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  • Everyone Deserves the Right to Try: Empowering the Terminally Ill to Take Control of their Treatment

    Posted on February 11, 2014 | Type: Policy Report | Author: Christina Corieri

    For patients suffering from terminal illnesses, the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the arbiter of life and death. These patients, suffering from diseases ranging from ALS to Zellweger Syndrome, face little chance of recovery. For patients like Kianna, investigational medicines provide a glimmer of hope. The FDA, however, often stands between the patients and the treatments that may alleviate their symptoms or provide a cure. To access these treatments, patients must either go through a lengthy FDA exemption process or wait for the treatments to receive FDA approval, which can take a decade or more and cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Sadly, over half a million cancer patients and thousands of patients with other terminal illnesses die each year as the bureaucratic wheels at the FDA slowly turn.

  • A Vision for Education and the Future of Learning

    Posted on January 18, 2014 | Type: Policy Report | Author: Jonathan Butcher

    Decades of stagnant student test scores and underwhelming high school graduation rates in Arizona and around the country substantiate Mitra’s isolated findings. Traditional classrooms cannot equip every child for whatever their unique future holds, whether they move on to college or enter the job market. In fact, school, as we have known it, may be part of the problem. Students shouldn’t be assigned to a school based on their ZIP code. They should be free to choose the best classes, tutors, or extracurricular activities from a menu of options online or in traditional classrooms, no matter where they live.

  • Out of Sight: How Special Taxing Districts Circumvent Spending Limits and Decrease Accountability in Government

    Posted on January 09, 2014 | Type: Policy Report | Author: Stephen Slivinski

    Special taxing districts are all the rage. They are now the fastest growing form of government, even though they often operate out of sight and out of mind for most voters and taxpayers. These often unnoticed local governments have the power to tax and spend like municipalities and are set up to provide a specific service. They have contributed heavily to the overall growth of local government spending and debt loads, all while operating virtually behind the scenes and at a lower standard of accountability than traditional local governments. Many taxpayers don’t even realize they are paying taxes to these government-like entities. The number of special districts has grown rapidly because special districts are not subject to many of the spending and debt limits municipal governments face. This has encouraged local governments to circumvent those limits by creating more special districts. Statistical analysis of states and cities across the nation shows that the share of local spending attributable to special districts correlates strongly with more overall per capita local government spending.

  • A New Day for School Choice: Education Savings Accounts Turn 3 Years Old

    Posted on December 16, 2013 | Type: Policy Report | Author: Jonathan Butcher

    This policy brief reviews the accounts’ first years of operation. Legislative changes since lawmakers enacted the accounts have given more children access, and in 2013, researchers conducted the first studies of how families are using the accounts. This brief will cover the new legislation and research, along with developments in a lawsuit that an Arizona teachers’ union and school boards’ association filed against the accounts. Finally, this report will offer three recommendations for education savings account expansion, fraud prevention, and academic transparency.

  • Dollars, Flexibility, and an Effective Education: Parent Voices on Arizona’s Education Savings Accounts

    Posted on October 03, 2013 | Type: Policy Report | Author: Jonathan Butcher

    Arizona’s education savings accounts are the most innovative way for parents to find a great education for their child. The Arizona Department of Education deposits 90 percent of an eligible child’s funding from the state funding formula into a parent’s private bank account. Families then use a debit card or an online payment service such as PayPal to pay for such expenses as textbooks, private school tuition, online classes, and tutors. Each account results in a cost-savings to the taxpayer, demonstrating that a high-quality education can be provided for less than what taxpayers pay for public schools.

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