Do Nevada lawmakers really care about education?

Kevin Dietrich

Nevadans overwhelming support allowing parents to use their tax dollars to send students to public school alternatives. 

 Polling done earlier this year by Nevada Policy demonstrated that 54 percent of those questioned 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.” 

However, Nevada lawmakers haven’t shown much interest in proceeding with school choice, even if a large majority of parents with children in school support open enrollment policies. 

Education Savings Accounts, passed into law during the 2015 legislative session, 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Court later ruled that the funding mechanism behind Education Savings Accounts was unconstitutional, and the law was repealed in 2019. 

Attempts to establish Education Freedom Accounts in the state this year were also shut down. Three initiative petitions were introduced to bolster education opportunity in Nevada, but opponents successfully sued to stop the push. 

Resistance to school choice comes despite Nevada scoring near the bottom of all U.S. states in terms of academic performance. Nevada test scores have lagged behind national averages for years, even as the national averages themselves have fallen. 

Nevada parents who want to pull their children from failing schools or wish to seek out an environment better suited to their children’s learning needs have limited options. 

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. 

Kevin Dietrich

Kevin Dietrich

Kevin Dietrich joined Nevada Policy in 2022.

He has more than 20 years of experience in communications, including serving as the director of communications and marketing for the South Carolina Bankers Association, working as a speechwriter for South Carolina governor Mark Sanford and assisting with internal communications for CVS Caremark.

Kevin graduated from the University of Maine with a degree in Journalism and a minor in History. A fifth-generation Californian, he spent a decade as a journalist, working for newspapers in Florida, New York, New Hampshire and South Carolina.