Thursday, February 25, 2016
The Arizona Senate approved a bill Monday that would open the state’s school voucher program to every Arizona child. If Senate Bill 1279 becomes law, all of the state’s 1.1 million students would be eligible for publicly-funded grants to attend private school by 2020. Arizona’s voucher program, called the Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA), was created in 2011 to help children with disabilities attend schools that offered targeted services. The ESA program has been expanded through the years to include children of active-duty military members, children in foster care, certain kindergartners, children attending public schools that received a D or an F rating from the state, and to Native American students who live on reservations. Editors at the Arizona Republic newspaper write that if the bill becomes law, it would strip more money from the Arizona public education system that has already “endured some of the nation’s deepest cuts to public education.” The editorial is on the proposed expansion of the state’s voucher program is here.