Vouchers will end government’s education monopoly


About the only thing Republicans did right in the 2015 legislative session was to place a stake squarely over the heart of Nevada’s failure factories and took the first big whack at the public school monopoly that has been killing the futures of so many of our children for so many years.

Officially, they’re called “education savings accounts,” because the teachers union has been so successful in equating the word “voucher” with some kind of deadly, incurable disease. But a rose by any other name …

The bottom line is that parents will now have the right and the financial ability to choose to send their kids to a nongovernment school rather than the union-operated/government-mismanaged neighborhood public school they’ve been assigned to.

Which means low- and middle-income families will finally have the same ability to choose a nongovernment education provider that wealthy families have always enjoyed.

Which means parents will finally have the same right to choose their kid’s teacher just as they have the right to choose their kid’s doctor or dentist — as well as the financial means to exercise that right.

Which means low- and middle-income parents will finally have the same right to choose their kid’s school just as they have the right to choose their family’s grocery store — as well as the financial means to exercise that right in much the same way many families currently do with food stamps.

Which means low- and middle-income parents will finally have the same right to choose their kid’s school just as they have the right to choose their family’s house or apartment — as well as the financial means to exercise that right in much the same way many families do with housing vouchers.

In the past, legislators created “empowerment schools.”

This year they created “empowerment parents.”

Universal vouchers are the one school reform that’s never been tried. It’s also the one school reform that actually has a chance to fix public education. Not public schools. Public education. There’s a difference. A huge difference.

The ESA bill was championed by Nevada State Sen. Scott Hammond, but the true driving force behind its creation was the conservative Nevada Policy Research Institute, which has been providing the intellectual ammunition in favor of this dramatic reform opportunity for years.

A hearty high five to both!

Of course, Republicans never blow an opportunity to blow an opportunity. As such, they blew this one by prohibiting homeschoolers and families who have already made the sacrifice of paying for a private school education from receiving the Hammond vouchers.

But overall this was, in fact, a win. And a big one. It’s now time to nail the government education monopoly’s coffin shut before the blood-sucking teachers union can revive the corpse.

Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a conservative grass roots advocacy organization. He can be reached at www.muthstruths.com.