Arizona to Spend $40 Million on Tutoring to Combat COVID-Era Learning Loss

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne announced a tutoring program with hopes to combat the negative consequences of learning loss during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The $40 million program intended to pay public school teachers an additional $30 an hour if they take part in the program starting Oct. 2. According to a news release, private tutoring companies will also be allowed to take part.

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Arizona Education Superintendent Tom Horne Advises Schools to Not Permit Biological Males in Biological Females Restrooms

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne (R) released a statement on Thursday “strongly advising” all schools statewide not to enact policies that permit biological males from using biological females’ restrooms, locker rooms, and showers.

According to Horne (pictured above), his statement was prompted by recent questions and concerns from outraged parents about school policies permitting biological males to use biological females’ restroom facilities, saying they may remove their children from schools that allow this in Arizona.

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Arizona Gov. Hobbs Calls ESAs ‘Unsustainable’ over $320 Million Shortfall Despite May Warning

Governor Katie Hobbs launched new criticisms against the Empowerment Savings Accounts (ESA) program, the school choice initiative allowing all Arizona families to direct education spending to charter or private schools, calling ESAs “unsustainable” and “unaccountable” after reporting the program is estimated to cause a shortfall in the Arizona General Fund.

Total costs for the program are estimated to be $943 million, according to the governor. This will leave the General Fund with a potential shortfall of $319.8 million. Revenues for the General Fund are estimated to be $17.9 billion.

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Arizona Department of Education Cries Foul over Attorney General Mayes’ ESA Warning

The head of the Arizona Department of Education pushed back on a press release issued by Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes, who warned that students participating in the Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESA) program, Arizona’s growing school choice initiative, lose some rights and face unscrupulous vendors or scams after leaving the public school system.

A press release issued by Mayes’ office warned Arizonans that students entering the ESA program “give up rights,” especially from bills aimed at protecting children with disabilities and to access to their children’s educational records. Mayes lamented, “Families should not be denied admission or kicked out of private schools because of a child’s disabilities” and said she wants “families to know that if vendors or private schools” are abusing the program, “the Attorney General’s Office will investigate to the fullest extent of our authority.”

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Arizona Attorney General Strikes Down Superintendent Horne’s Dual Language Ban

Attorney General Kris Mayes announced Monday that the Arizona Department of Education cannot stop funding schools because of their choice to teach English language learners with dual language programs.

“Only those school districts and charter schools found by the Board to be noncompliant are barred from receiving monies from the English language learner fund,” Mayes wrote in her opinion.

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Education Hotline Allegedly Catches CRT in Arizona Schools, Violating State Law

Since Department of Education Superintendent Tom Horne introduced the Empower School Hotline in March, the department has received calls and emails reporting critical race theory in Arizona schools.

The Department of Education said Thursday that parents had called the hotline with evidence that schools have offered students content regarding gender issues forbidden under state law. Examples include keeping pronoun changes within the classroom, or providing emancipation paperwork to all students in a Gay-Straight Alliance club meeting.

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Arizona Freedom Caucus Takes Stand on Lifting School Spending Limit: Only If it Comes with Reforms

The Arizona Freedom Caucus (AFC) announced it would take a stand against lifting the highly contested aggregate expenditure limit (AEL), which puts a cap on public school spending unless it comes with systemic reform.

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State Representative Announces Hearing to Discuss Arizona Public School Spending Limitation

Newly Elected State Rep. Matt Gress (R-Maricopa), Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Budgetary Funding Formulas, announced a hearing for Thursday to review the public school spending cap created by the aggregate expenditure limit (AEL).

“The purpose of this committee hearing is to ensure the record investments we’ve made in K-12 education over the last eight years are effectively and responsibly spent so that we can properly invest in our state’s future leaders,” said Gress.

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Automatic Recount Coming for Arizona Attorney General and Other Races

Counties across Arizona have finished counting votes for the 2022 General Election, but several races remain too close to call and are within range of an automatic recount, including the highly contested race for Arizona Attorney General.

“We’re not done fighting and we are optimistic the recount will further expose the gross incompetence and mismanagement by Maricopa County officials that disenfranchised and silenced the voices of so many Arizona voters,” tweeted Abe Hamadeh, the Republican nominee for the position.

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Arizona’s Down-Ticket Races Highly Competitive, New Poll Shows

Further down the ballot, Arizona voters should expect some highly-competitive statewide races, a new poll shows.

While the incumbent treasurer appears to be in a position to win her re-election bid, the races for secretary of state, attorney general, and superintendent of public instruction are tighter, according to OH Predictive Insights’ (OHPI) latest Arizona Public Opinion Pulse (AZPOP) poll. In the latter three races, no candidate leads by more than three points, making them statistically tied because of the poll’s 3.77% margin of error.

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