Arizona Offers Parents Up to $7K in Place of School Closures

Arizona Offers Parents Up to $7K in Place of School Closures school girls fit their face masks in front of a school bus (David Carpio/Dreamstime)

By Nick Koutsobinas | Tuesday, 04 January 2022 10:39 PM

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced Tuesday a new program would give qualifying families up to $7,000 for their child's educational needs.

According to a press release from the governor's office, funding for the Open for Learning Recovery Benefit program would go toward childcare, transportation, tutoring, school tuition, and needs that have been approved of by the Arizona Department of Economic Security.

"Every state should follow Arizona's lead," Corey DeAngelis, the national director of research at School Choice Now, told Fox News. "If a Safeway doesn't reopen, families can take their money elsewhere. If a school doesn't reopen, families should be able to take their children's education dollars elsewhere. In fact, families should be able to take their children's education dollars elsewhere regardless. Education funding is meant for educating children, not for protecting a particular institution."

"Students, not systems," he added, "is the only way out of this mess."

"Funding students directly and empowering families to find alternatives gives schools an incentive to cater to their needs," DeAngelis continued. "This kind of bottom-up accountability, allowing families to vote with their feet, is the strongest form of accountability that exists. This move is a step in the right direction toward freeing families from the clutches of the teachers unions once and for all."

The press release noted, "if a school closes for even one day, students and families who meet the income requirements can utilize the Open for Learning Recovery Benefit Program — allowing students to access instruction that best meets their needs."

Ducey, who introduced a plan to reopen schools in March of 2021, said "in-person learning is vital for the development, well-being and educational needs of K-12 students," and city officials will continue to work with school leaders to ensure children "can stay in the classroom and parents have a choice — always."

"In Arizona, we're going to ensure continued access to in-person learning," Ducey added. "Everyone agrees that schools should stay open and kids need to be in the classroom. With this announcement, we are making sure parents and families have options if a school closes its doors. Parents are best suited to make decisions about their child's education."