Arizona’s Governor Drops the Ball on School Choice

“Every child deserves to have an education tailored to meet their needs, and parents deserve the right to make that choice,” stated Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R) last year. A self-professed proponent of school choice, last night she shed that mantle and vetoed legislation that would have provided significant new choices to students in failing schools.

Last year, Arizona was on the forefront of a school choice revolution, thanks in large part to Governor Brewer. The Grand Canyon State created first-in-the-nation Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESA). Through the ESAs, parents of special-needs children who believe their assigned public school isn’t meeting their child’s needs can have 90 percent of the money the public school would have spent deposited into an education savings account. Parents can then use the money to pay for private-school tuition, online learning options, special education services, and a variety of other educational expenses.

ESAs truly empowered parents to tailor their special-needs children’s educational experiences to best meet their specific learning requirements. Moreover, this innovative approach to school choice had education reformers looking west for inspiration in other states. It was one of the highlights of “The Year of School Choice” in 2011.

This year, a proposed expansion of education savings accounts would have provided choice to any child trapped in a school rated as “D” or “F” or any child with a military parent.

Last night, Brewer blocked the door to better options for these students by vetoing the proposed legislation. In a statement about her veto decision, Brewer argued that “we must also ensure that government is not artificially manipulated [sic] the market through state budget or tax policy in a manner that would make an otherwise viable option so unattractive that it undermines rational choice in a competitive market.”

Read More at The Foundry. By Lindsey Burke.

  • USMC-Cop Retired

    Shame on you Jan. Where is the competitive market for those children stuck in a dead end school. How about the school has to compete and raise their ratings above a “D” or “F”. Would it not be a rational choice to allow parents to use the funding allocated to each child or at least a portion thereof to buy the best choice or method. School vouchers have been proven to work. (Something President Obama did away with in D.C. where it was working and needed more funding, not a halt to funding. Keep them young, uninformed and under-educated, they’ll vote for you.) Parents can use the funds for their child to seek out the very best performing teachers and schools for their child. Schools can produce a great faculty by hiring and paying for the top rated teaching resources. The combination works every time to motivate student and teacher alike. The down side is that Teacher’s Unions can’t carry low producing and bad teachers while perpetuating a failing school atmosphere where they brainwash children with Marxist ideology and immoral and anti-American propaganda. Teacher’s Unions and many Colleges have been poisoning the American character well for decades. Vouchers work for hard working innovative achievers not lazy underachievers or “close enough for government work” or “rubber room” teachers.

  • Governor Brewer’s education chief has signaled the voucher initiative may more forward in Arizona after all.

    It’s covered here: