School Choice: Full Education Competition Comes To Nevada

Jun 3, 2015 by

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Education Reform: Nevada has enacted what might be the most sweeping school-choice program yet — a path-breaking win for educational freedom that has left teachers unions wondering what hit them.

The law, signed Friday, gives 450,000 public school kids the option of using taxpayer funds — through what are called “education savings accounts” or ESAs — to help pay the tuition for private schools. Families can use funds in these accounts to also pay for textbooks and tutoring.

Students from families with incomes under 185% of the federal poverty level may receive tuition aid of 100% of the statewide average of public school per-pupil costs. Kids in families with incomes above 185% of the poverty level, roughly $45,000 for a family of four, will qualify for up to 90% of the public school per-student cost.

This is big. Really big. About five states already have ESA programs, but no other state comes close to universal student eligibility. Nevada will soon have full competition in education between public and private schools.

Some elite and pricey private schools may be out of reach for ESA-funded kids. But most private schools will find ways to supplement financial aid for ESA kids.

This will force public schools to perform and be held accountable. That’s what competition does: It drives poor performers out of business.

Poor Hispanic parents, for example, will be able to shop around if they’re not happy with what and how much their kids are learning. This will also allow parents to find schools that fit their kids’ special needs and special talents.

Musically gifted kids can attend music schools; math brainiacs can find schools that specialize in science and engineering, and so on. We anticipate that demand will create supply and new schools will prop up all over the state. A Google or Apple school anyone? Let a thousand classrooms open.

This will also serve as a test case on school choice for other states to observe. Now that one domino in the state school empire has fallen, we hope others follow.

The folks at the Friedman Foundation tell us that with almost half a million children eligible, Nevada’s is “the most comprehensive school choice bill ever because all kids get private options.”

As Milton Friedman used to say, “competition will force dramatic change in schools.” And given the sorry plight of so many of our government-run schools, that change can only run in one happy direction.

Source: School Choice: Full Education Competition Comes To Nevada – Investors.com

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