Oh, happy day!

Have you ever gotten a song or lyrics stuck in your head? Well, that's been me since Sunday. For whatever reason, I just can't get the lyrics, "Oh, happy day!" out of my head — or my disposition. Okay, to be honest, I haven't really tried to get them out because despite the recent delays in ESA, I have been completely upbeat and positively charged about the program. Rather than having to look for the silver lining, it is just there.

Let me share with you why.

First and foremost, Nevada families couldn't have better advocates for this program than Treasurer Dan Schwartz and Attorney General Adam Laxalt. I'm not just saying that. They truly have been working effortlessly to protect and advance the Education Savings Account (ESA) program. I have been lucky enough to meet and get to know their team members. Every single person has a personal desire for the success of this program. Each team member takes to heart the more than 5,000 children and families waiting on this program. I can honestly say, staff at the Treasurer's office wants nothing more than to answer calls and emails. It truly pains them to not be available to you. Nevadans could not have more dedicated, committed and passionate advocates. They just couldn't.

But, it's not just Schwartz and Laxalt who support this program. Nevada's other Constitutional officers, Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, for instance, and Controller Ron Knecht and his assistant controller, Geoff Lawrence, are all doing their part to support ESA. I’m proud to say, I know personally how committed to ESA Geoff is. He used to be NPRI’s fiscal analyst and introduced ESAs to Nevada and analyzed them in the organization’s Solutions 2013 and Solutions 2015 publications. We also have numerous state senators and members of the Assembly advocating ESA. And, while we don't hear much about it, I'm told Governor Sandoval also supports the program.

Now, if I could just get a picture of all these distinguished folks, with all you parents together in front of our NevadaESA.com sign, wearing a #LetOurChildrenSucceed t-shirt, while tweeting, Facebooking and Instagraming your support… Oh, happy day!

Okay, for sure, another delay in the lawsuits had me grit my teeth a bit. But, to be honest, I’m also of the mind that at least now, everyone has had an opportunity to add their 2 cents. Granted, some groups took many dollars from nearly 5,000 Nevada children in putting in their 2 cents, but everyone’s now in and we can move on without any whining.

Adding the biggest skip in my step this week is all the parents I have talked to lately. Saturday, International Christian Academy invited me to share their booth at Spirit Fest. We passed out nearly 500 brochures. I, myself, spoke with probably 60 families one-on-one. I had a great time playing in the rain — yes, I did! — and informing parents about their new educational choice options, both ESA and the tax scholarship, and hearing their stories. To the sweet little girl in the orange jumpsuit with blue stars, “keep playing in the rain!” You are inspirational.

This past week, I talked to parents wanting to learn more. I’ve talked to parents who have already signed up for an ESA. I’ve talked to parents receiving the tax scholarship. I’ve talked to parents who don’t want the ESA, but offered to help support my effort because they believe in families having options. I’ve even helped parents on the ESA fence determine that their public school is the best fit for their child. And, that my friends, is the brightest silver lining of all. To know that Nevadan’s get it — ESAs are about educational choice and empowering parents to be strong, effective advocates for their child’s education and future — wherever that education comes from.

“Oh, happy day!”

Stay strong! And, #LetOurChildrenSucceed

~Karen

 

In case you missed it...

Fiscal policy:

Sometimes, the case for cutting government spending makes itself pretty obvious. A Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department lieutenant cashed in more than $268,000 of unused leave — boosting his total pay to $500,835 when he retired in 2015. As Robert Fellner, NPRI’s director of transparency research, pointed out, if so much leave is going unused, why was it given in the first place? (Read more)

Healthcare policy:

Nothing about Obamacare is working. Healthcare is not more affordable, comprehensive or accessible than it was before passage of the “Affordable Care Act.” In fact, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the implementation of Obamacare has led to roughly 9 million fewer people on private insurance plans than would otherwise be the case.  (Read more)

Climate and environmental:

