Republican Arizona State Reps. Michelle Udall, Joanne Osbourne, and Joel John are coming under fire for their decision to deny over 700,000 kids school choice opportunities. The trio voted with all House Democrats to reject a proposal to expand the Empowerment Scholarship Account program.
Specifically, Udall, Osbourne, and John voted against an amendment offered by Rep. Shawnna Bolick that would have expanded the Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program to low-income students (about 80% of whom are minorities) and kids of Veterans.
ESAs allow families to utilize their education tax dollars and spend those funds on education choices that they deem best for their children. These dollars can be used to attend micro/pod schools, private schools, hiring tutors, purchasing online curriculum, and other options that may work best for each unique student.
Critics say that by voting no on the Bolick amendment, Udall, Osborne, and John became the only three Republicans to vote against this measure and sided with the teachers’ union and anti-school choice groups like Save Our Schools.
Additionally, a poll conducted by the #1 pollster in the country according to the NY Times showed that 75% of Arizonan’s support school choice and that 73% of Arizonans support this specific effort of helping low-income children. This means that the vast majority of Republican, Democrat, and Independent voters all support school choice.
Supporters of ESAs say students in Arizona needed this expansion especially in light of the drastic learning loss from Covid due to the sub-standard “virtual” education provided due to the refusal of teachers to return to in-class learning.