In June 2006,Arizona Legislators passed new school choice measures that would make available scholarships to low-income, disabled, and foster care children. Each measure provides families with education dollars they can use to pay tuition at a school of their choosing, whether public, private, or charter.
This expansion of school choice reveals Arizona as "America's shining city on the hill," and further "give[s] hope to Arizona school children and offer[s] a model for the United States," says Darcy Olsen, President of the Goldwater Institute.
Several studies conducted on the effectiveness of school choice and school vouchers have concluded that through competition the education landscape can be dramatically altered and can perhaps offer the most effective form of accountability by allowing parents to choose which school their children will attend.
School choice programs may also provide that districts not receive money for children no longer served by the district - certainly a reasonable position for most people.
Eligibility criteria for the Disability Voucher Program: 1) attended public school the previous school year; 2) must be accepted and admitted to an eligible private school; 3) parent must notify the school district directly or through Arizona Department of Education of the request for scholarship at least 60 days prior to first scholarship payment; 4) child must be between the ages of 3 and 22 and in need of special education and related services due to physical, emotional, or learning disabilities and been issued an IEP.
Eligibility criteria for the Foster Voucher Program: 1) pupil who has been placed in foster care at some point - either previously adopted or not; 2) pupil is in good academic standing; 3) eligible pupils include both new pupils as well as those pupils who have previously received a grant.