Tuesday, February 2, 2021
Senate Education Committee approves school choice bill
SB 1452 would bring ESAs to low-income families
(Phoenix, State Capitol) ---- The Senate Committee on Education tonight approved a bill that would bring new education options to lower-income families in Arizona. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, tens of thousands of students are falling months behind in school, because they don't have the options of children in higher income neighborhoods. These children have no in-person instruction, and because of a lack of internet connectivity, many are opting to stop attending school at all.
SB 1452 would help these parents and kids, by bringing new educational opportunities to them. Low-income families would become eligible to apply for an Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA). ESAs open up all options to parents, so they can choose what's best for their family, according to their personal situation.
"The digital divide in Arizona is real and significant," said Senator Paul Boyer, sponsor of SB 1452. "And with COVID, the divide is getting worse. Homes in the poorer parts of our state often have no internet connectivity, so if the student can't learn in person, she also can't join virtually from home. Giving them an option to apply for an ESA could be a life-changer for these families."
ESAs help pay for nearly all education options outside of district schools: online schools, homeschooling, private schools, and tutors. They also help ease the burden of out-of-pocket education expenses, for books and curriculum.
"It's imperative that we give relief to our low-income parents now and not allow children to slip any further behind," said Senator Boyer. "They need immediate access to educational opportunities, school options and resources."