By Michael Schaus
The Clark County Education Association has endorsed choice.
This week, the CCEA came out in support of Ballot Measure 3 — the “Energy Choice” proposal that would provide Nevada with a competitive consumer energy market.
As the basis for its endorsement, CCEA said in a statement that “Nevadans know that monopolies… don’t work for consumers.”
It’s a noteworthy comment, given the fact that CCEA is a major part of the government’s monopoly control over education.
Despite the irony, it’s a comment worth praising.
In fact, we wish more organizations that are part of the education establishment in Nevada would start thinking about this concept of “choice” as a matter of public policy. They might just realize that the pitfalls of a monopoly energy provider aren’t much different than the pitfalls of a monopoly education provider.
CCEA made it a point in its release to highlight the fact that Nevadans understand the value of choice — and they’re exactly right.
Of course, it was referencing choice in the energy market, but the same thing can be said for the education sector.
School choice programs, for example, provide Nevada families with the freedom to pursue educational options that are best suited to their individual learning styles — and it’s a stunningly popular policy proposal among Nevadans.
Almost 60 percent of Nevadans support expanding the state’s Opportunity Scholarship program, and 70 percent support the concept of Education Savings Accounts for special needs students — two educational choice programs that have been hotly debated in recent years.
CCEA’s greatest insight was its understanding of why some powerful groups are often opposed to expanding choice and prefer monopolies.
“Not everyone is opposed to monopolies,” explained CCEA, “especially if they stand to benefit.”
While that statement was aimed at Warren Buffet and NV Energy, it just as easily explains the current establishment’s opposition to educational choice.
Which is precisely why, in 2019, lawmakers should put the concerns of parents and families over the concerns of those who seek to keep their monopoly control over Nevada’s educational system. After all, families deserve the opportunity to choose a quality education that fits their needs, regardless of income, race or the neighborhood in which they live.
CCEA’s endorsement of choice as a matter of policy, so far, hasn’t extended beyond Question Three.
But Nevadans are ready for it, nonetheless.
Michael Schaus is Communications Director at the Nevada Policy Research Institute.