NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


April 11, 2005

Arizona may become the first state to offer a "universal" school voucher, the first available without restrictions to parents of all school-age children, says the Wall Street Journal. The proposed legislation offers a grant for any child to use at any private school in the state.

Arizona has long been in the forefront of education reform and letting taxpayer money follow each student to the school of his choice is the best way to rescue American public education, says the Journal:

  • Currently, the average cost of educating a child in Arizona's public schools is $8,500 to $8,900 a year.
  • About 29,000 Arizona children attend private schools on scholarships and the waiting list for private vouchers is long.
  • The proposed legislation would offer vouchers of $3,500 a year to elementary school children and $4,500 a year for high school students.

Unfortunately, says the Journal, Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano is no fan of school choice. She recently vetoed a bill extending the tuition tax credit to businesses where companies could receive up to $10,000 for contributions to scholarship funds.

Harvard economist Caroline Hoxby has found traditional public schools improve when forced to compete with vouchers and charter schools.

Source: Editorial, "School Choice Nirvana," Wall Street Journal, April 1, 2005.

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