The attorney general of the U.S. Virgin Islands is targeting a free-market think tank for questioning the theory of global warming. AG General Claude Walker served the Competitive Enterprise Institute with a subpoena for more than a decade’s worth of communications, statements and even private donor information related to their work on “climate change” issues. Walker’s harassment of the think tank is just the latest development in his investigation against ExxonMobil for “misleading the public about global warming.” (Read more)

Tax policy:

Tax day might be April 15th, but do you know which day is Tax Freedom Day? Tax Freedom Day represents the point in the year when average citizens have finally earned enough money to pay their annual tax obligation. Here in Nevada, the average citizen would have to work from January 1st straight through to April 21st in order to earn enough money to pay for their entire year’s tax bill. (Read more)

Free markets:

Sweden might be one of the world’s richest nations, but it wasn’t socialism that created its prosperity. “Imitate the stuff that brought us wealth, not the stuff that brought us ruin,” says Swedish writer and Cato Institute scholar Johan Norberg. Decades of taxing, spending, and a large government severely damaged Sweden’s economy — but tax reform, de-regulation, school choice, and partial privatization of the pension system has brought back new life and success to the European nation. (Watch the video)

 

Sharon J. Rossie
NPRI President

 

Good afternoon, everyone!

While we were all staring at that light at the end of the briefing process in Lopez, a quite a bit of maneuvering was happening, pushing the briefing phase out until the end of April.

For those of you newly joining the email list, Lopez is the northern Nevada lawsuit to stop Nevada’s Education Savings Account (ESA) program. This is the case that’s, at least for now, frozen the ESA program. An appeal of the injunction was filed by the State of Nevada (on behalf of Treasurer Dan Schwartz) and the case, on an expedited schedule, is in the briefing phase at the Nevada Supreme Court.

When last I updated, the Respondents (the Lopez Plaintiffs) were due to file their response to the State’s opening brief. The State would then have 10 days to file a reply — due April 11. Since then, several Amici briefs have been filed on behalf of the Respondents.

Now, it is typical to have these “friend of the court” briefs. In fact, it is so typical there are rules covering when such briefs are due. And, as expected, some amici briefs were previously filed… in accordance with court rules. However, several groups have sought, and received, from the Court an extension to file their legal briefs after the deadline — an extension which goes beyond the State’s deadline to file its reply brief.

“[T]he Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Southern Poverty Law Center, and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People asked the Nevada Supreme Court to extend the expedited briefing period to accommodate their amicus briefs in Lopez v. Schwartz,” noted a press release from the Treasurer’s office earlier today. “The Court granted their request, pushing the final deadline [for their briefs] to April 20.” Download file NV Treasurer Press Release ESA filings

It is unknown why the Supreme Court gave leave of the expedited schedule for these late filings.

In an effort to ensure the State of Nevada has an opportunity to reply to all legal arguments raised in this case, the State (the attorney general’s office) has requested an extension until April 29 to file their reply brief. Respondents filed a non-opposition response today.

So, what does all this legal maneuvering mean to you, the thousands of Nevada families and children waiting in limbo? It means you must wait longer for answers.

I know this probably isn’t much comfort, but please know, your frustration is felt by the Treasurer and Attorney General and they are working diligently to get answers for Nevada families.

Asking for some finality to the process, State Treasurer Dan Schwartz today pointed out that parents

… are tired of defense funds, legal centers, and other groups who show up late in court to protest a program that asks the questions, “if we have spent billions and billions of dollars on our K-12 schools, why is our state ranked 50 out of 50 in education? If our schools are doing such an outstanding job, why is the high school dropout rate close to 50%, and over 65% for Hispanic groups? Not one of these groups answers these questions.

Attorney General Adam Laxalt — firmly supporting Schwartz and the ESA program — also stated:

As we have done from day one, my office will continue to provide the very best defense of Nevada’s ESA program possible, while also seeking to secure certainty for the thousands of Nevada families affected by these lawsuits as quickly as possible.

