Arizona: Vouchers Used by Students from Good Schools in Affluent Districts, Not Low-Income Students from Bad Schools

Diane Ravitch's blog

The Arizona Republic conducted an analysis to learn which students were using vouchers. Remember that vouchers are supposed to “save poor kids from failing schools.” But that is not what is happening in Arizona!

As Arizona’s school-voucher program has expanded rapidly in the past year, students using taxpayer aid to transfer from public to private schools are abandoning higher-performing districts in more-affluent areas, according to an Arizona Republic analysis.

This year, more than 75 percent of the money pulled out of public schools for the Empowerment Scholarship Account program came from districts with an “A” or “B” rating, the analysis showed. By contrast, only 4 percent of the money came from school districts rated “D” or lower.

The findings undercut a key contention of the lawmakers and advocacy groups pressing to expand the state’s ESA program: that financially disadvantaged families from struggling schools reap the benefit of expanded school choice.

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