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A Big Win for the Entrepreneurial Educator

October 19, 2022

As the new Arizona ESA program makes clear, school choice can benefit not just students, but also effective educators who care about improving student outcomes

 Is there room in the U.S. educational system for entrepreneurial teachers?

Traditionally, the teaching profession has not been one to reward innovative, successful educators. The pay system, for instance, has been more about mediocrity than merit: Public education is typically based on seniority-based teacher pay scales, and frequently, a teacher knows what her salary will be years down the road, completely independent of her skill or effort as an educator.  This system fails to reward teachers who go above and beyond and saps potential from our schools.

But in Arizona, a new historic school choice expansion law may provide an alternative that rewards accomplishment and success—showing that greater educational options can help both students and teachers.

Under groundbreaking legislation that was sponsored by state representative Ben Toma and recently signed into law by Governor Doug Ducey, Arizona’s universal Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program is poised to usher in a new era of student and educator empowerment. The ESA program—initially created a decade ago by the Goldwater Institute, where I work—now offers every family in Arizona the chance to opt their child out of the public school system and receive instead roughly $7,000 per child, per year, to put toward private school tuition, tutoring, textbooks, teaching services, and more. A child who might be floundering with a public school education can now get the tailored instruction or specialized tools they need to succeed—things that often only the well-off had been able to access.

 Read the rest of the op-ed at Discourse Magazine.

Matt Beienburg is the Director of Education Policy and the Director of the Van Sittert Center for Constitutional Advocacy at the Goldwater Institute.



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