While many people see me as doing my job in advocating ESAs, I want you to know that my role at NPRI is not just a “job.” It is truly my passion to help families do what they know is best for their children’s education and future. I wholeheartedly feel for your families and what you are enduring. I have lived through being a parent stuck in the system. And, I see the turmoil and stress this roller coaster means on families within my own circle of family and friends. Like you, I struggle to keep the Zen. In all honesty, I draw much of my strength from the support I get from you. Your kind words, your trust in me and the patience you as parents directly affected show, keeps me grounded.

I have to remind myself — sometimes often — that, as my emotions run high, it is important to continue to respect our government process. And, as challenging as it may be sometimes, to let the courts run their course. In the long run, Nevada ESAs will sit on a much more solid foundation. If any changes are truly needed, fair and honest treatment of the questions in the courts will mean a solid foundation for ESAs, parents and our children in the long term.

Get your network of friends and colleagues to visit NevadaESA.com and sign the ESA support petition.

It is the families of Nevada and our state’s honest leaders who will carry ESA beyond the court room, defense funds, legal centers, etc., and into the future. The petition sends the message to lawmakers that Nevada families want this program. If you put your address and email on the petition, we will be able to connect you with your lawmakers so you can make sure your elected representatives protect and secure the program.

Stay strong! And, #LetOurChildrenSucceed

~Karen

 

Time is almost up!

Just a friendly reminder, today is the last day for 2016’s first ESA enrollment period. If you haven’t submitted your application yet, you had better hustle to the Treasurer’s office in Carson City, or the Grant Sawyer building in Las Vegas by close of business today.

The applications must be received, not post-marked, by today for the Treasurer’s office to accept them. You can print off the application by clicking here, or from the Treasurer’s website.

Please remember, while the Treasurer is accepting applications that arrive, the office is not processing them. Applications are simply being filed until the injunction is lifted (notice my optimism). You will not hear back from the Treasurer’s office on the status of your application.

Also, as a reminder, if you filed an application for a child who’s five or six years old during the early application period, your acceptance letters are waiting to be sent out. They are on hold due to the injunction. The Treasurer’s office asks that you not submit another application.

Here is where you can drop off your applications:

Carson City:

Treasurer’s Office
101 N. Carson Street, Suite 4
Carson City, NV 89701

Las Vegas:

Grant Sawyer Building
Unclaimed Property office
555 E. Washington Ave, Suite 4200
Las Vegas, Nevada 89101

The next enrollment period is scheduled for May 2 – June 30th. As always, if you have any questions or need clarification, feel free to contact me.

Stay strong! And, #LetOurChildrenSucceed

~Karen

 

Happy Spring Break, All!

Last week was an amazing time in Reno and Carson City with Nicolette Johnston from the treasurer’s office, Donna Wix from the department of education and Deputy Solicitor General Joseph Tartakovsky from the attorney general’s office.  We talked to so many smart parents and educators excited about Nevada’s new educational-options laws and what they mean for Nevada’s future. I can’t wait to get back there and also connect with the rest of the State. Thank you to Brookfield School, Bethlehem Lutheran Elementary School and Sierra Lutheran High School. This outreach effort would not have been possible without your generosity and hospitality!

This update is going to be a quick one…

Applications

There is just one week left to send in applications for the 2016 Feb/March ESA application period. Please remember, while the Treasurer is accepting applications that arrive, the office is not processing them. Applications are simply being filed in a drawer until the injunction is lifted (I have faith). You will not hear back from the Treasurer’s office on the status of your application. Therefore, it would be best to send your application certified mail and keep your proof of receipt in case there is a question of delivery in the future. Do not send in your supporting documents yet — just the application.

Also, as a reminder, if you filed an application for a child who’s five or six years old during the early application period, your acceptance letters are waiting to be sent out. They are on hold due to the injunction. The Treasurer’s office asks that you not submit another application. Contact me if you’re freaking outJ.

