Public educated liberal can’t do simple ESA tution math

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Annette Magnus is the executive director of some left-wing Nevada club called Battle Born Progress who hates the idea of poor kids getting a good education.

But before getting to her ignorance, let’s review a part of Donald Trump Jr.’s terrific speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland…

“The other party gave us public schools that far too often fail our students, especially those who have no options. Growing up, my siblings and I we were truly fortunate to have choices and options that others don’t have. We want all Americans to have those same opportunities.

“You know why other countries do better on K through 12? They let parents choose where to send their own children to school. That’s called competition. It’s called the free market. And it’s what the other party fears.

“They fear it because they’re more concerned about protecting the jobs of tenured teachers than serving the students in desperate need of a good education.”

Nailed it.

The inconvenient truth that liberals refuse to accept is that public education should be about educating children, not operating public schools. It should be about learning, not grades, degrees and graduation statistics.

And where and how that learning takes place should be as much up to the child’s parents as their choice of doctor and hospital.

Now back to Ms. Magnus.

The one thing the Republican majority did almost right in the last Nevada legislative session was pass a new and improved “voucher” program called Education Savings Accounts. ESA’s will provide a little over $5,000 per child per year to be used for education purposes other than attending a government owned and union operated school.

This money will provide low- and middle-income parents significant financial assistance to choose the private school of their choice if they choose not to send their kids to their zoned neighborhood public school.

Ms. Magnus calls this “welfare for rich kids.”

“Vouchers divert critical resources from public schools to private and religious schools,” Magnus scribbled in a recent email. “It all sounds so great until you try to enroll your child in a private school with $5000.”

And this is the heart of Ms. Magnus’ ignorance.

First, the money doesn’t go to private and religious schools. It goes to parents. Big difference.

And secondly, not only is it possible to go to many private schools for $5,000, but if the tuition is higher — say, $7,000 — which is easier for a low- or middle-income family to come up with: $7,000 or $2,000?

Since Ms. Magnus admits to being a public school graduate, let me help her with the math: $2,000 is MUCH less than $7,000.

Don Jr. is right. Annette Magnus is wrong. ESA’s are good. Soviet-style education camps are bad. Choice wins. Compulsion loses. And the beat goes on.

Chuck Muth is publisher of You can read additional columns and/or contact him at


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