From the Las Vegas Sun: After repeatedly emphasizing during his campaign that every Nevada child should have access to school choice, Gov. Brian Sandoval will propose a needs-based voucher program that will allow poorer families access to more money than families with a higher income.
Sandoval will seek a constitutional amendment — which would require the Legislature to pass it twice before it goes to a vote of the people — to implement the voucher program.
In new details released today, Sandoval’s senior adviser Dale Erquiaga said the program would award families a certain percentage of the per pupil funding given to public schools based on how close they are to the poverty line....
During the campaign, however, Sandoval was adamant that every child have access to voucher money.
“The great thing about this is everybody would be eligible for it,” he said during the campaign. “Every family, every parent would have the ability to decide where they will send their child to school. I think that’s extremely important.”
I favor vouchers and the Democrats have shown repeatedly how racist they are when they try to block voucher programs in the inner cities across the country. Further, when Obama was elected, the Democrats in Washington D.C. got out their white robes and burning crosses when they eliminated the voucher program in Washington D.C..
However, a voucher program in the Las Vegas Valley just won't work. I used to teach in the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS), which was one of the first school districts who had vouchers and I saw first hand how well the program worked. First, it made MPS improve their schools and it gave the students in Milwaukee an opportunity to go to schools that their parents wanted them to go to.
Well, at first, most of the religious schools took in the voucher students and a few other schools did as well. But the voucher program also allowed some fly by night private schools to open and these schools were worse than the public schools. Some of these schools operated in strip malls or in store fronts. Because of this, some students received crappy education. This was not what vouchers were supposed to do.
This is what I fear in Las Vegas. Las Vegas doesn't have the student seats available in private schools to accept even a tiny fraction of CCSD students. When we moved to Las Vegas almost 5 years ago, we tried to get our kids in the Catholic schools and most of the schools had waiting lists for our kids to get in and I doubt that has changed. They only have 1 Catholic high school in the entire Valley.
But yet Sandolval's plan covers all the students in CCSD? One of two things will happen if vouchers are approved: 1. Not many students will be accepted into the voucher program.
Or second, there will be an industry of fly by night schools that will pretend to educate students but they are only in for the government money.
So, I just don't think vouchers will work in the Las Vegas Valley. The Valley just doesn't have the network of private schools that will have enough open spaces in their schools to allow a voucher system to work. In older cities, especially those with numerous Catholic Schools like in Milwaukee, they have a network of schools. Las Vegas is more like the county I came from in Wood County, WI., by Wisconsin Rapids and Marshfield. Wood County, population of about 45,000, has more Catholic Schools than in the Las Vegas Valley, population 2,000,000 or so. The numbers will not work.
Vouchers just is not the answer to the education problems in Nevada and the Las Vegas Valley. Improving CCSD by eliminating administrative positions and putting more teachers in the classrooms, concentrating on education instead diversity, getting rid of proficiency testing, getting kids in the classroom rather than the streets and other reforms CCSD can do, this will improve the education in CCSD. And we can do this with the budgets cuts that are going to be imposed on CCSD.
Over Time with Bill Maher, May 17, 2013
3 hours ago