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Week in Review: To School Choice Opponents, Politics Matter More than Racial Equality

April 3, 2021

It’s fascinating: Many of the voices who call out racism in our society are the very same voices who decry policies that would expand opportunities for students of color. The latest example comes out of Arizona, where there’s a Goldwater Institute-backed bill currently under consideration that would help more students of all races get the education they deserve.

SB 1452 would expand the state’s Empowerment Scholarship Account, or ESA, program to cover low-income students as well as children of military veterans. This week at the Arizona Capitol Times, Arizona parent Robert Baca and Matt Beienburg, Goldwater Director of Education Policy and Director of the Van Sittert Center for Constitutional Advocacy, write that should SB 1452 become law, about 80% of those students who would benefit would be students of color. And despite strong majority support among minority groups for private school choice programs like this bill would provide, many lawmakers and teachers’ unions bemoan such programs that would give minority students more educational options. The Goldwater Institute developed ESAs a decade ago and is working to promote school choice across the country.

“To be clear, lawmakers should seek to advance policies that protect the rights and liberties of all people, regardless of race or wealth,” Baca and Beienburg write. “But especially as union activists seek to point fingers in every direction but their own when it comes to ‘structural barriers’ holding back communities of color, perhaps it is time lawmakers rethink their loyalties and take action to remove the real obstacles affecting communities in need.”

You can read the full op-ed here.

Goldwater’s Proposition 208 Debrief

Arizona’s Proposition 208 offers up a dangerous combination: It’s a massive tax hike that will hurt taxpayers and it tries to circumvent the state Constitution. The constitutionality of Prop. 208 will soon be a question for the Arizona Supreme Court, which will hear oral argument on the Goldwater Institute’s challenge to the initiative on April 20.

This week at In Defense of Liberty, Goldwater Institute Vice President Timothy Sandefur rounds up the friend-of-the-court briefs that have been filed by Prop. 208 opponents and supporters alike. Taken together, opponents’ briefs deftly illustrate the importance of defending the Arizona Constitution against Prop. 208’s assault. “Prop. 208 tries to override [constitutional spending] limits by declaring that $$ raised by its hefty new tax is exempt from that limit,” Sandefur writes. “Prop. 208, however, isn’t a constitutional amendment—it’s just an ordinary law—so it can’t override the Constitution.”

Amicus briefs play a crucial role in helping judges better understand the various considerations that ought to be contemplated when deciding the outcome of a case, he continues: “Amicus briefs like these are valuable because they help give judges additional information and perspective on legal disputes, and they fill in the details about matters such as the economic and political consequences that can follow from a decision.” Indeed, that’s why the Goldwater Institute itself files many amicus briefs in cases across the nation every year.

You can read more from Sandefur on the briefs from Prop. 208 opponents here, and from its supporters here.

LAST CHANCE: Sign Up for Goldwater’s Putting Patients First Webinar

COVID-19 has created unforeseen challenges for the American healthcare system, but it’s also created innovative opportunities for long-overdue healthcare reform. Lifesaving treatments are on the horizon—but critical policy reforms are needed to rapidly deliver these treatments to Americans who need them most.

Last week, the Goldwater Institute released a blueprint for dismantling the obstacles that stifle innovation, so that patients can get rapid, informed, and high-quality care. In Putting Patients First: Unleashing Innovation in American Healthcare, Goldwater lays out a plan for reforming the healthcare system in all 50 states and at the federal level.

Now, we invite you to join us this Tuesday (April 6) at 1 p.m. Arizona Time / 4 p.m. EDT for a special virtual conversation about our blueprint, outlining the changes that ought to be made to our healthcare system to better deliver care to Americans—and how we are getting to work across the country to turn these recommendations into reality. Goldwater Institute Executive Vice President Christina Sandefur and Director of Healthcare Policy Naomi Lopez will talk about this transformational blueprint.

You can learn more about this event and sign up to participate here. We look forward to seeing you there!



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