Arizona is a leader in providing families with school choice options.
Public School Choice:
Arizona offers choice through open enrollment within its public education system. The Education Commission of the States reports that the state has inter-district and intra-district open enrollment, which “allows students to enroll in any school within the school district in which they live or in any school located within other school districts in the state.”
Private School Choice:
Arizona offers a variety of different private school choice options. The first allows individuals to receive a tax credit for donating to a scholarship organization, and in 2011, over 25,000 scholarships were awarded to students throughout the state. The Corporate School Tuition Organization Tax Credit allows businesses to receive a tax credit for donating to a scholarship organization, and in 2011, over 4,600 students received scholarships. Lexie's Law is another form of a corporate tax credit that allows a corporation to receive a tax credit when it donates to a nonprofit organization that provides scholarships to children with special needs and to children in foster care.
According to the Center for Education Reform, Arizona has a strong charter school law because it specifies many different authorizers, such as a state board and universities. Charter schools also are granted automatic waivers from most rules and regulations, and many are given financial assistance. The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools reports that as of 2013, about 145,000 students are enrolled in 535 charter schools throughout the state.
According to the Keeping Pace with K-12 Online Learning report, although Arizona does not have a state-wide virtual school, the state does offer a variety of full-time and part-time online options for students via the Arizona Online Instruction (AOI) program. AOI allows any district or charter school in the state to apply to offer online courses statewide. Since 2010, the number of online programs throughout the state has increased from 36 to 65. Enrollment in online education in Arizona has also grown, and during the 2010-2011 school year, 36,000 students (a 20 percent increase over the previous year) were enrolled in online education in some form.
In 2011, Arizona passed a law to offer educational choice through innovative Education Savings Accounts (ESAs). ESAs allow students to use up to 90 percent of state education funding for a variety of schooling options: private school tuition, online education, tutoring costs, or even college courses.
<a href="http://www.schooldatadirect.org/app/location/q/stid=3/llid=111/stllid=204/locid=3/stype=/catid=-1/secid=-1/compid=-1/site=pes">Click here for detailed information </a>on Arizona's public school system and see below for school choice contacts and a history of school choice legislation in Arizona.