94°F
weather icon Clear

Let’s remove Kirner’s ‘trigger’ lock for the children

In a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, columnist Dan Henninger declared the ongoing failure of inner-city schools “remains the greatest moral catastrophe in the political life of the United States.”

Personally, I think Mr. Henninger is understating the problem. Henninger was writing about the future of public charter schools in New York City, noting the Democrat candidate for mayor, “under pressure from the city’s teachers union, will start demanding rent payments from public charter schools that now operate rent-free in the same buildings occupied by traditional public schools.”

Apparently, New York City public charter schools, which are public schools funded with public taxpayer dollars, are allowed to operate in public school buildings, which, of course, makes all the sense in the world.

Alas, no such provision exists in Nevada, which, of course, makes no sense whatsoever. It also goes a long way toward explaining why there are so few charter schools in Nevada — just 35. (By contrast, in neighboring Arizona there are more than 525.)

Fact is the greatest impediment to opening more public charter schools here is the humongous startup costs involved in finding a building in which to operate the school. Which is also one reason why so many new charter schools are opening as “virtual” schools, in which students participate online rather than attending a brick-and-mortar campus.

Granted, a recent change in Nevada law has set up a program for lending money to startup charter schools, but that’s still not good enough. Loans have to be repaid, ultimately with taxpayer dollars anyway.

So why can’t vacant or underperforming regular public school buildings be converted into a public charter school?

Indeed, a bill that would have allowed the parents of an underperforming public school to vote to convert it to a public charter school passed in the state Senate this year. Unfortunately it was killed in the state Assembly by Republicans — led by Assemblyman Randy Kirner, R-Reno — who voted against this “parental trigger” bill because Kirner claimed, wrongly, that it violated the state prohibition against using a public school building for a public charter school.

Whether or not the state law prohibiting the use of public buildings to house a public charter school would also prohibit “parental trigger” conversions isn’t the point. The point is if we want more charter schools in Nevada — and we’d better, if we ever hope to actually improve education here — we need to completely remove this ridiculous prohibition in state law.

Public charter schools are public schools that should be allowed to use public school buildings just like the other public schools.

Is there a legislator out there who cares enough about the education of our children to propose removing Assemblyman Kirner’s “trigger” lock?

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

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Power of people remains at polls

This Sunday is the first anniversary of the Women’s March. Don’t fret, I’m not writing a commercial. I’m looking at a very abbreviated history of individuals coming together to make a statement.

Potential for adventure in city gets real

Reality TV and Boulder City are starting to become a common thing. Recently, the HGTV show “Flip or Flop Vegas” filmed in our quaint town, with an episode promised to air this upcoming summer. However, the likes of Tommy Lee (Mötley Crüe) and Gear Duran aka Gear Boxxx (“Skin Wars”) have had Boulder City ties for sometime now.

Finding right school for child’s needs key to success

Later this month, schools, homeschool groups, organizations and individuals in Nevada and across America will work together to raise awareness about the importance of opportunity in K-12 education.

Mayor should consider re-election

Who will run for mayor in 2019? I realize that we are over a year away from people even putting their names in the hat. Yet, if they are serious about running, they need to start thinking now.

Awards for revitalization efforts, faith in city well-deserved

At our final 2017 City Council meeting, I had the privilege of presenting two Mayor’s Awards, one to All Mountain Cyclery and the other to The Tap, for their 2017 business corridor revitalization efforts. These two businesses weren’t the only ones that worked to spruce up our commercial sector, but the scale of their projects and their commitment to reinvest in our community really stood out to me.

Eastwood accepts ‘Gauntlet,’ runs with it

Actor, producer and writer Clint Eastwood came through Boulder City for a 1977 film titled “The Gauntlet.” While Eastwood was always on board to direct the Warner Bros. picture, he wasn’t the first or second choice to star in the film.

Though popular, bitcoin not wave of future

Bitcoin. It’s everywhere. You see it in the news. People talk about it around the water cooler, and it appears on almost every internet ad. I wouldn’t be surprised if it started appearing in local paper opinion pieces.

Veteran uses talents to help other veterans

Robert Serge served in the United States Navy for 20 months as part of an ordnance laboratory test facility. As he puts it, “We designed harbor mines and stuff like that.”

Smiles plant seeds of hope

Before I sit down to write any commentary, I spend lots of time daily thinking about how to begin. What happened today? What needs addressing? I take so many things so seriously, I end up changing the focus daily. As soon as I submit one commentary, I begin thinking about the next. This one took longer than usual.