Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com
Sen. Debbie Lesko (R) has a striker bill that would expand private vouchers and as I perused the list of students who already qualify for them I was struck by the absence of one category of student.
Arizona Revised Statutes § 15-2401 defines an ESA qualified student as an Arizona resident who is any of the following:
· Identified as having a disability,
· Attends or is eligible to attend kindergarten at a D or F school or school district,
· A previous scholarship recipient of the ESA program or the Arizona Scholarships for Pupils with Disabilities Program,
· A child whose parent or guardian is a member of the armed forces and on active duty or was killed in the line of duty (these students are exempt from any further requirements for qualification),
· A child who is a ward of the juvenile court, or
· A child who is a sibling of a current or previous ESA recipient.
The qualifying student must also meet at least one of the following requirements:
· Attended a governmental primary or secondary school as a full-time student for at least 100 days of the prior fiscal year and who transferred under a contract to participate in an ESA,
· Previously participated in the ESA program,
· Received a scholarship from a School Tuition Organization and continues to attend a qualified school,
· Was eligible for an Arizona Scholarship for Pupils with Disabilities, or
· Has not previously attended a governmental primary or secondary school but is currently eligible to enroll in a kindergarten or preschool children with disabilities program.
Where are the “gifted children”?* I ask this because, as everyone knows and as Stuff White People Like cheekily put it, an astounding 100% of white children are gifted. We’re totes kidding about the 100% part, since white kids in working class and poor families are excluded. But boy howdy do they breed geniuses on the regular in places like Fountain Hills and Arcadia! The current voucher – excuse me, “empowerment scholarship” categories do apply to the majority of Arizona students but are effectively useless for most since their families are unable to afford private school even with the few thousand dollars ESAs provide. Opening them to “gifted” children would blow the roof off of any pretense of income caps and allow affluent parents to feel virtuous about tax dollars subsidizing Chad and Bitsy at Brophy and Xavier.
I’m honestly surprised they haven’t made this happen yet. Seriously, watch how many white kids from rich families would instantly get a “gifted” evaluation the second vouchers – excuse me, “empowerment scholarships” were opened up for that.
*Yes, I know, some children really are gifted and need programs to accommodate them. It reminds me of gluten allergies, which some people have and consuming gluten makes them miserable. But there are also a lot of people running around being giant pains in the ass demanding gluten-free everything with no medical basis for it.