Chuck Muth: Sandoval’s education plan should excite Nevada’s parents
Jon Ralston, Dean of Nevada Political Pundits, wrote in his e-newsletter this week that I was “ecstatic” about Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Sandoval’s education reform proposal.
That was actually a rare case of understatement by Mr. Ralston. I mean, what’s not to love for conservatives who love education – but can’t stand the current reality of our lousy government-run public school monopoly? Just consider some excerpts from the Sandoval proposal:
• “The single greatest thing we can do for our young people is prepare them for success by providing them with a quality education.” (Amen!)
• “As Nevadans, we need to make a world-class education for our kids more than a campaign slogan; we must make it a reality.” (Enough talk; time to walk!)
• “The education system in Nevada does not measure up …” (True dat; it sucks!)
• “It’s time to get serious about reform and challenge the status quo.” (You betcha!)
• “It’s time to give Nevada parents real choices.” (Sing it, brother!)
• “Opportunity means freeing parents and children who are trapped in failing schools.” (Let our children go!)
• “Vouchers: Choice should include private schools. Parents should be able to seek out the best possible education for their kids. Whether it is across the street, across town, public or private.” (Glory, glory, hallelujah!)
If that’s not something for parents with school-aged children to be ecstatic about, I don’t know what is.
The really interesting thing here is that with the exception of school vouchers, Rory Reid’s education reform plan sounds pretty much the same. Of course, the school voucher private option provision is the key to any true, serious reform – which makes Rory Reid’s education reform proposal not really serious. It’s like saying you can have any car you want, as long as it’s a Yugo.
We’ve been hearing about education reform for more than 50 years now – from new math to whole language to self-esteem to class-size reduction. None of those fads have worked. And despite dumping money into these education clunkers, they’re still lemons. It’s time to give low- and middle-income parents both the right to choose a private school alternative, as well as the means to do so.
If Brian will now campaign on the issue of vouchers, he’ll have a mandate from the people to pursue them as governor. And if as governor he truly fights for them using the power of his office and the bully pulpit, they will become a reality, the teachers union be damned.
• Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a non-profit public policy grassroots advocacy organization. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.