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Nevada Makes School Choice History
posted by: Cindy Omlin | June 12, 2015, 01:39 AM   

ESAs allow students to use the funds directly allocated for their education in a traditional public school on a more personalized educational pathway. Unlike in Arizona, Florida, Mississippi, and Tennessee which reserve ESAs for students with special needs, Nevada’s law is universal; allowing all students in the state to utilize ESAs. 

The new law, which passed through the state legislature last week, demonstrates the growing momentum of school choice policies across the country. Not only do special needs students and those who are in the worst performing school districts have access to 100% of their per-pupil funding, but even students with higher incomes have access to 90% of their equivalent per-pupil funding.

The funding from the state is placed into a specialized personal savings account for each participating student. The money in these accounts may only be used to pay for education related expenditures, such as textbooks, tuition, therapy, etc. According to a recent poll, parents of Nevada students are happy with the move and supportive of the expansive ESA program. 

“ESAs offer several key advantages over traditional school-choice programs. Because families can spend ESA funds at multiple providers and can save unspent funds for later, ESAs incentivize families to economize and maximize the value of each dollar spent, in a manner similar to the way they would spend their own money. ESAs also create incentives for education providers to unbundle services and products to better meet students’ individual learning needs,” reports Lindsey Burke of the Heritage Foundation. 

Proponents of ESAs hail this as a victory and a chance to show other states the impact of choice. 

According to AAE’s National Membership Survey, 56% of member educators supported a similar initiative in Arizona which allow parents of special needs students to choose a school that best suits their child's needs utilizing 90% of the dollars already assigned to their child through state funding. Clearly, educators are warming to the idea of choice for students and teachers alike. 

What do you think about the ESA program in Nevada?
Comment Below.

Originally posted by Connor Dunleavy at AAE.

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