Arizona continues school choice leadership with universal school choice

If/when New Mexico Republicans ever have a chance to actually enact public policy in the State of New Mexico, they will have to look no further than Arizona for a model of what to do.

Already a leader in education choice and accountability Arizona has just enacted Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (also known as education savings accounts or ESAs). Prior to enactment of this legislation about a quarter of elementary and secondary students in Arizona were eligible for an ESA, including students with special needs, students assigned to low-performing district schools, the children of active-duty military personnel, and a few other categories of students. all K-12 students.

Once the new legislation is implemented, ALL Arizona students will be eligible to receive 90% of the state portion of Arizona’s per-pupil funding, including the additional funds for students with special needs in order to find the educational options that make sense for themselves and their families.

The following is a comparison of 4th grade reading scores from the “Nation’s Report Card” (NAEP). As recently as 2007 New Mexico actually outperformed Arizona, but as the State’s reforms have taken hold and New Mexico has stood pat the gap has grown between the two. AZ is now at 216 and NM’s average is 208.

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