NO MASS EXODUS from district schools?  Could it be that most of these eligible students are satisfied with the school they’re already attending?  Yet ESAs are a saving grace for students for whom traditional schools are not working.  That’s a win-win for everybody!  Check out Anita Belcher’s story.
  • PROGRAM ACCOUNTABILITY.  Every receipt must be turned in;  Accounts will be managed by a private financial firm;  Parents may not use the School Tuition Tax Credit program AND an ESA together;  Eligible students, including homeschool students – must transfer from a public school to qualify.
  • PUBLIC SCHOOLS WILL CONTINUE TO GROW – because Arizona is growing.  Of the 3,143 counties in America, Maricopa County is growing the fastest (200 people move to Phoenix every day, not to mention the rest of the state), which means enrollment in Arizona’s public schools is estimated to be far greater than the number of children who will leave public schools for ESAs.  Arizona will need all education options to satisfy tomorrow’s students and their needs.
  • ONLY AFFLUENT FAMILIES USE ESAs?  Because someone lives within the boundaries of the Scottsdale School District or a school is A-rated doesn’t mean it’s an environment that works for their child.  Neither does it make them rich.  Here’s one mom’s story: Meet Anita Belcher.
  • SAVES THE STATE MONEY.  Check out the facts.

Students have different education needs.  Why shouldn’t all students have the same opportunity to thrive in the education setting that best meets them?

See Goldwater Institute on how Arizona is leading the nation in education choice.  Jeb Bush on Arizona’s ESA opportunity.  Check out Heartland’s coverage of Arizona’s progress.



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