Educational Freedom: Fund Students, Not Systems

(Amy Groves) – Something I have learned over the years in my businesses and, in my life for that matter, is that my way, or any steadfast, time-tested method does not always get the needed results.

It was a hard learned lesson for me. If I gave an employee a task or a longer-term project, I also attempted to give step by step instructions to assure it was done to my specifications. This resulted in struggles, mis-communications, tears (mine, not theirs) and often times delays and ultimate failure to successfully execute.

The lesson I learned was that there is a beginning and is an end. Not everyone gets from the start to the finish the same way that I do. What mattered was the end result ,achieving the best possible outcome, and usually an improvement on past processes along the way!

What a painful lesson that was for me to learn! We are not all the same. Not everyone thinks like me, processes information the same way I do, listens (or not), brings the same life experience to the table, or follows the exact decision-making process I do. It is not a one size, if the shoe fits, wear it world.

In the overall scheme of things, most of the day-to-day things people do are mundane, and in the long term are just a blimp on the radar. So, if things, that when all is said and done, are insignificant require many different points of view and methods to accomplish, why in the world would anyone think that the road to something as significant as the education and future of our children was a one-way, unwavering arrow? Don’t swerve right, or left – just do it the same old way and expect optimum results? Not hardly.

I am passionate, as I believe most of you are, about choice, opportunity, and a parents’ right to make educational decisions for their children. While school choice has been approved, funding has not. This is a critical issue and an initiative that has to be advanced for full funding, roll out, and successful implementation in the next session.

Home schooling, school choice, and education savings accounts (ESA), are all bipartisan tools to improve our children’s education. Nevada is ranked 49th in the United Sates for our educational system, and evidently this was perceived as a victory when we moved up from last place in 2019. Talk about a low bar!

I’ve signed the Tax Pledge. The Pledge commits an elected official or candidate for public office “to oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.”

I believe we can accomplish the funding required to reform our educational system, in part, by addressing deficiencies in CCSD. While school choice and the CCSD’s lack of fiscal accountability may seem to be separate issues, the district’s performance and the success of school choice are intertwined. They are branches on the same tree and can mutually beneficial to each other when managed correctly.

Erin Phillips, President of Power2Parent, stated in a recent interview with Megan Barth of The Nevada Globe:

“It is possible to reform CCSD, but not possible to do the same things and expect different results. It is going to require fundamental change by breaking up the school district into smaller districts. Currently, the district is simply too big to manage and it is so mismanaged.

“When the district fails, they get more money–they do not lose money. There is no accountability to the money given. 80% of tax-payer money never sees a classroom. Instead, it goes to the district administration which is the second largest employer in the state. CCSD is not a child centered district.

“It employs adults. It is an adult centered model, until we change that. The funding has to follow the student and we need to compete for kids and to have schools compete.”

Bottomline? Parents, grandparents, larger family and education centric communities, support educational opportunity, school choice, and the right of the parent to responsibly direct their child’s education. They want the ability to have their kids in a stable, less volatile learning environment.

School choice permits parents to make selections based on the needs of their child, which, theoretically could result in different choices even within the same household. Parents have long understood their kids have different strengths and needs. They have just been waiting for the legacy powers that be to finally get out of the way.

According to The Nevada Globe article polls indicate that participants are 60-40 in favor of school choice. This can be very impactful in Nevada because a high percentage voters registered voters are independent and education is a high priority.

This is a win/win for all of our students. Students who take advantage of school choice will be in learning environments that their parents believe are better suited to their needs and provide a safer learning environment.

Children who remain in traditional school settings should realize a significant benefit as well. Student to teacher ratios will improve. With smaller classroom sizes teachers and administrators will be able to supervise more effectively and reduce violence, resulting in an environment much more conducive to learning. Without a doubt, improved student test scores will follow.

It’s no longer “readin’ and writin’ and ‘rithmetic”.  No longer business as usual. No more excuses – 49th please! Educational freedom, fully funded school choice, works better for everyone.

“Don’t tell me where your priorities are. Show me where you spend your money and I’ll tell you what they are.”James W. Frick

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