The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported this week that state schools Superintendent Keith Rheault told the state Board of Education last week that “Gov.-elect Brian Sandoval’s campaign promise to establish a school voucher program to help parents send their children to private schools… would cost the cash-strapped state more than $100 million.”
How do I put this gently? Keith Rheault is full of (bleep).
First of all, neither Rheault nor anyone else outside of Sandoval’s inner circle have seen the details of Sandoval’s plan, so he has absolutely no (bleeping) idea whatsoever what’s in it.
Secondly, Rheault’s hypothesis is that there are currently 20,000 students in private schools in Nevada and that if each of them received a voucher in the amount of $5,200 – a figure he pulled out of his (bleep) – that would come to more than $100 million that the government would be paying instead of parents out of their own pockets to educate these children.
As to that point, the first point is…so (bleeping) what? Those parents have been paying taxes to fund public education in Nevada, so why SHOULDN’T they receive the vouchers?
But the second point is, well it’s actually the same as an earlier point…Rheault has no (bleeping) idea what Sandoval’s plan is, so how can he make such a ridiculously definitive statement?
Well, according to the RJ story, “he based his estimates on past proposals from the Legislature.” Really? Not.
Had he reviewed Assemblyman Ed Goedhart’s (R-Amargosa Valley) voucher proposal from the last session, he’d know that concerns regarding current private school students had already been addressed and alleviated.
First, Goedhart’s EIEIO (Excellence in Education and Increased Opportunities Act) tax rebates would be means tested, so the “rich” would not get a full voucher. Secondly, the EIEIO proposal would allow the Legislature to phase in current private school students over a period of six years.
So not only would the “rich” not get a full voucher, they wouldn’t get ANY vouchers for a fairly extended period of time. In the meantime, Rheault’s public schools would continue to receive some per-pupil funding for voucher students they’re not even educating.
Rheault also maintained that the Sandoval voucher plan could cost $1 million a year just to administer – another figure apparently pulled from his (bleep). But any administrative costs would be paid for by the difference between what the public schools currently receive per pupil and the lesser amount of the vouchers themselves.
Here’s the bottom line: Vouchers would empower parents, instill some much-needed competition in education, and would be a serious threat to the public school monopoly, not to mention the teachers. Keith Rheault opposes vouchers and is biased against the very idea, so anything negative he says about them should be considered a load of, well, (bleep).