Jonathan Butcher

All Eyes on Arizona

Posted on March 27, 2013 | Author: Jonathan Butcher
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The Arizona Wildcats men’s basketball team is headed to the “Sweet 16” round of the NCAA tournament, having thumped their first two opponents, Belmont and Harvard. USA Today reports that it’s “hard to find flaws” with the Wildcat’s performance in the tourney so far.

All eyes will be on Arizona when they play second-seed Ohio State on Thursday.

But lawmakers around the country have had their eyes on Arizona for the past three months. Policymakers in Florida, Iowa, and Montana introduced bills this year that would create education savings accounts modeled after Arizona’s innovative example.

With the future of children around the country now in the balance, it is critical that Arizona policymakers use their experience with the accounts’ first two years to make sure children are getting a great education.

As a prime example, lawmakers should expand education savings account eligibility to incoming kindergarten students before the session ends. This is a critical move because under current law, children must be attending a public school when they apply for a savings account. By allowing incoming kindergarten students who were assigned to a failing school to apply for an account, parents would not have to send their child to a failing school for a whole year before applying. Children would have the chance at a great education beginning on day 1.

Another proposed revision would allow a university or research organization to gather student data and produce a report on parent and student satisfaction and student achievement for those children that left failing schools to use a savings account (as well as children in military families and adopted children). Arizonans—and now families all over the U.S.—need to know how the nation’s leading education innovation is serving children.

While we cheer on the Wildcats this week, let’s remember that the NCAA tournament comes and goes every year. But children around the country are depending on lawmakers to use every opportunity to give them hope for a better future. Let’s not miss this one.

Learn more:

Goldwater Institute: Education Savings Accounts: A Path to Give All Children an Effective Education and Prepare Them for Life Florida legislature takes up school choice 2.0

USA Today: Arizona Wildcats rout Harvard Crimson to reach Sweet 16

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