Before settling into summer, consider the fall. Blink and the kids will be starting a new year of school. Now is the time to make thoughtful, well-informed decisions about what is best for your children or grandchildren.
Gratefully, Arizona provides many options for families to educate children:
- Public district schools, regulated by elected school boards and the state government, allow for open enrollment. This means students can go to a public school outside their district if there is availability. Learn about all options here and here.
- Charter schools are publicly funded but operated independently from school districts. Some of Arizona’s charter schools have consistently ranked first in the state. See all ratings here or here.
- Arizona Online Instruction (AOI) allows students to take public school classes, including charter school classes, online. Learn more here.
- Homeschooling is recognized and supported by a number of Arizona laws, allowing parents greater control over what and how their children learn. Learn more here.
- Private schools, both religious and non-religious, usually require tuition but Arizona law provides a number of financial assistance programs to help families find the best fit for their children. See reviews here and learn about private Christian schools here.
- The Individual Tax Credit program allows Arizona residents to direct part of their state taxes to cover private school tuition for students who apply through a Scholarship Tuition Organization (STO).
- The Individual PLUS Tax Credit allows Arizona residents to receive an additional credit against their personal income tax for donations to an STO.
- The Corporate Tax Credit allows corporations to receive a credit against corporate income tax, and insurance companies may receive a credit against their premium tax for donations to an STO.
- Lexie’s Law is a corporate tax credit benefiting displaced students or students with disabilities.
- Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESA) allow students to move from a public school to a private school or homeschooling program and receive 90% of the state funds allocated for their child. The ESA can be used to pay tuition or other educational expenses. Learn more here.
Currently, only the following are eligible:
- Students with disabilities
- Students in foster care
- Students living on an Indian reservation
- Students in failing or underperforming school districts
- Students with an active-duty military parent or one who was killed in the line of duty
- Students with a parent who is legally blind, deaf, or hard of hearing
- Students with a sibling who is currently or formerly an ESA recipient
Parents are understandably skeptical of what is sometimes taught in public schools. The past couple of years has opened parents’ eyes to a flood of questionable and inappropriate instruction in schools throughout the country.
Parents must always be diligent and curious about curriculum, but Arizona lawmakers have recently passed laws designed to aid parents in that knowledge, and to protect their right to know.
Last year, lawmakers passed CAP-supported HB 2035, which prohibits sex education before 5th grade and requires a parental opt-in for students to participate in sexuality related instruction in any class. It also requires the school to give parents advanced access to the material.
This year, lawmakers passed CAP-supported HB 2161, which ensures parents have access to their children’s educational and medical records, as well surveys prior to being given to students.
There is more to be done, and the legislative session is not yet over, but the first step in taking charge of your children’s education and ensuring you find the best learning environment for your family, is knowing your rights and the educational options available to you.
- Read here why the possible overturning of Roe would not affect other constitutional decisions, such as interracial marriage.
- Read here what to expect from pro-abortion activists if Roe is overturned.
- Read here how a biological male swimmer at the University of Penn says he doesn’t have an advantage over female swimmers with which he competes.
- Read here how doctors confirm biological male athletes have a physical advantage over female athletes.
- CAP’s AZ Voter Guide is now available for preorder. This free resource provides nonpartisan information on Arizona candidates running in the Aug. 2 primary election.
Stay connected and consider receiving additional publications by joining the CAP Network.