Every student in a failing school should have better options. In Arizona, the largest failing schools enroll a high concentration of Hispanic students— students that, nationally, are at a high risk of dropping out and have low college attendance rates. Among the 20 largest public schools that received a “D” on their state report card, 71 percent of the students are Hispanic.
HB 2626 expands Arizona’s education savings account program to students in failing schools (along with children in military families and academically gifted students). This measure will offer options to many parents, especially in Hispanic communities.
| Letter |
| Hispanic |
| Percent |
|Alhambra High School||D||2,708||2,130||78.7%|
|San Luis High School||D||2,502||2,497||99.8%|
|Desert View High School||D||2,085||1,738||83.4%|
|Carl Hayden High School||D||2,043||1,919||93.9%|
|Camelback High School||D||1,937||1,476||76.2%|
|Cholla High Magnet School||D||1,726||1,251||72.5%|
|Mohave High School||D||1,476||563||38.1%|
|Amphitheater High School||D||1,380||836||60.6%|
|Catalina High Magnet School||D||1,326||687||51.8%|
|Santa Rita High School||D||1,219||385||31.6%|
|Chinle High School||D||1,127||3||0.3%|
|Frank Borman School||D||1,119||985||88.0%|
|Pistor Middle School||D||1,038||869||83.7%|
|Sierra Middle School||D||1,013||927||91.5%|
|Heritage Elementary School||D||988||330||33.4%|
|Bernard Black Elementary School||D||951||522||54.9%|
|Mesa Junior High School||D||829||757||91.3%|
|Harold W Smith School||D||818||722||88.3%|
|Challenger Middle School||D||802||602||75.1%|
Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core Data Set, available at http://nces.ed.gov/ccd/.
State Sen. Steve Gallardo was quoted in the Arizona Republic last week saying the savings account program is “not aimed toward Hispanic kids” and that “White Republicans” have done “nothing” to help “Hispanic kids go to college.” These data on Arizona’s failing schools coupled with the proposed expansion of education savings accounts to students in “D” schools suggest the opposite.
Christina Martinez, representing the Hispanic Council for Reform and Educational Options (HCREO) and the U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute, testified in support of HB 2626 last week. “We know that only about 50 percent of Latinos finish high school on time and only 13 percent of Latinos will go on to college,” she said. “We believe many of these instances are due to an educational environment that is not conducive to the needs of the student.”
“And because of this, we feel that if the system is failing, a student’s parents should have the option to enroll their child in a setting that is conducive. Furthermore, they should be able to use any and all resources available to them,” Martinez said.
Expanding education savings accounts to students in failing schools will help those students most in need of more options.
Arizona State Legislature: Arizona Senate Finance Committee video, March 8, 2012
Arizona Republic: Democratic lawmaker opposes use of cute Latino kids