April 4, 2019 - 9:00 pm
Legislative Democrats have introduced a flurry of bills over the past few weeks, many of which are payoffs to left-wing special interests for helping create November’s blue wave. The trial bar, Big Labor and the education establishment all have high hopes for the 2019 session now that a Democrat occupies the Governor’s Mansion and the party enjoys majorities in both the Assembly and Senate.
Assembly Bill 462 is one particularly egregious example of political backscratching. The measure, championed by Assemblyman Tyrone Thompson, a North Las Vegas Democrat who chairs the Education Committee, would outlaw all new charter schools until 2021. Rest assured that if Democrats maintain control in Carson City, this date could be extended in perpetuity.
Crippling or killing the charter school movement is a priority for many teacher unions. Several recent high-profile teacher strikes — in Los Angeles and West Virginia, for instance — have been less about pay and more about kneecapping the expansion of charter campuses.
In Nevada, enrollment in charters has exploded over the past 14 years, from 500 kids in 2005-06 to almost 48,000 this year. Many parents are speaking loudly and clearly that they prefer more options when it comes to educating their children.
This represents a dire threat to the education establishment and the teacher unions. Most charter campuses are nonunion and thus have more leeway to deal with staffing and other issues. That’s the whole point. This makes the teacher unions unhappy. They are eager to use their political clout to keep parents and students — and the money they bring — captive to the traditional public schools.
“We’re just concerned,” Ruben Murillo, president of the Nevada State Education Association, said, “about the quality, the transparency, the lack of accountability when it comes to charter schools.”
Sure. And the Las Vegas cab cartel is “just concerned” with consumer safety in its battle to eradicate Uber and Lyft.
Mr. Murillo’s comment is astounding for its lack of self-awareness. Accountability? Struggling charters get shut down. Failing public schools get more money. A system that suppresses alternatives — such as the one AB462 promotes — personifies the word “unaccountable” because it eliminates competition that might force improvement and innovation. Mr. Murillo’s union has a record of fleeing accountability, not promoting it.
Legislative Democrats have for decades protected Nevada’s hidebound education interests. This will continue unless parents who believe charters can be a valuable option for their children make their objections known to AB462. They should also put lawmakers on notice that there will be a price to pay at the polls for those who put the interests of the teacher unions above Nevada’s students.
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