Information for Parents

Arizona is a national leader in the school choice movement offering more options than any other state in the country!

Arizona gives parents a wide variety of educational choices, including private school tax credit scholarships, the nation’s first education savings account program, charter schools, and online learning programs.

Arizona’s School Tuition Organizations (STOs) administer the private school tuition tax credit programs for parents who choose private education.

Scholarships through Arizona’s tax credit programs give ALL families the opportunity to choose a private school education for their children.

The Arizona School Tuition Organization Association (ASTOA) is an STO membership organization created to defend and advance the tuition tax credit programs and support the STOs as they provide scholarships to thousands of Arizona students.

Why choose a private school?

Your children’s education is one of the most important responsibilities you have as a parent.

Finding the right school for your child can feel like a daunting task, especially in Arizona, where there are so many options available — private, charter, district, online — how will you decide?

If you are leaning towards private education for your child, consider the following:

1.  Safety and Individual Attention

Recent surveys report that parents often rank school safety at the top of the list of what they care about most when it comes to their children’s education.  Numerous studies have found that private schools experience fewer disciplinary problems and offer a more positive environment.

In addition, most parents want their children to have as much personal attention as possible.  According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), in public schools, the average class size is 25 students, compared to 19 students per class in private schools.  Correspondingly, private schools have a better student-to-teacher ratio of 12.2 students compared to 16.1 students per teacher in public schools.

2.  Better Academics

Private schools are not required to follow a particular curriculum or “teach to a test”.  As a result, they can focus on teaching how to think, as opposed to teaching what to think. Private schools have the freedom to be innovative and can create a curriculum that emphasizes academic excellence. Known for higher standards and expectations, private schools are accountable only to the parents and students they serve.

In a report titled Private Schools: A Brief Portrait the U.S. Department of Education had this to say about the academic performance of private schools:

  • Private school students generally perform higher than their public school counterparts on standardized achievement tests.
  • Private high schools typically have more demanding graduation requirements than do public high schools.
  • Private school graduates are more likely than their peers from public schools to have completed advanced-level courses in three academic subject areas.
  • Private school students are more likely than public school students to complete a bachelor’s or advanced degree by their mid-20s.

In addition, The National Center for Education Statistics periodically administers the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) to test the knowledge and skills of the nation’s students in grades 4, 8, and 12. Students in private schools consistently score well above the national average.

3.  Parental Involvement

Private schools expect parents to be actively involved in their child’s education, reinforcing and encouraging their child’s success.  Private schools are tuition-based, and although scholarship programs are available, there are oftentimes fees that parents need to be prepared for.  In most cases, private schools do not provide transportation.