Tag: Arizona School Voucher

Proposition 305: Should Arizona expand state’s school voucher program? See related news here

| November 1, 2018
Proposition 305: Should Arizona expand state’s school voucher program? See related news here

Proposition 305 asks voters to decide the future of school vouchers – whether they want to keep or repeal a major expansion of the program.

Gov. Doug Ducey in April 2017 signed a bill to expand the Empowerment Scholarship Account program, but a group of parents, educators and advocates organized to put the issue before voters in the Nov. 6 election.

The ESA program allows parents and guardians to apply for vouchers that essentially use tax dollars to pay for private school tuition.

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Arizona ACT scores dip, state ranks near bottom. See more statewide education news here

| October 17, 2018
Arizona ACT scores dip, state ranks near bottom. See more statewide education news here

Arizona high school students graduating in 2018 placed 45th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia in performance on the ACT college-entrance exam. 

The average score of the roughly 45,000 students who took the exam (about 66 percent of the 2018 graduating class) was 19.2 out of 36. The national average was some one-and-a-half points higher, at 20.8.

Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire posted the highest scores, all over 25 points.

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Judge rejects effort to block vote on Arizona school voucher law. See related stories here

| January 31, 2018
Judge rejects effort to block vote on Arizona school voucher law. See related stories here

A lawsuit seeking to invalidate a voter referendum that is blocking Arizona’s massive new school voucher program was thrown out by a Maricopa County Superior Court judge who said voucher backers have no right to sue, according to a ruling made public (Jan. 30).

Margaret Mahoney’s order is a major victory for the grassroots group of parents and teachers that collected signatures to block the law

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Effort Blocks Voucher Law Until Voters Can Weigh In. Please see related stories here

| September 6, 2017
Effort Blocks Voucher Law Until Voters Can Weigh In. Please see related stories here

Supporters of Arizona’s school-voucher program are attacking some of its most prominent opponents.

A Republican state lawmaker this week filed an ethics complaint against Rep. Isela Blanc, D-Tempe, who helped gather signatures to refer the program expansion to the ballot. Such complaints are rare and can result in expulsion from the Legislature. 

At the same time, the “dark money” group American Federation for Children unleashed robocalls in east-central Phoenix and Paradise Valley targeting 2016 Teacher of the Year Christine Marsh, a Democrat running for state Senate in that district.

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Group submits petitions to halt expanded school-voucher program. Please see related stories

| August 9, 2017
Group submits petitions to halt expanded school-voucher program. Please see related stories

Foes of giving out more vouchers of tax dollars to let children go to private and parochial schools filed petitions Tuesday with more than 111,000 signatures to force the issue to a public vote.

The group Save Our Schools contends that SB 1431 will drain dollars from an already underfunded public school system.

“Class sizes have swelled to almost 40 children per teacher,” said Beth Lewis, a fifth-grade teacher in the Tempe Elementary School District.

“Many schools no longer have tutoring, school nurses, summer school or field trips,” she said at a press conference after the petitions were delivered to the Secretary of State’s Office. “What more can be cut?”

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Arizona school voucher opponents launch prop fight

| May 10, 2017
Arizona school voucher opponents launch prop fight

“Save our schools! Save our schools!” That was the chant that went up on the north lawn of the Arizona State Capitol Monday afternoon.

Opponents of the recently passed SB 1431, the school voucher bill, launched a campaign to garner 150,000 signatures for a repeal proposition that, if successful, would go before voters on the November 2018 ballot.

“We believe educational opportunity is a right and it should be offered to every Arizona child,” former Arizona legislator and education advocate David Schapira said, reaffirming the group’s goal to repeal SB 1431.

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Which Arizona Students Will Take Advantage of Expanded Choice Program?

| April 19, 2017
Which Arizona Students Will Take Advantage of Expanded Choice Program?

Now that Arizona’s expansive voucher-like law has passed, the question is, how many and which students will take advantage of the public funds that can be used at private schools.

As I wrote in a story about Arizona’s new education savings account, or ESA, law, supporters already are talking about the possibility of increasing how many students could receive the funds, roughly $4,400 per student, despite a cap worked out as a compromise to pass the law.

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