Voting pro-school choice candidates into office is the first step to strengthening the Nevada’s public education system, state Sen. Michael Roberson said during a rally Tuesday night.
The second step is for parents and others to continue advocating for school choice both before and during the 2019 legislative session.
“Minds are being changed, but it’s not without consistent, continuous effort,” said Roberson, who’s running for lieutenant governor. “We can’t just wake up come February 2019 without doing anything in the interim and assume that we’re going to get funding for ESAs (education savings accounts).”
Roberson and three other Republican candidates — gubernatorial candidate Adam Laxalt, 4th Congressional District candidate Cresent Hardy and 3rd Congressional District candidate Danny Tarkanian — worked to energize a crowd of about 80 people at the East Las Vegas Community Center around the idea of school choice and urged them to the polls. Early voting begins Saturday.
“This is a hard-fought battle, and we are slowly but surely winning this battle, but ultimately it’s up to all of you,” Roberson said. “After the election, we’ve got to get to work. This is not anti-public education. It’s not a this or that. It’s an all-of-the-above approach.”
The ESA program remains on the books in Nevada but was not funded during the 2017 session, when Roberson was the senate minority leader. ESAs would allow families to use state money for an array of education choices.
However, another school choice program, Opportunity Scholarships, received $2o million in funding during the 2017 session. But both, Roberson said, are in jeopardy if people fail to voice their support.
“We have to be willing to say that we won’t accept not moving forward, that this is an important innovation that will help kids from all walks of life, from all over the state,” he said.
Laxalt also touted his support for career and technical education, in which students learn a specific skill and can be ready for high-paying and high-demand jobs upon graduation. He also talked about his plan to recruit quality teachers to Nevada through a program called Teachers for Tomorrow, in which the state pays for the cost of a higher-education degree and students commit to teaching in the state for several years.
“It gives us some flexibility to incentivize where we want teachers to go … and the type of education emphasis that we want,” Laxalt said. “I’m very excited about it. Hopefully we’ll have bipartisan support.”