According to a July 7 press release, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed the country’s most comprehensive school choice program with his signature on a bill that opens up children’s eligibility for government-funded scholarships.
HB 2853, which has already passed both chambers of the Arizona legislature and awaits final approval, enables all Arizona students in grades K-12 to collect taxpayer-funded vouchers if they want to leave or are currently outside of the public school system. According to The Associated Press, under the bill, more than 1.1 million Arizona pupils in charter and public schools are eligible to apply for funds to transfer institutions; previously, only a fraction of the students were allowed
The Associated Press reported that more than 100,000 children in private education or being homeschooled are now eligible for yearly vouchers worth $7,000 per student.
“This is a historic day for all of Arizona’s students. Our children will no longer be marginalized in underperforming schools. Today, we’re opening up a whole new world of opportunities for them and their parents,” Ducey added in the news release. “Arizona establishes itself as the best state for education choice and as the first to provide every family with the option of selecting the school environment that works best for them through this legislation.”
On Wednesday, the anti-school choice group Save Our Schools launched #StopVoucherExpansion, a campaign to repeal the new legislation.
This victory is the greatest educational freedom win in United States history, according to American Federation for Children National Director of Research Corey DeAngelis. “Arizona just cemented itself as the number one state for educational freedom,” he said shortly after the legislation was signed. Every family, regardless of income, will be able to take their kid’s taxpayer-funded education vouchers to the education providers of their choosing thanks to this move.”
The group Save Our Schools is aiming to collect more than 118,000 names by September 25, 2022, in order to cease the voucher program. If they get enough signatures, the voucher program will be put to a public vote.
The request for comment was not immediately answered by Governor Doug Ducey and Save Our Schools Arizona.