School choice withstands challenge in Arizona
A campaign to repeal Arizona's expansion of school choice apparently has failed to gather enough signatures to go on the ballot.
Arizona has been pro-choice for decades, writes Matthew Ladner on reimaginED. That includes "universal access to district schools, universal access to charter schools and universal access to a limited pool of tax credit funds." What's changing is that the program will be "available to the family of any student who feels in need of it." That may double the number of choice students, he estimates.
Arizona led the nation in academic growth from 2008-18, "leaving behind northeastern states that spend much more per pupil," he writes, citing Stanford data. Students from low-income families are making faster progress in Arizona than anywhere else.
In Pennsylvania, a strong union state, Democrat Josh Shapiro is backing school choice in his race for governor, reports Anthony Hennen for Center Square.
“Josh believes parents deserve to be empowered to ensure their kids receive a good education and that every child has access to quality learning,” according to Shapiro’s campaign website. “That requires boosting funding for education and innovating to ensure children in our most challenged schools receive the education and care they deserve.”
“Josh favors adding choices for parents and educational opportunity for students and funding lifeline scholarships like those approved in other states and introduced in Pennsylvania,” his website reads.
A Republican-backed school choice bill passed the House in June and awaits Senate action. It is supported by Shapiro's opponent, Doug Mastriano, a Republican state senator.
"We are incredibly optimistic when politicians recognize the importance of giving parents the right to direct the education of their children,” saidJeanne Allen, founder and CEO of the Center for Education Reform, in a press release.
"School choice polls well among Democratic voters," writes Hennen, but few Democratic politicians are supporters. "Colorado Gov. Jared Polis may be the only prominent Democratic supporter of school choice."