ERIC Number: ED462471
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001-Sep
Reference Count: N/A
A Model To Avoid: Arizona's Tuition Tax Credit Law.
Pathak, Arohi; Holmes, Dwight; Mincberg, Elliot; Neas, Ralph G.
In 1997, Arizona enacted a tuition tax credit law. Supporters consider this law a model for improving public education. Opponents believe it is a model for seriously undermining public education, particularly public schools serving poor children. The two types of tax credits Arizona offers are a private tuition tax credit and tax credit for public school extracurricular activities. Over 3 years, the Arizona policy has largely subsidized education for middle- and upper-income families, while lower-income families have not benefited. Opponents argue that this law diverts significant resources away from programs that could otherwise support and strengthen public education for poor and disadvantaged students. There are few regulations governing the operation of school tuition organizations (STOs). State officials demand little accountability from STOs and do not require them to provide scholarships based on financial need or previous inability to attend private school. Evidence shows that a large majority of STOs provide tuition payments primarily to religious schools, often specific schools that reflect the religious views of the affiliates of the STOs. Arizona taxpayer dollars going to public schools or private STOs under the tax credit law are not donations, as supporters call them. While a state can earmark funds based on the needs of public schools and students, Arizona's tuition tax credit interferes with this ability, effectively reallocating funds in a patently inequitable manner that hinders school improvement and reinforces economic divisions. (SM)
Descriptors: Accountability, Disadvantaged Youth, Educational Vouchers, Elementary Secondary Education, Extracurricular Activities, Poverty, Private Schools, Public Schools, State Legislation, Tax Credits, Tuition
For full text: http://www.pfaw.org/issues/education/reports/arizona/AZ_tax_credits.pdf.
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: People for the American Way, Washington, DC.
Identifiers - Location: Arizona