Superintendent John Huppenthal to Close Out Arizona School Choice Week Festivities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 26, 2012
CONTACT: Andrew LeFevre

Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal to Close Out Arizona School Choice Week Festivities
Arizona’s Groundbreaking Empowerment Scholarship Accounts Ruled Constitutional

Phoenix, AZ, Thursday, January 26, 2012 – On Friday morning, January 27 at 11:00 AM, Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal will close out National School Choice Week activities here in Arizona by addressing thousands of students and parents at Edu-Prize campus located at 4567 West Roberts Road in Queen Creek, Arizona. Along with message on school choice week, Superintendent Huppenthal will be discussing the ruling earlier this week by Arizona Superior Court upholding the constitutionality of Arizona’s innovative Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESAs) for special needs students.

“I am a firm believer that educational decisions should be made at the most local level possible,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal. “To me that means parents should be able to make the decision on which school will best meet the unique educational needs of their child.”

Friday, January 28 marks the end of the second annual National School Choice Week. All across the nation, school choice advocates and organizations, grassroots networks, parents and students held hundreds of events to increase awareness of the importance of providing effective educational options for every child. Arizona’s events included rallies and balloon launches at schools all across the state, a screening of the award winning documentary “Waiting for Superman,” and a virtual Congressional Town Hall.

As an added bonus to the School Choice Week activities, on Wednesday a Superior Court Judge found that Arizona’s ESAs which benefit special needs students was constitutional under Arizona law. Under the ESA program, parents are able to take 90 percent of the state education funding that is provided to their child and use it to purchase educational services that they deem best meet their child’s unique needs.

“The judge’s ruling was a great victory for parents and our most vulnerable students,” exclaimed Superintendent Huppenthal. “The ESA program epitomizes what school choice is all about – giving parents direct control over their children’s education.”

“To me one of Arizona’s greatest educational assets is our school choice environment,” continued Superintendent Huppenthal. “I am very excited to be able to be at Edu-Prize and hear firsthand from the students and parents about how being able to choose this school has made a difference in their education.”

Superintendent John Huppenthal has been a champion in the struggle to give parents greater control of their children’s education for over 18 years. In 1994 he led Arizona efforts to bring charter schools to the state. As Senate Education Committee Chairman in 1995, he sponsored and helped pass legislation that took the caps off the number of charter schools allowed under the law. He led the effort in developing some of the strongest home school and public school open enrollment laws in the nation. He was also a leader in the efforts to allow individuals and corporations to claim educational tax credits to fund student scholarships. Due to his efforts, tens of thousands of students have been able attend a school of their parent’s choice.

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