Progress on school choice

Andy Matthews

Every week, NPRI President Andy Matthews writes a column for NPRI's week-in-review email. If you are not getting our emails, which contain our latest commentaries and news stories, you can sign up here to receive them.

Progress on school choice

If you’ve been keeping up with NPRI’s E-Bulletins, you know that we’ve been very active during the current legislative session. In particular, Geoff Lawrence, the Institute’s deputy policy director, has been in Carson City full-time since February, sharing ideas with lawmakers, testifying on numerous bills and keeping an eye on legislative developments.

Geoff wrote a very informative piece that we published yesterday, titled “The good, the bad and the ugly: Part I.” (I haven’t confirmed this, but I’d like to think the title was inspired by my reference to Clint Eastwood in last Friday’s Week in Review).

In any event, Geoff’s commentary takes a look at some of the bills that failed to survive the deadline for receiving committee approval and have thus been relegated to the ash heap of history, unless resurrected by legislative leadership.

Among the bills that did survive, however, is one that I’ve been watching closely: Senate Bill 445. This bill, which is being pushed by Gov. Brian Sandoval, would provide tax credits to businesses that fund scholarships for students to attend a school of their own choice.

We at NPRI published a study a few years ago that detailed the many benefits that a tax-credit scholarship plan would entail, and it’s very encouraging to see the governor push this powerful idea. Given the decades-long failure of the state’s monolithic public-education system, any effort to expand school choice is not only welcome, but long overdue.

And in particular, the tax-credit scholarship idea is a true win-win: If enacted, the governor’s plan would expand educational options for students (which, the research incontrovertibly shows, would lead to higher achievement) while also generating significant cost-savings to the state. For the sake of Nevada’s students, let’s hope the governor fights spiritedly for this idea over the coming weeks.

In other news, I wanted to let you know about a new development here at NPRI that has us very excited. I’ve been invited to deliver a weekly commentary for Channel 3 in Las Vegas, which will air beginning next week, and I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to share NPRI’s ideas with such a broad audience.

About a half-dozen other commentators will be participating as well, including former gubernatorial candidate Rory Reid, so the series will feature a lot of different topics and viewpoints. My commentaries will air on a different day each week (but always during the 6 p.m. news broadcast), so if you’re interested in watching them, be sure to follow us on Twitter for updates on the schedule.

Finally, I wanted to extend my appreciation to all of you who responded to last week’s request for examples of pop-culture conservatism. There were a lot of quality suggestions, and the most popular was a great one from the music category: the Eagles song “Get Over It.”

Again, thanks to those of you who wrote in — and to all of you, thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend.

Andy Matthews
NPRI President

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