(Chuck Muth, Citizen Outreach) – It is impossible to overstate just how badly the Republican-controlled Nevada Legislature and our Republican governor screwed up the most exciting and promising school choice program in the galaxy.
The fly-the-size-of-a-cow in the ointment continues to be the absurd and discriminatory requirement for parents of private school and home school students to force their children into a government-owned/union-
My wife and I are among the homeschool parents in Nevada who bit the bullet and very reluctantly enrolled our kids in the public school system for this semester. What a nightmare. My kids hate it. My wife hates it.
And they’re not too fond of me right now either!
The biggest problem – and the reason we chose to homeschool in the first place – is that our kids are now being forced to learn what the government has decided they should learn rather than what we, as parents, want them to learn or the kids themselves want to learn.
For example, my one daughter is being required to read “The Life of Frederick Douglas,” while I would prefer she read David McCullough’s “John Adams” or “1776” and she would prefer to read “The Encyclopedia of Horses and Ponies.”
Reading is reading. Learning is learning.
Why is the government’s one-size-fits-all curriculum and mandated reading list deemed the only one acceptable for all children? That’s as ridiculous as it is wrong, and at the heart of why so many of our public schools are considered “failure factories” and why more money will never be able to fix them.
But back to this whole 100-day prison sentence private school and home school kids have been penalized with. The overriding question: Why?
One of the lame excuses being bandied about by some GOP legislators is that it was necessary to get the votes needed to pass the bill. But that’s total B.S.
Republicans had control of both the Senate and the Assembly and didn’t need, or get, a single Democrat vote to pass SB 302. So why penalize children to appease Democrats who weren’t going to vote for the bill anyway? Duh.
The second excuse is that without the 100-day requirement the new ESA program would have “blown a hole” in the budget. But if so, legislators must have been using public school math!
The fact is private schoolers and homeschoolers have been costing the government NOTHING in the education budget. Parents have been picking up the tab. But by forcing those kids into a public school this semester to qualify for an ESA, now they ARE costing the government money it otherwise wouldn’t have been spending. Duh.
And does anyone really believe that providing ESAs for four semesters instead of three during the two-year budget cycle would have “blown a hole” in the budget that couldn’t have been covered by either reprioritizing other education spending or funding them with money from the obscene $1.4 billion tax hike that Gov. Sandoval shoved down our throats?
That said, let’s accept the false argument that the only way to afford the new ESA program was to allow it for the last three semesters instead of all four. OK, fine.
In that case, then why, oh why, incur the additional per-pupil costs by forcing private and home school kids into a public school for the first semester of the budget cycle instead of simply saying you can’t open and start an ESA until the second semester of the budget cycle? Duh.
The public excuses being put forward by GOP legislators who blew this golden opportunity (as usual) by needlessly forcing private school and home school kids into a public school for 100 days are total B.S. If Gov. Sandoval really cared about children and education, like he claims, he’d call a special session tomorrow to repeal this discriminatory and outrageous 100-day penalty.
Alas, our governor’s initials aren’t B.S. for nothing.