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Arizona Teachers Unions Apparently Fail to Overturn Universal School Choice Reform

September 26, 2022


Teachers unions and other opponents of Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESA) have apparently fallen well short of the requisite 118,843 signatures needed to repeal the new law via ballot referendum, thanks to the efforts of the Goldwater Institute, the Center for Arizona Policy Action, and a statewide groundswell of parents. Based on the petition sheets released by the Secretary of State’s office, anti-parental rights groups only submitted 88,866 signatures. The tremendous shortfall in signatures is apparent based on the petition sheets made available by the Secretary of State’s office, which is due to make a final determination on the effort.

“The preliminary results make it clear: Arizona families have rejected special interests’ attempts to take away their ability to choose the education that best meets their child’s unique needs,” said Victor Riches, President and CEO of the Goldwater Institute. “Families deserve the right to choose the best education option for their children, regardless of zip code, and now, they’ll once again be able to exercise that right by applying for ESAs.”

“Arizona families want choice in education. That is clear by the preliminary low signature count,” said Cathi Herrod, Esq., President of the Center for Arizona Policy Action. “If those numbers hold and the measure does not make the ballot, Arizona families can again begin to apply for ESAs to help them choose the best educational environment for their children. ESAs are the end of the one-size-fits-all education that works for some, but not for many others.”

ESAs, which the Goldwater Institute and the Center for Arizona Policy created in Arizona more than a decade ago, have been hugely successful in empowering parents to customize their child’s education experience to best meet their needs. The ESA program has gone from serving 100 students in 2011 to 11,000 earlier this year. Thanks to HB 2853, sponsored by Rep. Ben Toma, more than one million students will now be eligible.

The Goldwater Institute and the Center for Arizona Policy Action are proud to have advocated for this reform to give families more education options along with other school choice allies. Now that special interests have failed to overturn it, parents can continue taking advantage of the nation’s “gold standard” for school choice.



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