ESA program added almost 50,000 students in the past year, state reports

WASHINGTON – The state added nearly 12,000 students to the Empowerment Scholarship Account program in the last quarter, bringing total enrollment to 61,689 at the end of June and renewing debates about the costs and benefits of the program.


Freeze on DACA approvals leaves thousands of Arizona migrants in limbo

WASHINGTON - An estimated 1.1 million undocumented individuals in the U.S. are eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals protection – 44,000 in Arizona - but fewer than half actually have coverage, as new applications have been frozen by ongoing court challenges.


Student loan repayments will hit economy; how hard depends on who’s being hit

WASHINGTON - When federal student loan payments resume Oct. 1, they could pull $71 billion a year out of the economy, $5.3 billion from Arizona. The pain could be real for borrowers - about 880,000 in Arizona - but will present only a "modest headwind" to the overall economy.


What’s in a name change? Too many hurdles, transgender advocates say

WASHINGTON - Activists say that Arizona is about in the middle of states in terms of the hoops transgender people have to jump through to amend their driver's license, birth certificate or other state-issued documentation. But that doesn't mean it's easy, they say.


Group mentor program in Tucson teaches male youth about healthy relationships

TUCSON – A mentoring program is using talking circles, adventure outings and overnight camping trips to help young men develop positive and healthy relationships. The goal is to give every boy in middle and high school access to safe and trusted men.

Young men and their mentors gather around a campfire at a Boys to Men camping weekend. (Photo courtesy of Boys to Men Tucson)

House dads: Gallego’s paternity leave shows slowly growing acceptance

WASHINGTON - Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Phoenix, was not the first House member to take paternity leave, but that doesn't mean it was considered routine either. But experts say it's becoming more common in private workplaces, and is starting to be "normalized" in Congress.


From hot issues to hot dogs, politicians turn to Threads to reach voters

WASHINGTON - Among the 100 million users who reportedly signed up last month for Threads, Meta's new social media platform, were Arizona politicians from both state and federal office and from both sides of the aisle.


Cut and confidence: Chicanos Por la Causa offers free back-to-school haircuts to boost confidence, help families

PHOENIX – Chicanos Por La Causa Community Center offered free haircuts for families to ensure everyone can look their best for the beginning of the school year.

Mayra Idalgo and Kenia Arechiga cut Yolanda Morenos’ hair during the back-to-school event hosted at Chicanos Por La Causa on July 26, 2023. (Photo by Evelin Ruelas/Cronkite News)

With pay lagging, school districts try other enticements to get teachers

WASHINGTON - Chino Valley Unified School District is building tiny houses in hopes of attracting teachers, just one of the ways school districts around Arizona are scrambling to attract and retain teachers in a state that offers some of the lowest salaries in the nation.


‘Very personal project’: Repurposed shipping containers provide alternative shelter for those experiencing homelessness

PHOENIX – The city of Phoenix has teamed up with nonprofit St. Vincent de Paul and metal fabrication company Steel + Spark to provide another shelter option using shipping containers.

The XWing consists of four containers that can sleep up to 20 people. People staying in these units will have access to all the resources provided at St. Vincent de Paul, including restrooms, showers, three meals a day and other services. (Photo by Evelin Ruelas/Cronkite News)

Valleywise Health expands access for young adults experiencing serious mental issues

PHOENIX – Valleywise Health is opening a second First Episode Center, an outpatient behavioral health center for young adults experiencing their first serious mental health episode. It can’t come soon enough. There is a dire need for programs that address mental health in young adults not just in Maricopa County but across the country, said Dr. Aris Mosley, a psychiatrist and medical director of the Valleywise Health First Episode Center in Avondale.

A counselor works with a patient at Valleywise Health’s First Episode Center in Avondale. (Photo courtesy of Valleywise Health)

Some back-to-school events go beyond backpacks and pencils and offer health care, groceries for entire families

PHOENIX – Some back-to-school events have moved beyond notebooks and backpacks and try to help the whole family with health care, groceries and haircuts. “If parents or grandparents aren’t happy and healthy, they can’t help their kids,” one partner said.

Isaac Elementary School District and United Healthcare gave away 1,000 backpacks full of school supplies during its joint back-to-school event at Isaac Middle School. (Photo by Kylie Werner/Cronkite News)