Voucher advocates claim they want to “save poor kids from failing schools.”

Well, it turns out that in Arizona, most of the students who use vouchers come from highly-rated schools. 70% of the students who use vouchers come from A or B schools.

Very few poor students seek vouchers.


Arizona Republic reporter Laurie Roberts writes:

“Anyone who thinks that Gov. Doug Ducey’s expanded voucher program is aimed at helping poor kids escape failing public schools, raise your hand.


“If you’re buying the Prop. 305 argument that creating a universal voucher program is about helping poor and middle-income kids escape bad schools, make sure you read Republic reporter Rob O’Dell’s latest analysis of who is using state money to pay for private school.

“And as importantly, who is not.

“Here’s a hint: it isn’t the poor kids and the parents snagging a public subsidy to send their children to private schools are escaping failing schools.

“What the numbers show

“O’Dell’s latest analysis shows that nearly 70 percent of Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (read: vouchers) are being used by students leaving wealthier A- or B-rated school districts.

“Only 7 percent of ESA money is being used by students leaving districts rated D or F.

“Yet Ducey and the Republican-run Legislature have repeatedly expanded the voucher program, which began in 2011 to allow children with disabilities to attend the school best suited to address their special needs. Since then, it has been broadened to include a variety of categories of children, including those who attend failing schools.

“In 2017, our leaders expanded the ESA program yet again, decreeing that any child should be able to snag public funds to put toward private school but capping the program (for now) at 30,000 students by 2022.

“An earlier Republic analysis showed that 75 percent of ESA money was going to help suburban kids get out of wealthier, higher performing school districts. The top districts being “escaped” with a little help from taxpayers: Mesa, Tucson, Gilbert, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Chandler and Peoria.

“That 2017 expansion is now on the ballot, thanks to a referendum campaign launched by a group of women who formed Save Our Schools Arizona. A vote for Prop. 305 would allow voucher expansion to take effect. A vote against Prop. 305 would kill the expansion plan.”

Stop the hoax.

More vouchers means less money for the state’s underfunded public schools, which enroll at least 90% of the children in the state.