At the capital: School choice gets its day at the Legislature

Victor Joecks

Hi I’m Victor Joecks with the Nevada Policy Research Institute.

One of the most exciting reforms on the agenda at the Legislature is school choice. Tomorrow, Wednesday, February 18 at 3:15 p.m., the Assembly Education Committee will hear AB165.

Proposed by Gov. Brian Sandoval, AB165 will create an Opportunity Scholarship program that will create school choice using tuition tax credits.

Here’s how that works on the technical side. Say a business owes the state $50,000 for its modified business tax. Instead of paying the state, the business makes a $50,000 donation to a scholarship-granting organization. In turn, the state gives the business a $50,000 tax credit, which the business can use to pay its tax bill.

Parents and students can then receive scholarships to attend the private school of their choice.

School choice works.

As the Friedman Foundation has found:

  • Twelve empirical studies have examined academic outcomes for school choice participants using random assignment, the “gold standard” of social science. Of these, 11 find that choice improves student outcomes — six found that all students benefit and five that some benefit and some are not affected. One study finds no visible impact. No empirical study has found a negative impact.
  • Twenty-three empirical studies (including all methods) have examined school choice’s impact on academic outcomes in public schools. Of these, 22 find that choice improves public schools and one finds no visible impact. No empirical study has found that choice harms public schools.
  • Six empirical studies have examined school choice’s fiscal impact on taxpayers. All six find that school choice saves money for taxpayers. No empirical study has found a negative fiscal impact.

If you want to testify on AB 165, go to the Grant Sawyer Building in downtown Las Vegas tomorrow at 3:15. The hearing will be on the fourth floor. Or if you’re in Northern Nevada, come to the capitol, the hearing will be in Room 3142.

Victor Joecks is Executive Vice President at the Nevada Policy Research Institute, a non-partisan, free market think tank.