An anti-school choice organization launched a campaign to end a newly passed Arizona law expanding school choice vouchers to students statewide, according to the organization’s Twitter page.
“Save Our Schools” announced its #StopVoucherExpansion initiative Wednesday, according to the group’s social media accounts. The initiative is designed to prevent the universal Education Savings Accounts (ESA) program passed by the state legislature last week from going into effect and put the voucher program to a vote in the 2024 election.
In an advertisement for the new initiative, Save Our Schools advocates claim that public education would be “destroyed” by the voucher expansion. The group vowed to elect “pro-public education” candidates, though it markets itself as a “non-partisan” group.
“We the people will not be so easily dismissed,” a speaker in the video said. “We will not go quietly as public education is destroyed in front of us.”
Today, we are proud to announce the launch of #StopVoucherExpansion, an all-volunteer petition drive to refer universal ESA voucher expansion to the 2024 ballot. Join our movement to protect public education & keep $1B in AZ’s public schools TODAY: https://t.co/Se3tAgpXWz pic.twitter.com/ODf9Z1CFxo
— Save Our Schools AZ (@arizona_sos) July 7, 2022
Save Our Schools’ goal is to get 118,823 valid signatures by Sept. 25, 2022 to “prevent universal voucher expansion from going into effect until the November 2024 election,” according to the video.
The campaign launched days after Arizona’s state legislature passed a bill expanding Educational Savings Accounts to all students. Prior to the newly passed legislation, only a quarter of elementary and secondary school students were eligible for Education Savings Accounts, according to an analysis conducted by the Heritage Foundation.
Corey DeAngelis, a senior fellow at the American Federation for Children, told the Daily Caller that the Save Our Schools initiative would “trap” kids in “failing” schools.
“It’s shameful that these monopolists are fighting to trap kids in failing government schools,” DeAngelis said. “Imagine fighting this hard to trap kids in failing government schools at a time when support for school choice is at an all-time high.”
Nationwide polling shows that an overwhelming majority of Americans, regardless of political affiliation, support school choice programming such as Educational Savings Accounts.
DeAngelis argued that if schools are satisfying the needs of students, then the “defenders of the status quo” would not be threatened by expanding school choice programs.
“Families would keep their children in schools that were meeting their needs, and those schools would keep the funding meant for educating those children,” DeAngelis said.
Instead, DeAngelis claims that Save Our Schools aims to “protect the system by forcing families to take their children’s education dollars to government schools.”
“The group’s main priority is right there in their name. Notice their group is called ‘save our schools.’ We should ‘save our students’ instead,” DeAngelis said. “This group is waging war on parents. Parents will win this war.”
Austin Smith, a candidate for Arizona’s 29th legislative district, told the Daily Caller that organizations such as Save Our Schools are more interested in financial benefits than furthering public education.
“Save Our Schools is a leftist partisan driven group that undermines parental authority and local control,” Smith said. “I encourage people not to sign their deceptive petitions that remove all authority from mom and dad and turn it over to teacher’s unions and administrators who are interested in lining their own pockets and not furthering public education success.”
Save Our Schools did not respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment.