Today, I provided comments during Nevada’s first public hearing on the implementation of their historic education savings account law. This initial hearing sets Nevada on the path to offer all 450,000 public school students flexibility in selecting the educational options that meet their diverse needs. The Nevada law is the strongest educational choice legislation in the country: offering expansive eligibility and a wide menu of educational options, including private school tuition, tutoring, educational therapies, online courses, dual enrollment and many other approved uses. Funds that go unused at the end of a year will be allowed to roll over for future years – creating an incentive for parents to not only judge education on quality, but also on cost effectiveness.
Though early in the public process, the State Treasurer’s Office is creating a program that emphasizes both ease of use and accountability through strict controls to ensure funds are only spent on approved uses. A diligent and thoughtful approach to implementation should serve Nevada parents, students and taxpayers well.
Between the vision of Senator Scott Hammond and the Nevada Legislature, the leadership of Governor Brian Sandoval and the comprehensive implementation of State Treasurer Dan Schwartz, Nevada is poised to be a national model when it comes to educational choice.
Background on the Universal Education Savings Accounts Act:
- Education Savings Accounts (also commonly referred to as Education Scholarship Accounts or ESAs) are an innovative way to bring customization to the education system.
- ESAs utilize accounts created by parents and funded at between $5,100 and $5,700 and monitored by the state. With the accounts, parents can direct their child’s funding to the schools, courses, programs and services of their choice – including tuition and fees, curriculum materials, tutoring, online learning, dual enrollment and licensed services such as therapy for students with disabilities.
- The state will oversee and audit the accounts to ensure all funds are spent appropriately.
- Parents are able to judge all education service expenses not only on quality but also on cost.
- Traditional public schools will retain local and federal funds for students who leave to take advantage of the ESAs. This will result in higher per-student spending for children who remain enrolled in public schools.
About the author
Adam Peshek @AdamPeshek
Adam Peshek is Managing Director of Opportunity Policy at ExcelinEd, where he provides strategic support to state leaders interested in developing, adopting, and implementing policies that increase educational options for children. He has provided expert testimony in more than a dozen state legislatures and is a frequent commentator on ESAs, school choice, and education policy across the country. He is also the is the co-editor of the first published volume on ESAs, Education Savings Accounts: The New Frontier in School Choice. Adam currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia and is a Senior Fellow with the Beacon Center of Tennessee.