Goldwater fingerprints in school choice

Think tank worked to control Arizona school voucher program behind scenes, emails show

By Yvonne Wingett Sanchez | The Republic

In the spring of 2011, an Arizona think tank was celebrating what it billed as a landmark victory for school choice: The Legislature had passed a bill making it legal to give tax dollars to families with special-needs students, which they could use to pay private-school tuition.

The Goldwater Institute wasn’t cheering from the sidelines. It had developed the idea for Empowerment Scholarship Accounts and had helped convince lawmakers to make it state law.

“The Arizona Legislature became the first in the country to approve (Empowerment Scholarship Accounts), an idea born at the Goldwater Institute,” a Goldwater official told supporters in a celebratory email. “ESAs have the potential to create a truly 21st century system of public education, in which every child is empowered to pursue the best possible schooling without stifling and costly bureaucracy and special-interest pressures.”

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