WINDOW ROCK — Gov. Doug Ducey recently made his first official trip to the Navajo Nation, where he met with tribal leaders, elected officials and members of the education community to tout a new education initiative that will benefit Native American children and families.
As part of his visit, the governor hosted a bill signing for legislation passed earlier this year that expands Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Account to children living on Native American reservations.
“I was proud to sign this important piece of legislation, joined by the very individuals who will benefit most,” Ducey said. “This was a great opportunity to reiterate my commitment to ensuring parental choice and education excellence for all Arizona students — regardless of where they live — and this bill reflects that priority.”
According to the Arizona Department of Education, Native American children have the lowest high school graduation rate in the state at 61 percent. Native children are less likely to graduate than any other ethnicity or group including students with special needs.
Arizona has the second largest Native American student population in the United States with approximately 55,000 students who live or attend schools on their reservation. The new ESA law gives students living on tribal land the option to use the program.
The legislation was sponsored by Sen. Carlyle Begay, D-Ganado, who also worked closely with the Arizona Department of Education to make the program accessible to families immediately after the law went into effect so they could start using the scholarships this current school year.
ESAs can be used to pay for private school tuition, online curriculum, home school expenses, books and educational therapies. The average funding for an ESA is $5,000.
For more information on the ESA program, visit the Arizona Department of Education ESA page.
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