CARSON CITY — The Nevada Policy Research Institute praised Gov. Brian Sandoval today for signing Senate Bill 302 — establishing the nation’s most inclusive and comprehensive school choice program in the nation — and announced plans to launch an educational campaign to inform parents about the new program’s existence and teach them how to use it.
SB302 — sponsored by Sen. Scott Hammond — creates an Education Savings Account program in which parents whose children are enrolled will receive 90 to 100 percent of the average funding provided for each pupil from the Distributive School Account. Parents can then use those funds to send their child to private school, pay for tutoring or distance learning, and fund other educational expenses.
In response to the establishment of ESAs — an idea for which NPRI has been a strong advocate — the Institute’s President, Andy Matthews, issued the following remarks:
Today is a historic day for all Nevada children, many of whom will now have a greater opportunity than ever before to receive the education they deserve. Governor Sandoval showed great courage in working with lawmakers to ensure all Nevada students — regardless of their family’s economic status — have access to the best schools in our state. For too long, we’ve shuffled children into public-school classrooms that offer a one-size-fits-all approach to education that has failed far too many of our kids. But that ends today.
This program puts parents, not bureaucrats, in charge of education. Until now, most parents had no choice but to send their child to their zip-code-assigned public school. Under this new framework, any child in Nevada may attend private or online schools, and parents can have a say in how and where their child is educated. In the coming years, we will see more students thrive academically because of their access to Education Savings Accounts, because they will be able to receive an education that is tailored to their individual needs.
Because Education Savings Accounts are a foreign concept to most people, NPRI will launch an intensive educational campaign in the coming months to inform parents of this new opportunity and the resources now available to their children. The particulars of this effort will be announced shortly, but the campaign will include meetings with parents, civic groups and schools to explain how to take advantage of ESAs and how to research potential schools. Emphasis will be placed on working with members of minority communities, who have traditionally had fewer educational options and have suffered the most under the current public system.