By Daniel Stefanski |
Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs has made no secret of her desire to dismantle the state’s school choice benefits for tens of thousands of children and their families, and this weekend, she was challenged on her desires by Fox News Sunday host, Shannon Bream, during an exclusive interview leading up to the Super Bowl in Glendale.
During the interview, Bream asked the governor why all students shouldn’t have a chance to have the educational opportunities that she had growing up – a reference to Hobbs’ high school graduation from Seton Catholic Preparatory. Governor Hobbs appeared to embrace the rhetoric of school choice proponents as she searched for justification for her positions, responding that her parents “made that choice” and that they “sacrificed a lot” to give her the chance at a private education.
Hobbs went on to say that she wants every student in Arizona to have access to high-quality public education – access that she claimed would not happen under Arizona’s historic Educational Scholarship Account (ESA) program, which was passed last year by the Arizona Legislature. Bream followed up by asking the governor if students should not have a chance to go elsewhere if their school system was failing. Hobbs’ reply was that “the schools are failing because we are failing to invest in them.”
But Governor Hobbs’ rampant claims of the ESA program bankrupting and failing Arizona schools were met with facts from several individuals. Corey DeAngelis, one of the nation’s premier “evangelists” of school choice, tweeted thanks to Shannon Bream for citing his January Wall Street Journal article, showing that Arizona’s ESA program could actually save the state more than $100 million.
And Andrew Clark, Executive Director of Yes. Every Kid. Foundation, tweeted, “The average cost for a family to homeschool is year is about: $2k per kid. Micro-schools and pods are about $5k. Private schools average $10k, charters around $12k. Public schools clock in around $15k. But sure it’s a spending problem for public schools…let’s ignore the facts…”
Governor Hobbs’ answers on school choice quickly went viral after the recorded interview went live Sunday morning, and Arizona Republicans, who are at the front lines of protecting the landmark ESA program, wasted no time in making their thoughts known.
The Arizona Senate Republicans Twitter account posted: “.@GovernorHobbs response makes absolutely zero sense, other than reinforcing why expansion of ESA school choice is so desperately needed.”
Senator Justine Wadsack tweeted, “So #HypocriteHobbs attended PRIVATE school, and her parents made “sacrifices” to put her there. Even found themselves on food stamps! Had #ESA/#SchoolChoice existed back then, her parents would have been given $7,000 to help with the cost of Katie’s education.”
Representative Quang Nguyen stated, “So if your parents afforded you this great opportunity, shouldn’t you make it possible for other parents to give their children the same opportunity you received as a child? Asking for Arizonans.”
Representative Cory McGarr disagreed with Governor Hobbs’ characterizations of district school funding, saying: “Our government schools are failing because we are supposedly starving them of resources?? 73% increase in funding since 2016… Perhaps they are failing because they focus on woke sexualization, feelings and racism and have no accountability because of politicians like this.”
Representative Matt Gress underlined the foundation of the school choice argument, writing: “.@GovernorHobbs’ parents struggled to provide her with an education THEY thought best. It’s unfortunate she wants AZ families to choose between being on food stamps or sending their kids to the school they choose. Let’s help families. Give them a choice, not push them down.”
Representative Austin Smith said, “Booed at the Phoenix Open, health nominee failed in the senate committee and called out for her hypocrisy on school choice on national Sunday show. Bad weekend for Hobbs. Is there anyone who thinks she’s actually an effective leader?”
Representative Justin Heap tweeted: “@katiehobbs is committed to ending Az’s ESA program which allows thousands of Arizona children to receive the same private school education she received. Katie Hobbs definitely believes in pulling the ladder up behind her.”
Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.