Ol’ Ed Goedhart Had a Bill…EIEIO!
There might be fifty ways to leave your lover, but even Albert Einstein would have trouble adding up all the excuses the Left uses to explain why so many of the government-run schools suck eggs.
The No. 1 excuse, of course, is lack of money. No. 2, naturally, is … lack of money. No. 3 is … yep, lack of money.
And then somewhere way down on the list they blame, in no particular order, the students themselves, their parents, bureaucrats, school boards, Republicans, conservatives, the government, No Child Left Behind, overcrowded classrooms … and then back to lack of money, lack of money and … lack of money.
Of course, those of us in the real world know there are really only two main reasons why the government schools are, at best, bastions of mediocrity: the teachers unions and lack of competition.
As Donald Trump wrote in “The America We Deserve” back in 2000: “We’ve got to bring on the competition — open the schoolhouse doors and let parents choose the best school for their children. Education reformers call this school choice, charter schools, vouchers, even opportunity scholarships. I call it competition — the American way.”
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to get rid of the teachers unions. Like herpes, once you get ’em you got ’em for good. But there is absolutely something we can do to help break the government monopoly on schools in Nevada and inject a little all-American competition into the system. And yes, money is the key — but not more of it. We just need to “spread the wealth” a bit.
As it is today, the only way for many parents to afford some semblance of private school choice is for both parents to work five or six jobs for 23 out of 24 hours a day. Or move to the ‘burbs where the government schools don’t suck quite as badly as the urban ones.
Enter Nevada Assemblyman Ed Goedhart (R-Amargosa Valley) and the parental choice bill he’ll be introducing this session: the Excellence in Education and Increased Opportunities Act (EIEIO). The essence of this proposed constitutional amendment is as follows:
“In addition to establishing and maintaining public schools in each school district, the Legislature shall provide a companion program of per pupil funding which provides Education Tax Rebates to parents or legal guardians of eligible students who choose to enroll them in private schools of their choice, using some of the funds that would otherwise be paid to a school district on behalf of that student.”
Amen and hallelujah!
Every parent and grandparent in Nevada pays taxes which subsidize the public education system; therefore, every student should be entitled to at least a portion of that education tax subsidy whether they attend a government school or a private school, including religious schools. It’d be like the G.I. Bill or the Millennium Scholarships, but for elementary and secondary school students.
EIEIO proposes that the tax rebate equal 75 percent of the “basic support guarantee per pupil, as established by law for the public schools.” The remainder of the money would stay in the government school system, which means the government schools will still be getting some additional money to educate students it no longer has in its classrooms.
If EIEIO passes, class sizes in the government schools — as well as the need to build expensive new government schools — will shrink almost overnight at no additional cost to taxpayers. EIEIO tax rebates will result in the private sector stepping up to fill the demand for increased educational opportunities, including storefront schools and new online “virtual” schools.
EIEIO would be a win-win for everybody concerned — except the teachers unions. So expect them to pull out all the stops to strangle this innovative proposal in its cradle. And when they do, taxpayers who want better schools for less money will need to tell them to shut up and sit down. It’s long past time to give choice a chance.
Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a non-profit public policy grassroots advocacy organization. He may be reached at email@example.com