Oh, happy day!

Karen Gray

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