Lawsuits

In the Lopez case (that’s the Carson City lawsuit sponsored by Educate Nevada Now), where the state is appealing to the Nevada Supreme Court and seeking to get the injunction lifted, briefing is still in progress.

The Respondents (the Lopez plaintiffs) have until this Friday to file their response to the opening statement that the Appellants (the State of Nevada) filed March 4. Yes, folks — that means six weeks have already gone by since this case was “expedited.” After the Respondents file their brief, the State will have 10 days to reply.

In Duncan — the ACLU lawsuit — all briefings on the motion to dismiss, preliminary Injunction and jurisdiction are now in the hands of Judge Eric Johnson. Hopefully, we will hear back soon.

Tax Scholarships (AB 165)

I know many of you are also interested in Nevada’s tax scholarship program. In fact, several families are combining ESA and the tax scholarship programs. So, I thought I would give a brief update. Admittedly, I’m not as versed in this program as I am in ESA. However, thanks to your inquiries, I am rapidly catching up. For now, here’s the application status on each of the registered Scholarship Granting Organizations (SGO):

Education Fund of Northern Nevada is now accepting applications for the 2016-17 school year. Don’t let the organization’s name dissuade Southern Nevada families from applying. EFNN must provide scholarships to students across Nevada if eligible— not just Northern Nevada families.

Dinosaurs and Roses, another Nevada based SGO, will begin accepting applications for returning families on May 6th. New applicants may apply beginning May 20th. SGO officials ask applicants to note there will be a brand new application for the 2016-17 school year. While the 2015-16 school year application is still online for parents to see what documents are needed to apply, the SGO will not accept the 2015-16 forms. 2015-16 applications will be returned!

AAA Scholarship Foundation, a national SGO, has opened applications as well. For applications for renewing students, click here. The deadline to apply is April 5. For applications for new students, click here. This deadline to apply is April 18.

It is important to note that AAA uses a more restrictive income-eligibility scale than does the State of Nevada. Under Nevada law, families living below 300 percent of the federal poverty line are eligible for the tax scholarship program. However, AAA’s sliding scale tops out at 250 percent.

Quick tip: Be sure to apply with ALL the Scholarship Granting Organizations.

As always, if you have any questions or need clarification, feel free to contact me. It is truly my pleasure to help you navigate these programs!

Stay strong! And, #LetOurChildrenSucceed

~Karen

 

Transparency should be more than a cause, it should be the norm

Every week, NPRI President Sharon Rossie writes a column for NPRI's week-in-review email. If you are not getting our emails, which contain our latest commentaries and news stories, you can sign up here to receive them.


 

This week was Sunshine Week — one dedicated across America to the importance of transparency in government.

Because sunlight’s effect on government waste and corruption tends to keep both in check, it’s a cause near and dear to our hearts, here at NPRI, and something we pursue every day.

But we’re not alone. Diverse groups, from across the political spectrum share our goal of exposing government’s inner secrets.

Transparency in government is of critical importance because it allows citizens to judge for themselves whether or not government is living up to its end of our social contract.

After all, when we’re talking about government actions, what we’re really talking about is the way in which government officials have decided to treat us and spend our money.

That’s right. Our money. Government has no wealth of its own, other than that which we give it, and generates no independent revenue. Every dollar the government spends toward any of its numerous projects must first be taken from the pockets of private citizens.

Isn’t it then natural for citizens to know how, exactly, their money is being spent?

Such as:

  • How many billions of dollars has the Clark County School District dished out on “capital improvement projects,” only to have 20-year-old buildings prematurely fall into disrepair?
  • What are local governments doing to reduce the hundreds of millions of dollars they have accumulated in unfunded liabilities?
  • How many tens of millions of our tax dollars has the Governor’s Office of Economic Development handed out to solar companies that are now threatening to flee the state?

