Jonathan Butcher

Education Savings Accounts Extend Hope, Opportunities

Posted on February 06, 2012 | Author: Jonathan Butcher
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In the first episode of The Cosby Show, Cliff Huxtable explains to Theo how to keep track of a budget. Using Monopoly money, they wrestle over the costs of living on your own. Finally, Theo pledges to survive with only the bare necessities and has $200 left over for the month. As Theo beams with pride, Cliff asks, “Are you going to have a girlfriend?” and then plucks the remaining bills out of Theo’s hand.
Two weeks ago, the real Bill Cosby offered a lesson in school finance in preparation for National School Choice Week: “[E]ducation is not a thing that big bucks happens to be the answer [to].” He says, “We have a moral and societal obligation to give our children the opportunity to succeed in school, at work, and in life. We cannot meet that obligation unless parents are empowered to select the best schools of their children.”
Shortly after Cosby made his comments, families around Arizona cheered Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Maria Del Mar Verdin’s ruling upholding the state’s one-of-a-kind education savings account program. Judge Del Mar Verdin wrote in her opinion, “The exercise of parental choice among educational options makes the program constitutional.”
For students with special needs, like Nathan Howard, the decision couldn’t have been better. His mother, Amanda, says that since Nathan started at his new school, a move made possible by the savings account, she has seen “such a huge difference.” For the first time he can almost speak in full sentences.
HB 2626, sponsored by Rep. Debbie Lesko and Sens. Gould, Klein, Melvin, Murphy, and Yarborough, would extend the opportunity for a brighter future to the 94,000 students in Arizona’s lowest-performing schools. The bill also offers hope to Arizona’s intellectually gifted students, another underserved population, as well as to students in military families.
HB 2626 is a tremendous step toward providing all students the best opportunity to succeed.
Learn more:
Education Next: Challenging the Gifted
The Cosby Show: Season 1, Episode 1

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