On Monday, the State Board of Education approved Supt. Horne’s new ESA Parent Handbook – without increasing transparency of taxpayer dollars or boosting child safety. ESA vouchers now cost over $500 million per year, and taxpayers have a right to know how our tax dollars are being spent. Yet this new ESA voucher handbook decreases accountability, removing allowable items lists that created a modicum of guardrails for spending.
The ADE’s new ESA voucher handbook waters down instructional standards by stripping away credentialing requirements for instructors — now requiring a mere high school diploma instead of subject-matter degrees or certification. Reducing requirements for ESA voucher instructors removes all guarantee for parents that their child’s teachers have the pedagogical knowledge or skill to teach core subjects.
The SBE-approved handbook also fails to improve student safety within the ESA voucher program, leaving children vulnerable to bad actors. The Board and ADE have failed to step in or recommend legislation to improve child safety, even after a current ESA vendor was arrested for sexual molestation of a minor at his martial arts studio.
The handbook was co-written by special interests like the DeVos-backed American Federation for Children, facilitating the Arizona Department of Education’s prioritization of Supt. Horne’s political agenda — and putting voucher subsidies for wealthy private academies over the needs of local public school students.