These are all questions that aren’t always easy to answer. Not because of the complexity of the issues, but because government often goes out of its way to make citizens seeking answers face a bureaucratic nightmare.

Transparency, in the end, is about empowering voters, citizens and taxpayers and making government accountable.

It’s about taking power back from the political class and the bureaucrats who currently run the show.

Transparency, thus, has many cheerleaders — who frequently agree on few other issues. Sunlight on government is a cause supported by a wide and diverse number of publicly oriented watchdogs.

Here in Nevada, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Nevada Press Association, just to name a couple, are frequently on the same side as NPRI when it comes to this critical issue. And when that happens, it’s a pretty good sign that government’s preferred status quo just isn’t cutting it.

Happy Sunshine Week. Here at NPRI, we’ll keep working to make transparency the norm.

Warm regards,

Sharon J. Rossie
NPRI President and staff 


Remember, if you'd like to receive the latest from NPRI, sign-up for our emails here.

 

Remembering those who stood before us

Every week, NPRI President Sharon Rossie writes a column for NPRI's week-in-review email. If you are not getting our emails, which contain our latest commentaries and news stories, you can sign up here to receive them.


 

You learn something out of everything, and you come to realize more than ever that we're all here for a certain space of time, and then it's going to be over, and you better make this count. — Nancy Reagan

We will miss you, Nancy Reagan.

She was truly a first lady for the ages. Her devotion to the cause of liberty was eclipsed only by the love she had for her husband. And, in many ways, Ronald Reagan’s achievements as President of the United States were made possible by the storybook romance he and Nancy shared in their private lives.

The spring of love Ronald and Nancy shared was a source of confidence for the nation. As first lady, Nancy’s confidence in her husband gave him the conviction he needed to, literally, take on the world. Together, the two of them worked to advance liberty during a period in history plagued by totalitarianism, communism and overbearing government intrusion.

And they succeeded.

But Nancy’s sphere of influence was not limited only to her husband. Even as her dear Ronnie neared the end of his life, she continued to personify the grace and dignity for which she had been known as First Lady. She continued to stand strong for her convictions, always articulating her belief in individual rights, personal responsibility and expanded freedoms.

Sadly, today we say goodbye to this influential woman as she is laid to rest at the Reagan Presidential Library.

We at NPRI send our deepest condolences to her family, friends and everyone who worked with her.

Closer to home, we are experiencing a loss of our own.

Dick Young was a former board member at NPRI, and sadly we learned about his passing as well this last week. Often described as a quiet and humble man — though still commanding and resolute when necessary — Dick had a resounding passion and enthusiasm for limited government.

When Judy Cresanta first launched NPRI, Dick was there fighting beside her as she battled the IRS for our tax-exempt status. Just as we’ve seen in recent years, the machinery of government is often used as a political tool by entrenched special interests, and it was no different in the late 1980s and early 1990s when NPRI was just being formed.

But Dick refused to allow such overwhelming forces to intimidate Judy, or NPRI.  

“There are things far worse than war, and surrender is one of them,” he once said.

In the years that followed, he worked with Judy to overcome legal threats from special interests, harassment from lawmakers and outrage from advocates of big government. His devotion to our shared ideals left a permanent mark on our history.

On behalf of everyone at NPRI, we send our thoughts and our prayers to Dick’s family and friends.

Indeed, Nancy was right when she said that we’re all here for a limited time. As members of the liberty movement, it’s up to us to make it count.

Those before us certainly have.

Warm regards,

Sharon J. Rossie
NPRI President and staff 


Remember, if you'd like to receive the latest from NPRI, sign-up for our emails here.

 

ESA update

It’s hard to believe we are nearly two and a half months into 2016. Now I’m sure I say this every year, but I just can’t believe how quickly this year is flying by. Despite the disappointing start to 2016 for ESA in the Lopez case, this year has been flourishing with positivity and growing momentum in support of education savings accounts. Daily, I add people to this email list. Not a day goes by where I don’t get a call or email asking about the program, seeking help with an application, or asking me to speak.

