Will Horsford stop the NSEA from preventing true ed reform?

Patrick Gibbons

In a recent Las Vegas Sun article, Nevada State Education Association President Lynn Warne criticizes State Senator Steven Horsford (D). "If he represents the children," said Warne, "why has he represented them in such a way that has left them sitting in overcrowded classrooms with lack of supplies and teaching materials?"

What triggered Warne's ire? Horsford had had the temerity to acknowledge gods higher than Nevada's teacher union. "It is about the future and the children who depend upon us in the classroom," the senator said in a debate. "The children are more important to me than any teachers group, than any company who thinks they can decide tax policy."

On balance, Horsford brings more sanity to the discussion. While the vast majority of studies on the impact of higher spending on student achievement show none, Horsford is right about the teacher union wanting to control tax policy. The State of Nevada's current education policy is not about the children; it is about redirecting tax dollars into the coffers of the teacher union and into the subset of construction firms that have the inside track for building our palatial schools.

This is why the teacher union consistently opposes almost all education reform measures, no matter how much evidence exists, showing the benefits for students:

Important evidence continues to mount, demonstrating that parental choice programs like scholarships, charter schools, merit pay, alternative teacher certification and value added assessment improve the quality of education. Scholarship programs for low-income children, children with disabilities and children in failing schools are gaining in popularity. It is only a matter of time until popular opinion swings completely over in favor of parental choice, and real education reform arrives, sweeping the teacher union and its dogmas into the ash heap of history.

Now that Senator Horsford has outed the teacher's union's true motives, will he lead the charge for real and meaningful education reform in Nevada? Or just follow in its wake?