Governor Doug Ducey signs AZ Empowerment Scholarship Account expansion

(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed the expansion of the ESA program into law, becoming the first Governor to deliver on a sizable expansion of parental choice during the 2017 legislative sessions. The torch has been passed to a new generation of governors.

The other states are invited to hop on in-the water is fine!

13 Responses to Governor Doug Ducey signs AZ Empowerment Scholarship Account expansion

  1. Mike Norton says:

    $5,500 for a General Education middle class English speaking kid with no other issues becomes the base tuition, doubled by H.B. 601 if the King/Franks bill passes.

    Overnight the single highest funded school in the State of Arizona will be ANY PRIVATE school. Expect the Charters to morph in to Privates immediately. Expect them to launch a massive expansion program. Expect some Public Schools to stand up, walk down the block, and turn themselves in to Privates over a summer.

    Public schools will remain only for those who can’t find a seat as the public schools die and the privates can’t open fast enough.

    John Kavanagh will spend the decade sneering from his Fountain Hills deck looking down on the smoke and ruins he left in his wake and laughing maniacally at us for thinking he could be stopped.

    2,200 votes in 2014 and this would not have happened. Jeff Schwarz would have been LD 23’s Senator.

    • matthewladner says:


      The JLBC shows that districts received $9,250 per pupil from all taxpayers sources, and that charters received $8,054 in total. Both of those sums are considerably higher than a non-weighted student will receive from an ESA.

      Click to access districtvscharterfunding.pdf

      • Michael J. Norton says:

        I promise you Yarborough will open a consulting business helping every mommy and daddy find a way to leverage all their little poopsky’s issues up to $7,500 or so.

        And we double that money with H.B. 610’s matching Fed Grants. Private Schools will dominate Arizona the day H.B. 610 passes.

        Public Schools will vanish fast. Charters will convert to Privates. It will all be over in 5 years if the King/Franks bill gets through Congress.

      • Greg Forster says:

        So you don’t dispute that public schools are going to be better funded than private schools, but you still think parents will choose private schools so overwhelmingly that you think “public schools will vanish fast”? Wow, you must think Arizona public schools really suck.

        Me, I accept the large body of empirical research that shows public schools improve in response to school choice programs, implying choice strengthens rather than weakens public schools.

      • Michael J. Norton says:

        No. I am positive Private Schools will get at least 11,000 per voucher student. Add H.B. 610

      • matthewladner says:


        I wouldn’t hold your breathe on HB 610. All such measures have routinely failed by wide margins in the past, and I don’t see anything remotely resembling a consensus in favor of them now.

  2. Will schools with students who get and use a ESA have to use the current AZ standards in math, ELA, and science, and the tests based on them for these students?

    • matthewladner says:

      No- schools will continue to set their own curricula etc. Schools taking over 50 ESA students must report NNR scores like an ITBS or Stanford 10 etc.

      • Mike Norton says:

        Normally your advice would be spot on, Matthew, but there is all sorts of new craziness in D.C. and all sorts of fanatics popping up to push through legislation that would just be left in the “you got to be kidding me” folder at the Committee level. If this bill comes out of Committee it could pass in #45’s Congress.

      • matthewladner says:

        I have seen stranger things happen, but do take note of what transpired when Ryan and Trump tried to push through an Obamacare bill without a consensus…

      • Curriculum is not identical to standards/tests. How soon will “Accountability” for voucher money end up requiring use of a CC-aligned test addressing CC-based standards?

      • Greg Forster says:

        Current trends point to “never.”

      • matthewladner says:

        I agree with Greg- the bad guys forfeit the “make everyone take the same test!!!” argument when we allow public schools to take tests that are different from each other.

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