Whether it’s one-to-one, a small group, or 500 people, it truly is my pleasure and I feel honored by your invitations to come to your homes, places of work, sports practices, churches, schools, and anywhere else you want to learn about ESA. In fact, next week, I will be in the Reno/Carson City area. There will be more information on that later this week. So, from all of us at NPRI, thank you for sharing NevadaESA.com with your networks and trusting us to help walk you and your friends through the process.

Speaking of walking through the process, there are a few things to report on the ESA lawsuit front.

Last Friday, the State of Nevada filed its Opening Brief with the Nevada Supreme Court in Lopez, the Northern Nevada injunction advocated by Educate Nevada Now — a coalition “powered by” the Jim Rogers Foundation, and, sponsored by its “founding partner” the Education Law Center, apparently the same group representing the Lopez plaintiffs in the lawsuit. The Respondents (Lopez plaintiffs) will have 21 days to respond. The State will then have 10 days to reply to that brief. So, believe it or not, three weeks have already passed since this case was expedited!

Urgency is not just a consideration in the Lopez case. Last Tuesday, the judge in Duncan, the Southern Nevada lawsuit brought by the ACLU of Nevada, also noted a sense of urgency to get this case moving. You may recall, the ACLU had listed 84 issues for discovery in their case challenging the constitutionality of ESA because families are able to choose and pay tuition for faith-based private schools with the ESA.

Judge Eric Johnson was very cognizant of, and, noted more than once during the hearing, that families of more than 4,000 children are in limbo and need to make decisions for the next school year. So, after several attempts to get this case moving in the process by narrowing the 84 discovery issues — to no avail — where the defendant parties conceded certain ACLU points, the judge ordered the parties to file Statements of Facts on the State’s Motion to Dismiss and the ACLU’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction by this Friday, March 11.

Now, I don’t regularly frequent court proceedings, so this may be a common thing, but I was certainly shocked when the ACLU then questioned the judge’s jurisdiction and authority over their motion for preliminary injunction. ACLU attorneys even referred to such a court decision as an “advisory opinion.”  I admit, I’m not a lawyer, but doesn’t it stand to reason, if the ACLU doesn’t believe the judge has authority or jurisdiction to decide their motion, that they would withdraw it? In any case, the judge has also ordered briefing on the question of his authority and jurisdiction due this Friday along with the Statement of Facts.

Quickly, let me share how outsiders see Nevada and more importantly you, the parents, families and community members. I was in a training recently, and a woman from a state which has had ESAs for a while, commented on just how inspired she is by the fire, drive and dedication of parents, ESA advocates and supporters in Nevada. She’s going back home carrying our flame.

In closing, be sure to sign and share our ESA petition on NevadaESA.com. I can email you a hardcopy to take to others. Just drop me a quick note.

Stay Strong! And #LetOurChildrenSucceed

~Karen

PS: Don’t miss out on an incredible opportunity to get a $2,500 scholarship for college! If you have a student in Clark County about to graduate, take a look at the Professor R.S. Nigam & NPRI Freedom Scholarship opportunity! Visit npri.org for details, or to apply.

 

History keeps repeating itself

Every week, NPRI President Sharon Rossie writes a column for NPRI's week-in-review email. If you are not getting our emails, which contain our latest commentaries and news stories, you can sign up here to receive them.


 

“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”

― George Orwell

 

Orwell certainly knew what he was talking about.

More and more, it seems that an ignorance about the past is responsible for leading us into the same traps and failures that we as a nation have already experienced.

This last week, NPRI’s Steven Miller published a fascinating series exploring the bigotry and deceitful intentions behind the “Blaine Amendment” in Nevada’s Constitution. The amendment was designed as a way to defund and delegitimize the Catholic minority’s ability to educate children — and today it is still used by opponents of school choice to prohibit religious schools from becoming an impactful alternative to sub-par public education.

