January 21, 2019

It’s National School Choice Week, and Arizonans have a lot to celebrate. Thanks to expanded educational opportunities such as charter schools and Empowerment Scholarship Accounts, Arizona parents have greater options to ensure their children receive an education best-suited to their unique needs.

As we begin our National School Choice Week celebration, here are some important facts about how school choice is succeeding in Arizona:

  1. More than 5,000 Arizona students are enrolled in Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESA).[1] Learn more about ESAs here.

  2. 94 percent of ESA participants said they were “very satisfied” with education savings accounts, while 6 percent were “somewhat satisfied.”[2]

  3. The average (non-special education) ESA award amount is more than $5,700 and exceeds the median tuition rate for private elementary schools in Arizona ($5,675).[3]

  4. Nearly 1 in 5 Arizona students now attends a charter school (916,540 district students v. 193,008 charters as of FY 18)[4]

  5. More than 10,000 additional students are enrolling in Arizona charter schools each year, compared to about 1,000 more students enrolling in district schools.[5]

  6. About 1 out of every 2 students in Maricopa County, which encompasses Phoenix, exercises some form of school choice thanks to Arizona’s open enrollment process, with 47% of public school students either choosing a district school other than the one assigned to them by their home address, or a charter school.[6]

  7. Taken as a group, Arizona’s charter school students have increased their performance on the NAEP exam (‘the nation’s report card’) more than the student population of any individual state from 2009 to 2017. [7]

[1] As of FY 18, per program data provided by Arizona Department of Education       

[2] https://goldwaterinstitute.org/article/dollars-flexibility-and-effective-education-parent/

[3]https://cms.azed.gov/home/GetDocumentFile?id=58a4c2631130c1096041f539; https://www.edchoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Exploring-Arizonas-Private-Education-Sector-by-Andrew-D-Catt.pdf

[4] https://www.azleg.gov/jlbc/19AR/ade.pdf 

[5] https://www.azleg.gov/jlbc/19AR/ade.pdf

[6] http://centerforstudentachievement.org/are-district-attendance-zones-obsolete/#lightbox/1/

[7] https://azcharters.org/arizona-charter-students-boast-larger-naep-gains-than-any-state/