Nevada’s new voucher program is the most radical in the nation. Of course, it is not called a “voucher” program, but “education savings accounts.” A rose by any other name. A stinkweed by any other name. You can call a stinkweed a rose, but it is still a stinkweed. The ESA will accomplish the same purpose as vouchers, by transferring public funds to private and religious schools.

 

Since the Republicans took control of the Legislature, school choice has been their top priority in education. This is their answer to the financial woes of Nevada’s underfunded public schools.

 

Says the article, “Nevada’s public schools are in the toilet. The Silver State consistently ranks near the bottom when it comes to education spending. Things got so dreary in the mid-2000’s that the state even amended its constitution with “Nevada Fund Education First,” a measure to ensure the education budget is determined before all other items. Even worse, Education Week ranked Nevada dead last in 2014 in a “Chance for Success” analysis that combined data on student achievement, state spending, and standards and accountability.” 

 

But why fund the schools when you can pass a school choice measure instead? The bonus is that you can call yourself a reformer as you are drawing even more money away from the schools that the majority of the state’s children attend.

 

Funny, the Nevada state constitution bars the use of public money for religious schools. Two-thirds of the private schools in Nevada are religious schools.

 

The Nevada Constitution states that, “No public funds of any kind or character whatever, State, County or Municipal, shall be used for sectarian purpose.” Anything ambiguous about that?

 

Nevada law also states in NRS 387.045 that, “No portion of the public school funds shall in any way be segregated, divided or set apart for the use or benefit of any sectarian or secular society or association.” Anything ambiguous about that?

 

Remember when conservatives used to be “strict constructionists” of state and federal Constitutions?

 

But that was then. Now, conservatives, led by ALEC, have set their sights on privatizing public education.

 

Don’t expect vouchers to reduce the achievement gaps between rich and poor: “It doesn’t promote better schooling for low-income [kids],” said Martin Carnoy, a professor at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education. “It’s going to benefit new private-school providers and current private-school providers…It’s welfare for the rich.”