LEARN THE TRUTH ABOUT THE UNIVERSAL ARIZONA EMPOWERMENT SCHOLARSHIP ACCOUNT (ESA) PROGRAM
MYTH: “PUBLIC” TAX DOLLAR USE
“Public” tax dollars cannot go to private schools!
Per the Arizona Republic, currently half of all Arizona public school districts today are sending public school students to private schools because the public school could not provide adequate service. Education dollars belong to the student so the money should follow the child. They should be able to use it towards the education model that best fits their needs. We should fund students NOT school systems!
MYTH: NO ACCOUNTABILITY
There is no accountability for private schools like there are in district public schools!
Parents are the ultimate accountability measure as they will hold the school accountable because they have their child’s best interest in mind. Private schools in Arizona have significant accountability measures which is why they are so popular amongst parents.
MYTH: DECIMATE PUBLIC SCHOOLS
You’re going to decimate our public schools by letting hundreds of thousands of new kids qualify, tripling or quadrupling the number of students who are eligible!
A child should not be forced to attend a government public school that is not working for them just to keep the status quo in place. Children only get one shot at their future so they should be able to receive the best education that fits their individual needs. Currently, approximately 47,000 students are in the Universal ESA program which is a small fraction of the 1.1 million K-12 students in Arizona.
MYTH: VOTERS SAID NO
Voters overwhelmingly voted down a large-scale Universal ESA expansion once already, we should respect the will of the voters and not allow any Universal ESA expansions!
The previous initiative was voted down because it limited the Universal ESA program and it did not go far enough to support education freedom. This is validated by the fact that 75% of Arizona voters support school choice programs including 78% of minorities.
MYTH: SCHOOLS ARE FINE
My schools are fine, and so are the majority of district public schools, so school choice isn’t really needed”.
Just because something works for one family, does not mean it works for all families. Education is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’. Children learn differently and their needs may change so they need all education options available. Over 20 years ago, the same opponents to school choice opposed open enrollment and charter schools, but today they embrace them.
MYTH: MORE FUNDING
Funding is the problem. If only district public schools had more money, they could be fixed and families would not have to leave.
Currently K-12 funding is at record high in Arizona. Per pupil funding for government district schools is at approximately $14,500. Universal ESA funded students receive half of that amount at only about $7,000 per year.
MYTH: COST TOO HIGH
The cost of private school is too high for many families, so even if they had an Universal ESA they could not afford to pay the balance or afford transportation to the new school!
About half of all private schools’ tuition is at or below the current Universal ESA amount of $7,000 and families can also use Universal ESA funds to pay for transportation costs. Additionally, this is not a public vs. private school debate since parents use ESA’s for other educational options including home-based learning, online curriculum, tutoring programs, and more!
MYTH: SCHOOL LOSES ALL MONEY
If a child leaves a public school district the school will lose all of that child’s education funding!
If a student chooses to use an Universal ESA and leaves their public school district, a significant portion of their education dollars still remain in that district. This means the school district would have received more funding but now would have one less student to educate which will help lower class sizes. Remember, Universal ESA students receive half the funding of what district students receive. This is an overall savings to the education system.
RESEARCH SHOWS FAVORABLE IMPACT OF
PRIVATE SCHOOL CHOICE
The case for school choice is overwhelming. Despite a handful of self-selected negative data points by some in the media, the vast majority of credible evidence shows that school choice programs improve academic outcomes for not only the program participants but also the students in public schools; save taxpayers money; and reduce racial segregation.
17 empirical studies examined academic outcomes for students participating in private school choice using random assignment, the “gold standard” of defensible social science:
- 11 found improved test scores for school choice participants
- 4 found no significant effect for school choice participants
- 2 found negative impact in the first year of study for school choice participants
21 studies examined school choice and how it impacts academic outcomes in public schools:
- 20 found that school choice improved public school academic outcomes
- 1 found no significant effect on academic outcomes from school choice
28 studies examined the financial impact for the taxpayers and public schools:
- 25 found that school choice programs save taxpayers money
- 3 found that school choice programs are revenue neutral
- None found that school choice programs have a negative fiscal impact
10 studies examined the impact of school choice on racial segregation:
- 9 found that school choice programs move students into less segregated schools
- 1 found that school choice programs have no net effect on racial segregation
- None found that school choice programs increase racial segregation
TOP SCHOOL CHOICE RESEARCH
Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP)Higher Graduation Rates: MPCP students had higher on- time graduation rates—76%—than students in Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS)—69%. MPCP students are more likely to enroll as well as persist in a 4-year college than MPS peers. Increased Academic Achievement: MPCP students have higher achievement growth in reading and similar growth in math over four years. Reduced Crime: MPCP students had decreased rates of subsequent criminal activity, especially among males.
Washington, D.C., Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP)Higher Graduation Rates: OSP students graduated at a rate of 91%, a 21-point increase from those who didn’t receive scholarships. OSP graduation rate is more than 30% higher than D.C. Public Schools. Increased Academic Achievement: OSP boosted reading scores by 3.7 months of learning over 3 years.
Florida Corporate Tax Credit Scholarship ProgramIncreased Academic Achievement: Annual evaluations show scholarship recipients—mostly low income, minority students—perform just as well or better than students of all incomes and races nationally. Improved Public School Performance: Standardized test scores improved in public schools most likely to lose students to private schools.
New York City School Choice Scholarships Foundation Program
Higher College Enrollment Rates: African American students who participated in the New York City program were 6% more likely to enroll in college and were 5% more likely to obtain a college degree. Additionally, the study found a 5% increase in college enrollment and a 3% increase for B.A. attainment for children of mothers born in the United States.