A couple things I want you to pray for:
1) That current homeschooler groups would broaden their definition of homeschooling to include ESA contract homeschoolers. I have heard from several homeschoolers that have been denied community because they have ESA status. Those families likely have special needs children (because up to this time it was military, foster, or special needs). That is so sad to hear. They are homeschoolers just like any of us, the only difference is that they are taking back their tax dollars and using them for homeschool. I hope now these groups will have to reconsider their position now that ESA is not the exception but likely to become the norm. Pray for these leaders. The state does not define what homeschooling is. We do.
2) There is already opposition to this law. Save Our Schools AZ has vowed they will overturn this bill by referendum and they began their campaign the day Ducey signed the bill. Today, people will be showing up at their office to pick up petitions to gather signatures. The referendum process in AZ is you must obtain 5% signatures of the amount of the people who voted in the last gubernatorial election. That will be around 118,000 signatures needed. You’ve seen these people before, in front of the libraries asking you if you are a registered voter holding a clipboard with legal size paper that you are supposed to sign. If they are able to obtain these signatures by 9/24 then the new law will be “paused” and no one in the ESA expansion will be able to participate (the old ESA people are fine—this is in regards to the expansion). This will then go to the ballot to be voted on by the people in the 2024 election.
They feel confident they can overturn this again because they overturned the last ESA expansion in 2018. The voters voted it down 65%. BUT there are TWO big differences in my mind between then and now.
- In 2018, the ESA expansion CAPPED the ESA participants at 30,000—that includes everyone—special needs and all. Currently, there are 11,000 students in the current ESA program and that number grows every year. With around 1,200,000 total students in AZ that was only 2.5% of all AZ students could participate. A paltry amount. This was a horrible plan and even people who were in favor of ESA opposed this bill. Some of the largest pro-school choice organizations in the country were telling their followers to vote no on the ballot. They were concerned that it would stay locked at the 30,000 cap and never be changed. Now, in 2022, it’s a completely different story. Every pro-school choice organization is praising AZ. We are the talk of the country. This is THE bill that everyone was waiting for.
- The other big difference in the last 4 years is the liberal sin and depravity being forced upon children has stepped up to new audacious levels. I would imagine that a lot more people are in favor of school choice or at least understanding and tolerant of it now. Probably more than ever. Parents who never thought they would homeschool are doing so. Children are being pulled out of the public schools at a rapid rate. Public school enrollment is still down (including charter schools) and has not regained the pre-pandemic levels.
Pray that the referendum wouldn’t get enough signatures so the new law won’t be paused for 2 years. So many children in public schools can take that money and go to a private school. The average K-8th public school in AZ is $6500 which is the amount you get from ESA. There are many homeschooling families who can use this money and they ought to have the choice. That is what this is all about. CHOICE. This is liberty and freedom – that we get to have the ability to choose. And so long as it doesn’t affect the freedoms of the people who choose not to participate it is a great thing. And that is how it was set up. To be separate from legal homeschoolers so they can be their own thing and left alone. It was confusing to me at first that there are two “types” of homeschoolers, but I see the wisdom in that now.
Share this with everyone you know so that people won’t sign the referendum forms. I pray the summer is too hot to stop and sign…that people will be on vacation…praying they won’t get enough signatures.