Education Scholarships: Expanding Opportunities for Students, Saving Taxpayers Money
By Darcy Olsen
Marcia Alexander, Mother of scholarship recipient Brenna Alexander, Glendale
Jon Kyl, U.S. Senator, Arizona
Jaime A. Molera, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Arizona
Darcy Olsen, Executive Director, Goldwater Institute
Results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress show that 25 percent of Arizona's students are unable to read by eighth grade and 30 percent struggle with basic arithmetic. Academic skills are generally even weaker among students from lower-income families. What can policymakers do today to help Arizona's neediest students? A Goldwater Institute study released March 26 urges leaders to learn from successful reforms in Florida and Pennsylvania, and to implement a tax credit that will encourage businesses to help students. Under this plan, businesses that donate funds to scholarship organizations could receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit, and students could redeem their scholarships at a private school of their parents' choice. If legislators act now, the plan could raise scholarships for an estimated 4,500 needy students by fall and help more than 22,000 students over five years. As children use the scholarships, the overall cost of education declines. Moderate projections show this plan saving Arizona taxpayers an estimated $53 million over five years.
Darcy Olsen and Sen. Jon Kyl listen as Marcia Alexander tells the Goldwater audience how her daughter Brenna benefits from Arizona's education tax credits.