Reports of the economic death of Arizona due to universal ESAs have been greatly exaggerated. Arizona’s budget surged by $750 million so far this year, even as the number of students using Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESA) more than quadrupled.
CAP allies at Goldwater Institute break down the numbers here, showing the amazing success of educational freedom and a huge budget surplus far above original projections. This, in the midst of a strong anti-school choice campaign by activists, Democrat lawmakers, and Governor Katie Hobbs.
The number of Arizona students using an ESA jumped from 12,000 to almost 52,000 after Arizona lawmakers, led by bill sponsor Rep. Ben Toma, opened the program to all Arizona families last year. Nearly 40,000 more students use ESAs to attend the educational environment that best suits them and their families.
Kelli Oppong’s 12-year-old son, Khristian, is among them. Khristian struggled in classrooms with more than 30 students. Overstimulated and lacking in one-on-one attention, Khristian fought to keep even a passing grade.
When Kelli learned about the ESA program, it opened up opportunities she had not even considered. Now, she is able to work from home and homeschool Khristian through his 7th grade year. The scholarship covers the curriculum expenses and allows her to give her son the one-on-one attention and quieter environment he needs to thrive. As a former educator, Kelli is a firm believer that one size does not fit all when it comes to education, “When I think of education, I think of individual kids. What does the student need? It’s about what is best for them. That’s what matters.”
Kelli says her son’s academic success through homeschooling doesn’t squelch Khristian’s innate need to socialize and play sports. Co-ops, including physical education co-ops, give him crucial exercise and socialization. Kelli says the ESA was critical to Khristian’s success this year, “We would not be able to provide the quality we are able to provide, without the ESA.”
Still, those opposed to educational freedom continue to propagate false claims in an effort to kick families out of the ESA program.
Save our Schools activists and some elected officials predicted universal ESAs would bankrupt the state. But the state’s surplus stands at about $2.5 billion, and the cost of ESAs amounts to only about 2% of the $15 billion the state spends on public schools.
We have created an easy-to-use information page here to answer some of your questions. Keep in mind that ESAs provide about $7,000 a year per student to pay for private school tuition, homeschooling curricula, or other educational needs.
Boys Sue to Play on AZ Girls’ Teams
Transgender activists ramp up their fight to allow boys to compete on girls’ sports teams in violation of Title IX. They filed suit this week in Tucson on behalf of two teen boys who identify as girls, arguing Arizona’s CAP-supported Save Women’s Sports law violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.
The law requiring only girls play on girls’ sports teams went into effect last September. Arizona’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Horne, argued the charges are “backwards,” and cited the reason for Title IX was to ensure girls and women had equal opportunities for playing sports.
Meantime, the Biden Administration is pushing a federal rule that would outlaw state legislation like the Save Women’s Sports law. As the process of that proposed rule continues, Arizona remains one of a 20-state coalition that filed a lawsuit against President Biden’s 2021 Title IX guidance document that would also outlaw state laws protecting girls’ and women’s sports.
It is expected Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes will remove Arizona from that lawsuit, but that wouldn’t be the end of the issue. Those who support a fair playing field for girls and Title IX protections have more legal options. We will keep you posted as developments unfold.
The U.S. House is expected to vote soon on a bill designed to protect girls’ and women’s sports from being taken over by boys and men. During the House Education and Workforce Committee vote, all 25 Republicans voted in favor and all 17 Democrats opposed the bill. If passed by the full House, it won’t likely get a vote in the Senate.
Update: Abortion Pill on Trial
The U.S. Supreme Court is expected today to weigh in on a lawsuit challenging the FDA’s illegal approval of the abortion pill Mifepristone. A lower court ruling reinstated the safety precautions originally placed on the drug by the FDA; the same regulations it later arbitrarily dropped. The Court last week stayed the ruling to consider the matter, then extended the stay until today. We will update you with the latest developments.
- Read here how the United Nations is calling for the decriminalization of sex between adults and minor children.
- Read here how top medical schools want woke students over academic excellence.
- Read or listen here about why true love requires true language.
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