#What53rd and How it Can Help Families in Arizona Fight for ESAs
In a huge win for families and students in Arizona, earlier this year, the state’s legislature expanded educational opportunity to every child through the Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program. The program, which was officially signed by Governor Doug Ducey, would allow education dollars to follow each individual child to the school or learning environment they need. The ESA program would have helped thousands of children a year receive a quality education.
However, in an attempt to block students from accessing ESAs, opponents formed a group called Arizona SOS. For months, the opposition has been petitioning to stop the ESA program from moving forward. Their efforts have resulted in boxing out many students who are low-income and have no other way to attend the school of their parent’s choice. Now hundreds of families are in agonizing limbo because they expected to have access to a better school – but this petition process brought it to a grinding halt right when school starts. It’s very unfortunate for these families who are low-income and desperately needing a lifeline with their child’s education.
There may be a light at the end of the tunnel for these families. The opposition, in their anger and hostility against school choice and those who need it, may have burned themselves.
While collecting signatures, Arizona SOS may have made a fatal flaw on every single one of their petitions during their relentless efforts to deny all children in the state access to education savings accounts. They stunningly misidentified the legislative session – and therefore, the law – that they wanted to target for the referendum.
It all revolves around this: fifty-third. You may see #What53rd trending on your Twitter feeds because of it.
This mistake could derail their entire referendum campaign if the state follows the “strict compliance” requirement pertaining to Arizona’s signature gathering process. Here’s why:
The school choice law, SB1431, under attack by opponents, is an expansion of ESAs as an option for every child in Arizona. It was passed in the first regular session of the 53rd legislature.
On the petition sheets, they said that SB 1431 was enacted in the “fifty-third session” of the legislature.
In fact, the “fifty-third session” does not exist.
The tweets below demonstrate how big of a mistake this is for opponents. It just may be what saves the rights of all Arizona children, who need school choice, to have access to ESAs.
Engage on social media using #What53rd and help spread the word that families in Arizona can no longer be denied the opportunity at a great education. Thousands of children’s brighter futures are at stake!
Just spoke to attorney sympathetic to @arizona_sos: “It’s a really major f-up.” https://t.co/FqOZOj4cux
— BrahmResnik (@brahmresnik) August 12, 2017
Moms rock! #what53rd is the big question? @AmyOliverShow @JudgeJeanine #azleg #azpol #momsknowbest https://t.co/RwdSSKLi69
— AFP Arizona (@ArizonaAFP) August 15, 2017
Fatal flaw? Non-existent 53rd session in SOS wording. Big no no. SOS may need Miracle on 53rd St. #What53rd @ArizonaAFP? https://t.co/f6ARPcsRIv
— AZFed for Children (@AZEdChoice) August 14, 2017
The anti-choice people apparently need a lesson in counting. #what53rd https://t.co/5G9Wa1YXzy
— Chalon Hutson (@ChalonHutson) August 14, 2017
So this was something that was actually written…What other laws don’t matter to this columnist I wonder? #What53rd pic.twitter.com/3XBftCNfzL
— Tommy Schultz (@Tommy_USA) August 14, 2017