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The No-Cost Solution to Overcrowded Public Schools

I am so sick of hearing the Clark County school district and education monopolists whine about supposed over-crowding in public schools.  The latest from Monday’s Las Vegas Review-Journal

“With 319,072 students there are 61 schools that are overcrowded and 21 schools that face possible rezoning due to overcrowding in the nation’s fifth largest school district, he said.  (Superintendent Pat) Skorkowsky said the district could build 26 new elementary schools and still have overcrowding issues.”

This issue is so easy, fast and cost-free to fix it ain’t even funny.

Let’s say you have a school that is overcrowded by 500 students.  Simple.  Offer 500 parents $5,000 vouchers if they will remove their child from the overcrowded public school and enroll him or her in a private school of the parents’ choice.

Voila!  Problem solved.

Since the school district gets more than $5,000 per child as is, they would actually have money left over to spend on the remaining kids in the school that is no longer over-crowded thanks to kids leaving.

And by the way, this is not some unprecedented idea.  This solution has already been implemented in Douglas County, Colorado.

“Under the program,” reports the Education Policy Center, “scholarship recipients could receive as much as 75 percent of state per-pupil funding (approximately $4,600 in 2011-12, just over $5,000 in 2014-15) or the amount of nonpublic school tuition, whichever was less. The Douglas County School District was to issue quarterly checks payable to the parents of Choice Scholarship recipients, which the parents then restrictively endorsed to the participating nonpublic schools that accepted their students for enrollment.”

“But,” I hear the liberal defenders of the status quo bleat, “there aren’t enough private schools to accommodate the kids who would be leaving the public school.”

Such an objection betrays a total lack of understanding of how the free market works!

I GUARANTEE you that if 500 parents suddenly started waving $5,000 voucher/scholarship checks around in the air, the private sector would find room to accommodate them.

The 500 seats may not be in what is considered a “normal” school – the school might be set up in a vacant building or strip mall – but the seats WILL be found and the kids WILL get an excellent education.

And as for the silly complaint that vouchers will result in the “cream of the crop” students leaving the public schools for private schools…so what?

The public schools are already tasked with the responsibility of teaching students with various learning challenges.  Under my plan, those same schools and same teachers will be able to devote MORE personal attention to those students who need extra help thanks to the smaller class size!

So let it be written; so let it be done.

And while we’re on this subject of education and school choice during School Choice Week…

In his State of the State address, Gov. Brian Sandoval (R&R-Advertising) proposed a laundry list of new feel-good/cost-a-lot education spending programs.  Some $800 million worth of tax dollars to be flushed down the failure factory toilets.

Now here’s the thing…

In his first four years in office, Sandoval has hired or appointed only one readily identifiable movement conservative.  That would be Dr. Jim Guthrie as Superintendent of Public Instruction for the Nevada Department of Education.

Guthrie was a true, bona fide, card-carrying conservative education reform champion.

Indeed, he had this radical idea that the way to fix our lousy public schools in Nevada wasn’t to simply dump more money into the system, but to implement various real education reforms directed at parental choice and holding teachers more accountable.

As such, Sandoval fired Guthrie after only about one year on the job.

Or I guess the official line was that Guthrie was allowed to resign against his will.  Yeah, that’s the ticket.

In any event, it’s now clear that Sandoval only wants to get hosannas from liberals for spending more money on education rather than pushing for true reforms that would actually fix education and help our children.

And that’s why he canned Guthrie and installed one of his tax-and-spend cronies in the job instead.

Personnel is policy.


“Gov. Brian Sandoval is shirking his responsibility to reform a public school system that is staggering under a top-heavy layer of overpaid, nonteaching bureaucrats. He is instead proposing huge new tax hikes to fund his vanity education programs, none of which will improve learning.

“Worse, Gov. Sandoval and his political cronies have been working with Republicans-in-name-only to interfere with the Nevada Assembly leadership selection process. Maybe you thought the governor’s job-killing tax-and-spend initiatives would come under cross-examination in the crucible of the new Republican-controlled Legislature. Sorry, the fix is in. After the vote-buying and arm-twisting, it’s doubtful there are enough ‘nays’ to stop him.

“There are plans afoot to recall Republican lawmakers who betray their voters and their party’s core principles to vote with Democrats to hike taxes. Your only hope to avoid getting fleeced is to tell Republican legislators that you’ll hold them to their party’s principles and no-new-taxes campaign promises.”

– Lynn Muzzy of Minden, Las Vegas Review-Journal, 1/27/15


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