Far more Nevadans believe state legislators should allow parents to use their tax dollars to send students to public school alternatives than oppose the idea, according to recent polling done by the Nevada Policy Research Institute.
Some 54 percent of individuals polled supported the concept of education opportunity, while just 16 percent were opposed. The remainder of those surveyed had no opinion or were unsure.
“One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to choosing clothing, colleges or contractors, so why should we limit children to a single educational option?” asked Nevada Policy President John Tsarpalas. “Different children learn differently, and education opportunity allows parents to choose the option that works best for their children.”
While a large majority of parents with children in school support open enrollment policies, Nevada lawmakers have been slow to embrace the idea.
Education Savings Accounts were passed into law during the 2015 legislative session but were quickly met with legal challenges. The Nevada Supreme Court later ruled that the funding mechanism behind Education Savings Accounts was unconstitutional, and the law was repealed in 2019.
This year an effort is underway to establish Education Freedom Accounts in the state. Three initiative petitions have been introduced to bolster education opportunity in Nevada.
However, opponents have again sued to stop the effort.
The resistance comes despite Nevada scoring near the bottom of all U.S. states in terms of academic performance. Studies show that test scores in Nevada have lagged behind the national averages for years, even as the national averages themselves have fallen.
Nevada parents have extremely limited options should they want to pull their children from failing schools or wish to seek out an environment better suited to their children’s learning needs.
Parents without economic means are generally relegated to sending their children to the schools assigned to them by the district, regardless of quality or educational relevance for their children. Education opportunity would help overcome artificial barriers that can hinder children academically.
Poll of Nevada residents was conducted by OH Predictive Insights between February 24 and March 7, 2022, with a MoE of ± 4.0%.