I very much dislike the underlying theme of this article. It makes the ESA sound like a joke in which irresponsible parents pull their kids from school in an attempt to pocket government funds, while not really educating their children as well as the public schools would. The ESA is what we use for our special needs son and it has been a God send that allows us to provide him with rich educational experiences we could not have otherwise afforded him. I know of several other families who are able to provide quality educations to their special needs children who were also failed by Arizona's public school system. There is almost no margin for error for those who receive the ESA and if you somehow manage to find a way to abuse the appropriated funds, you will be promptly removed from the program. If you are diligent, provide receipts and documentation for every expense, and use the ESA funds only for appropriate educational expenses, the plan will serve your family well. It makes perfect sense: reallocate the tax dollars spent each year to fund the failing public school, to the parent of the special needs child who cannot convince the school to educate their child. Then, the parent may use the funds to pay for curriculum, tutoring, educational therapies, or a private school that the parent feels is equipped to adequately educate the child. When this happens, there is a two-fold benefit: 1. The child receives the quality education they are entitled to. 2. The failing public school loses money from the state that they were clearly squandering in the first place. Maybe, hopefully, the growth of this program coupled with the mass exodus of students from Arizona's public schools will call attention to the gaping holes in our public education system and inspire those who can, to reevaluate the success or lack there of of our current system and make changes so that we won't have to search high and low to ensure our children receive an outstanding education.
*Disclaimer: In no way do I blame the individual teachers for the lack of success in public school. The teachers I have encountered, all seem to teach for the right reasons and have a passion for education. I believe the problem lies somewhere in the endless bureaucracy and politics of today's school system.
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