The Arizona legislature recently passed legislation that expands eligibility for the state’s Empowerment Scholarship Accounts to all of the 1.1 million K-12 students in the state. Governor Doug Ducey intends to sign the bill, saying that, “Arizona has already been the leading state in the nation on school choice. This establishes Arizona as the gold standard of educational freedom and puts the power to parents to establish their child’s education.”
These accounts, which are also known as education savings accounts (ESAs), empower parents by allowing them to access 90% of the state education funding allocated to their children. Families use ESAs to pay for private school tuition, textbooks, tutoring, homeschool expenses, online courses, and educational therapies.
Arizona began offering Empowerment Scholarship Accounts in 2011, and eligibility was originally limited to students with special needs. Over time, the program size and eligibility criteria have expanded. This year’s expansion creates a universal ESA, the first in the nation. By expanding the existing ESA program’s eligibility so that all students are now eligible, Arizona is ensuring that parents have the flexibility they need to tailor their children’s education to meet their unique needs.
Parents deserve more leverage and control over their children’s education. Offering education savings accounts to all families empowers parents to direct what, how and where their children will learn. Parents and students who have been poorly served by the assigned government schools now have the freedom and control to find innovative and responsive education options for their children.
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey is a powerful voice for school choice, and his leadership helped paved the way for this historic education freedom expansion. He encouraged state legislators in his State of the State Address earlier this year to “think big and find more ways to get kids into the school of their parents’ choice.”
We applaud Governor Ducey’s and Arizona state legislators’ commitment to education freedom, and hope additional states will follow their example.
IWV launched a Kids First campaign for parents to share their stories on why they support education freedom. Submit your story HERE.