There might be 50 ways to leave your lover, but even Albert Einstein himself would have trouble adding up all the excuses the left uses to explain why so many of the government-run schools suck eggs.
The No. 1 excuse, of course, is lack of money.
No. 2, naturally, is … lack of money.
No. 3 is … yep, lack of money.
And then somewhere way down on the list they blame, in no particular order, the students themselves, their parents, bureaucrats, school boards, Republicans, conservatives, the government, No Child Left Behind, over-crowded classrooms … and then back to lack of money, lack of money and … lack of money.
Of course, those of us in the real world know there are really only two main reasons why the government schools are, at best, bastions of mediocrity: the teacher unions and a lack of competition.
As Donald Trump wrote in “The America We Deserve” back in 2000: “We’ve got to bring on the competition — open the schoolhouse doors and let parents choose the best school for their children. Education reformers call this school choice, charter schools, vouchers, even opportunity scholarships. I call it competition — the American way.”
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to get rid of the teacher unions. Like herpes, once you get ’em you got ’em for good. But there is absolutely something we can do to help break the government monopoly on schools in Nevada and inject a little all-American competition into the system. And yes, money is the key … but not more of it. We just need to “spread the wealth” around a bit.
As it is today, the only way for many parents to afford some semblance of private school choice is for both parents to work five or six jobs for 23 out of 24 hours a day. Or move to the ‘burbs where the government schools don’t suck quite as badly as the urban ones.
Enter Nevada Assemblyman Ed Goedhart, R-Amargosa Valley, and the parental choice bill he’ll be introducing this session: the Excellence In Education and Increased Opportunities Act (EIEIO). The essence of this proposed constitutional amendment is as follows:
“In addition to establishing and maintaining public schools in each school district, the Legislature shall provide a companion program of per pupil funding which provides Education Tax Rebates to parents or legal guardians of eligible students who choose to enroll them in private schools of their choice, using some of the funds that would otherwise be paid to a school district on behalf of that student.”
Amen and hallelujah!
Every parent and grandparent in Nevada pays taxes that subsidize the public education system. Therefore, every student should be entitled to at least a portion of that education tax subsidy whether they attend a government school or a private school, including religious schools. It’d be like the G.I. Bill or the Millennium Scholarship, but for elementary and secondary school students.
The act proposes that the tax rebate equal “seventy-five percent of the basic support guarantee per pupil, as established by law for the public schools.” The remainder of the money would stay in the government school system — which means the government schools will still be getting some money to educate students it no longer has in its classrooms.
If the proposal passes, class sizes in the government schools — as well as the need to build expensive new government schools — will shrink almost overnight at no additional cost to taxpayers. The tax rebates will result in the private sector stepping up to fill the demand for increased educational opportunities, including storefront schools and new online “virtual” schools.
The Excellence In Education and Increased Opportunities Act would be a win-win for everybody concerned — except the teacher unions. So expect them to pull out all the stops to strangle this innovative proposal in its cradle. And when they do, taxpayers who want better schools for less money will need to tell them to shut up and sit down.
It’s long past time to give choice a chance … EIEIO!
Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a nonprofit public policy grass-roots advocacy organization. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.