Nevada’s lawmakers have a constitutional duty to promote the education of Nevada’s children. So with the state‑run public schools overwhelmed by one of the most rapid population growth rates in the country, the Legislature turned for help last year to the people who know Nevada’s children best: their parents.
Nevada’s new education savings account (ESA) program gives parents the ability to customize their child’s education. Parents who choose to participate in the program receive about $5,100 in an ESA to spend on whatever combination of schools, tutors, textbooks, special instruction, exam fees or other educational services they see fit for their child. If they do not participate, nothing changes: Their child may attend their assigned public school.
Who could find fault with this approach? Two groups of lawyers on a crusade to insulate public schools from competition, that’s who. These groups, which have attacked ESAs in the Nevada courts, will tolerate no new ideas in education. If your child’s public school is letting her down, they say, the only thing for the government to do is to throw more money at the school — forget about asking you, her parent, how you might spend that money instead.