Politics

The Ultimate in School Choice or School as a Commodity?

Under the law that Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval signed Tuesday, low-income families or students with disabilities can receive the same amount the state spends per public school student, or an average of about $5,700, while middle- and upper-income families will receive slightly less, about $5,100 a year. (Kevin Clifford/2011 file photo/AP)
Under the law that Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval signed Tuesday, low-income families or students with disabilities can receive the same amount the state spends per public school student, or an average of about $5,700, while middle- and upper-income families will receive slightly less, about $5,100 a year. (Kevin Clifford/2011 file photo/AP)

 

(The Washington Post) – Starting next school year, any parent in Nevada can pull a child from the state’s public schools and take tax dollars with them, giving families the option to use public money to pay for private or parochial school or even for home schooling.

The new law, which the state’s Republican-controlled legislature passed with help from the education foundation created by former Florida governor Jeb Bush (R), is a breakthrough for conservatives, who call it the ultimate in school choice. And they are working to spread it nationwide: Lawmakers in Georgia, Iowa and Rhode Island considered similar legislation this year.

Democrats, teachers unions, public school superintendents and administrators are alarmed, saying that the Nevada law to provide private school vouchers is the first step toward dismantling the nation’s public schools.

Although other states increasingly have allowed tax dollars to be used for private school tuition, most limit the programs to students with disabilities or from low-income families. A few states, such as Indiana, have expanded the option to the middle class.

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