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Week in Review: An Extraordinary Impact

November 24, 2019

Opponents of educational freedom say that school choice benefits the wealthy and hurts the poor. But when it comes to one of the biggest school choice tools available to Arizona students, that argument is simply false. 

A new report released this week by the Goldwater Institute and American Federation for Children captures the extraordinary impact of the Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program among Arizona families most in need. 

Pioneered by the Goldwater Institute and first enacted in Arizona in 2011, ESAs provide families with resources to pursue educational avenues that fit their children’s needs while helping to relieve spending by taxpayers.  Specifically, Arizona’s program takes a portion of what the state would have spent covering the cost of a student’s education in a public school and instead deposits that money into a personalized account that allows the child’s family to use the funds for tutoring, educational therapies, private school tuition, curriculum materials, and other teaching tools.

The new report shows that the typical non-special needs ESA award covers 100% of the median private elementary school tuition and fee rate in Arizona. In other words, ESAs put private education within financial reach of even the most economically disadvantaged.

The report likewise turns upside down prior claims that ESAs disproportionately benefit wealthy communities. As the data make clear, ESA participation among higher- and lower-income communities and higher- and lower-performing school districts mirrors that of the public school student population at large.

ESAs now offer such opportunities to families across the country, with North Carolina becoming the sixth state to enact an ESA program beginning in the 2018-2019 school year. Learn more about how ESAs are having an extraordinary impact on children’s lives here.

A Win for Healthcare Freedom in North Carolina

Great news for healthcare freedom in North Carolina! Our friends at the Institute for Justice just won the opening round of their lawsuit challenging the state’s government-backed medical monopoly. 

Under North Carolina’s certificate of need law, it’s illegal for healthcare providers to offer healthcare services to patients without first getting government permission. That law prevented Dr. Gajendra Singh from purchasing an MRI machine to offer lower-cost imaging services—which are critical to patient diagnosis and care—simply because existing providers in the area already own MRI machines.

That violates the state Constitution, which prohibits monopolies within the state. Barring people from entering a business or offering a service just to protect existing providers against would-be competitors is the very definition of a government-created monopoly. The Goldwater Institute filed a brief in support of Dr. Singh, arguing that the court should enforce the Constitution and not allow special interests to trump patient access to affordable care. 

Learn more about what’s next in the case and about these anti-competitive, anti-patient laws here.

Video: Former Congressman Jason Chaffetz at Goldwater’s Annual Dinner

In case you missed it, Former Congressman Jason Chaffetz spoke at the Goldwater Institute’s Annual Dinner. Watch his speech in the first of a series of interviews we will be sharing in our Week in Review.



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