The case of the Blaine Amendment certainly highlights how important it is to fully understand our own history — and how, lacking that comprehension, we can fall victim to limited freedom and excessive government prejudice.  

Another prime example of history coming back to haunt public policy is the state’s new Commerce Tax, analyzed by NPRI’s Michael Schaus, writing in Nevada Business Magazine.

In the 1930s, during the Great Depression, states flocked to the idea of gross-receipt taxes — essentially the same tax model implicit in the Commerce Tax. Notably, after decades of stagnant growth and substantial harm to local economies, states in the second half of the 20th century almost universally abandoned the approach.

Now, however, Nevada politicians have resurrected this failed policy of the past.  

These are just two examples — among countless others — of history repeating itself in contemporary policy debates. In both cases, the historical record should serve as a forceful warning against the dangers of ever-greedy government.

All too often, however, history is ignored in discussion of alternative futures for the Silver State.

Many of the “solutions” we hear from politicians are nothing more than recycled and refurbished proposals from prior decades.

Maybe with a little more understanding of where we’ve been, as taxpayers and voters, we can more effectively understand where we should be headed.

Warm regards,

Sharon J. Rossie
NPRI President and staff 


Remember, if you'd like to receive the latest from NPRI, sign-up for our emails here.

 

An update on the ESAs

Every week, NPRI President Sharon Rossie writes a column for NPRI's week-in-review email. If you are not getting our emails, which contain our latest commentaries and news stories, you can sign up here to receive them.


It might not seem like it for the thousands of families stuck in lawsuit limbo, but the legal defense of Nevada’s Education Savings Accounts is actually making progress.

The Nevada Supreme Court has agreed to expedite the appeal aimed at lifting the injunction against ESAs, paving the way for a quick resolution.

This is good news for the 4,100 families that have already enrolled in the program, not to mention the thousands more who planned to do so this year.

By sometime in mid-April the Supreme Court will determine whether or not it will hear oral arguments in the case. After that, the “real” court battle begins.

Of course, that won’t be quite the end of it.

The injunction was issued in the Lopez case, which was the lawsuit launched by Educate Nevada Now. Arguing that state per-pupil funding should be used exclusively for government-run public schools, the lawsuit aims to derail the funding mechanism for ESAs.

Educate Nevada Now isn’t the only group trying to defend the failed status quo of public education in Nevada. The ACLU currently has its own lawsuit, alleging that because parents will be able to send their children to religious private schools with the help of ESAs, the reform violates the constitution.

Both lawsuits depend heavily on the belief that bureaucrats and politicians are better equipped than parents to make decisions about the educational needs of students. But that’s the system we already have — and it’s simply not working.

For decades Nevada’s students have suffered from a woefully underperforming school system — in fact, the Silver State is regularly ranked dead last in national studies on academic performance. Nearly 40 percent of fourth graders are functionally illiterate. Graduation rates are regrettably low. And even the defenders of the status quo routinely identify the plague of underperforming schools throughout the state.

So why keep things the same?

The truth is, ESAs will benefit public schools, and reveal Nevada as the nation’s leader in educational innovation. Moreover, it will return authority to the individuals most likely to recognize the specific needs of students: their parents.

Nevadans seem to understand this. Popularity for the reform continues to grow on a daily basis. Parents have flocked to sign the NevadaESA petition aimed at saving the reform, and many more have been sending in ESA applications to the Treasurer’s office in anticipation of the injunction being lifted.

The lawsuits attempting to block true education reform in Nevada may not yet be dead, but progress is being made to defend the most inclusive educational choice program in the nation.

As Nevada’s leader for educational reform, we at NPRI are working tirelessly to protect and expand this groundbreaking opportunity.

And I’m looking forward to our success.

Warm regards,

Sharon J. Rossie
NPRI President


Remember, if you'd like to receive the latest from NPRI, sign-up for our emails here.

Total Records: 1955

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