MYTHS VS
TRUTHS

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!

TRUTH: AZ TAX DOLLARS BELONG TO THE STUDENT, SO THE MONEY SHOULD FOLLOW THE CHILD.

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!

TRUTH: AZ PARENTS HOLD SCHOOLS ACCOUNTABLE BECAUSE THEY HAVE THIER CHILD'S BEST INTEREST IN MIND.

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!

TRUTH: A CHILD GETS ONE SHOT AT THEIR FUTURE, SO THEY SHOULD RECEIVE THE BEST EDUCATION THAT FITS THEIR NEEDS.

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!

TRUTH: 75% of AZ VOTERS AND 78% MINORITIES SUPPORT SCHOOL CHOICE.

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”.

TRUTH: EDUCATION IS NOT A ONE SIZE FITS ALL.

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.

TRUTH: AZ SCHOOL FUNDING IS AT A RECORD HIGH, SO MONEY IS A NON-ISSUE.

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!

TRUTH: UNIVERSAL ESA GIVES PLENTY OF FUNDING FOR ALL STUDENTS.

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!

TRUTH: ESA MEANS MORE MONEY WITH LESS STUDENTS FOR THE SCHOOLS, A WIN-WIN.

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

American Federation for Children Wisconsin School Choice

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.
American Federation for Children Washington D.C. School Choice

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.
American Federation for Children Florida School Choice

Florida Corporate Tax Credit Scholarship Program

Increased 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.
American Federation for Children New York School Choice

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.

RESEARCH STUDIES

School choice impacts college enrollment and graduation:

“A study from the Urban Institute released in February 2019 shows better outcomes for students in Florida who attend private K-12 schools thanks to the state’s school choice program. The Florida Tax Credit Scholarship program serves 100,000 students with an average family income of $24,000 per year, and 68 percent of the students are African American or Hispanic. The Urban Institute study shows that students attending private schools via the scholarships are up to 99 percent more likely to enroll in four-year colleges and are up to 56 percent more likely to earn bachelor’s degrees compared to their similarly matched public school peers.”

On Milwaukee’s voucher program effects on crime and teen pregnancy:

Students who utilized the voucher school in 8th or 9th grade: 53% fewer drug convictions 86% fewer property damage convictions 38% fewer paternity suits *Effects on crime were largest for male and lower-achieving students – Criminal records have a profoundly negative effect on subsequent employment opportunities – Particularly for young Black men who face job market discrimination
American Federation for Children Arizona

SPEAK TO AN ADVOCATE

Gaby AFC Arizona School Choice

GABY ASCENCIO
Community Outreach Manager

Esly AFC Arizona School Choice

ESLY MONTENEGRO
Arizona Implementation Director

American Federation for Children Arizona

Thank you for your interest in the AZ Universal ESA & School Choice! Please provide your email to receive a direct ESA application link in your inbox so one of our education advocates can reach out to you with support.