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Goldwater Vows to Defend School Choice Against Gov. Hobbs’ Attacks

January 25, 2024

You really can’t make this stuff up. Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs this week issued a proclamation celebrating “National School Choice Week”—even while threatening to rip away educational options from more than 50,000 families.

Not on Goldwater’s watch.

“We are here to stand guard against any attack and ensure that school choice in Arizona not only persists but thrives,” Goldwater Institute President and CEO Victor Riches said in a recent interview on the Light Beer Dark Money podcast. The notion of rolling back Arizona’s universal Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program isn’t just detrimental but, as Riches put it, “an incredibly ridiculous idea to consider.” The bottom line is this: there are no negative consequences to providing families with as many educational opportunities as possible.

At the Goldwater Institute, defending the American Dream against government overreach and championing the freedoms that define our nation is more than just what we do every day—it’s our life’s work. In his interview, Riches highlighted some of Goldwater’s recent triumphs: from spearheading the charge for education freedom to forcing the government’s hand when it comes to addressing the homelessness crisis that’s destroying our cities.

“Our mission is to craft legislation and pursue legal action that paves the way for Arizonans and indeed all Americans to lead freer, more fulfilling lives,” Riches said. “That means minimizing government interference.”

In education, our achievements stand unmatched. Not only did Goldwater create the nation’s first ESA program in Arizona more than a decade ago, we enacted a historic universal ESA expansion in the state in 2022, positioning Arizona as the country’s leader in education reform. Thanks to that landmark victory, every family in the state can now select the best educational pathway for their children. And Goldwater’s leadership in the school choice movement is making waves beyond Arizona’s borders: working with partners across the nation, we’ve enacted ESAs in 15 states and helped make universal school choice a reality in 10 states.

As Riches explained on the podcast, Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs’ bizarre attacks on ESA families cannot overshadow the undeniable truth. The success stories speak volumes—over 70,000 children are now getting an education that meets their unique needs, and Arizona families are overwhelmingly in favor of school choice. With the Goldwater Institute leading the way, the future of educational freedom is not just secure, it’s vibrant.

Our commitment doesn’t end there. To exercise fully informed school choice, parents have the right to be able to find out what their kids are learning before making an enrollment decision. That’s why the Goldwater Institute’s Academic Transparency Act, which has already led to new legislation in Florida and West Virginia, requires public schools to post a list of their learning materials online. Moreover, Goldwater’s Ask Your School Now website arms parents with the tools to get answers when school districts try to keep them in the dark.

We’re also protecting our cities amid the nationwide homelessness crisis. In fact, the Goldwater Institute’s investigative reports and legal advocacy helped property owners secure an important legal a victory when a judge ruled late last year that Phoenix leaders must clean up The Zone, paving the way for a cleaner, safer community.

Wherever the fight takes us, Goldwater is committed to making sure the government respects everyone’s freedoms. We’re here to stand up for liberty so that the rights we all value are protected and continue to thrive well into the future.

Cameron Teel is a Ronald Reagan Fellow at the Goldwater Institute.



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