What the Sun gets right about education

Victor Joecks

From today’s editorial:

One of the problems with education today is that it too often has a one-size-fits-all quality. The reality is that not all kids learn at the same pace or have the same academic interests. That is why on one hand it is encouraging to see the district do what it can to better tailor education to the needs of each child.

Exactly – the one-size-fits-all public education system has been and is a disaster. Taking away choice and forcing children into a government-run, union monopoly of a school system has led to Nevada having one of the worst educational systems in the country. It’s encouraging to see the Sun recognize the need for more variety in education and wanting unique educational choices for Nevada’s unique children.

Unfortunately, while its goal is laudable, the editors at the Sun have no idea how to make it a reality.

Still, until we provide the schools with a better level of funding to accomplish this, students in Nevada won’t receive the education they deserve.

Fact: In the last 50 years, Nevada’s inflation-adjusted, per-pupil spending has nearly tripled. Educational achievement has been and remains stagnant.

*Per-pupil spending, adjusted for inflation. 1959-2007

But there is a better way. Just over 12 years ago, Florida enacted a series of free-market education reforms that changed its one-size-fits-all system. These changes included online schools, over 350 charter schools, corporate tuition tax credits and scholarships for students to leave failing schools. And Florida did this while increasing inflation-adjusted, per-pupil funding by less than 70 percent of the national average and only $152 more than Nevada has since 1997. The results of reform speak for themselves.

Free market education reforms have greatly increased Florida's student achievemen

And for those who are looking for alternatives to the one-size-fits-all education system we currently have, Patrick R. Gibbons, NPRI’s education policy analyst, has a new study out on Virtual Schools and how online education can – and already is beginning to – change Nevada education.