Hobbs’ Attack on AZ Families

Governor Katie Hobbs is starting out 2024 with a clear attack on parents and their children. In her first move of the year, Hobbs spelled out just how she intends to toss families out of the popular Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program and undermine parental choice in education by inserting government into the private education system.

Even ahead of her State of the State address, Governor Hobbs released her takeover plan Tuesday to a frenzied news media. Matt Beienburg of Goldwater Institute did a stellar job of tearing apart her false claims, revealing her anti-parent posture. I summarize each of Beienburg’s points below. Read his full analysis here.

1.) Hobbs’ claim to protect students with disabilities by forcing private schools to take special education students gives the false impression they haven’t in the past. In reality, students with disabilities made up the majority of ESA students for more than a decade. Incidentally, Governor Hobbs, privately educated herself, voted againstESAs for students with disabilities in 2011.

2.) Hobbs’ claim to increase student safety by requiring fingerprinting and background checks gives the illusion private schools are not safe. When, in reality, most, if not all, private institutions already require such safety measures.

3.) Hobbs’ threat to hold ESA spending accountable is an effort to make something out of a nothing talking point from anti-parent groups. In reality, every single ESA purchase is already subject to review. Arizona House Speaker Ben Toma points out that public schools are not subject to the type of “accountability” proposed by Hobbs. In addition, every ESA student receives thousands of dollars less than students in public school.

4.) Hobbs’ claim to “prohibit price gouging” by instituting price controls is an attempt to take over private schools based on a non-existent problem. In fact, median private school tuition is about half what it costs to educate a student in public school. Also, Beienburg points out, private school tuition rates have risen more slowly than public school spending increases.

5.) Hobbs’ claim to “raise educational standards” by forcing private schools to hire government approved teachers is another attempt to take control of private education without reason. Scholars have found the government approved teaching requirements do little to improve educational outcomes.

6.) Hobbs’ attempt to reinstate an old requirement that students attend a public school for 100 days before becoming eligible for an ESA is simply an arbitrary obstacle that serves the government, but not the student.

7.) Perhaps the clearest attempt to take control of private education and snatch it from the hands of parents is Hobbs’ plan to expand the authority of the state’s Auditor General. Under the guise of transparency, Hobbs wants the state to oversee what Arizona law has clearly given families and private schools. ESA families forfeit the higher funding associated with public education to provide their children with the education that best suits them. Parents, not government, hold private schools accountable.

Read Goldwater Institute’s assessment for more details of each of their points abbreviated here.

Call your state lawmakers and express your support for private education and the ESA program. Find or reach your legislators here.


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