(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed the expansion of the Education Savings Account program. The first year program provides students with 90% of the funds that would have gone to their public school into an account with multiple possible uses-including private school tuition, private tutoring, online program and saving for future college/university expenses, among other options.
The bill signed today expands eligibility to children attending D and F rated schools and school districts, the dependents of active duty military personnel and children that have been through the foster care system. The law also moves to a system of formula funding, making it one of the largest private choice laws in the nation with funded eligibility, behind only the new Indiana and Louisiana voucher laws on a percentage basis. The Arizona program now resembles an expanded combination of the Florida McKay and Opportunity Scholarship programs with the 21st Century twist of broadening the options of parents and requiring the consideration of opportunity costs (what you spend now cannot be saved for later).
I want to thank Rep. Debbie Lesko and Senator Rick Murphy for their steadfast and dedcated sponsorship of the bill and our in-state and national allies. Governor Brewer is building an impressive K-12 reform legacy that includes not only expanding parental choice, but also improving public school transparency, curbing social promotion and modernizing the teaching profession. In the not so distant future, we will be able to look at the trends in NAEP scores and identify Governor Brewer’s term and a half as a turning point for the better.
We have many miles to go in Arizona, but we are on our way!