Nevada’s universal education savings accounts were the most far-reaching educational choice program ever created, but they suffered a setback earlier this year when the state Supreme Court ruled the funding mechanism unconstitutional.
November elections swept pro-school choice Republicans from power. Potential legislative fixes a likely bargaining chip between Democratic lawmakers and Gov. Brian Sandoval, meaning it’s an open question whether the program will ever get funded.
While Nevada’s fate remains uncertian, educational choice advocates are looking to other states to follow up with legislation that might match its scope and ambition.
There’s no question education savings accounts will be on the agenda in state capitals all over the country next year. They’ve been passed by legislatures in six states and signed into law in five. A total 18 states drafted, studied or introduced ESA bills in 2016, and this fall’s elections may have tipped the political balance for educational choice in statehouses around the country.
Observers and education reform experts gathered in Washington last week for the Foundation for Excellence in Education conference had some ideas for states worth keeping an eye on.
The top choice of Robert Enlow, the president of EdChoice, Iowa already has a tax credit scholarship program.
Iowa lawmakers actually drafted a universal ESA bill a whole month before their Nevada counterparts back in 2015. But despite 24 co-sponsors, the proposal never gained traction. Another ESA bill to create a smaller pilot ESA program for 190 students could only make it out of a subcommittee in the Republican-controlled House.
The November elections may have changed the political calculus. Republicans gained control of the state Senate, and now observers across the political spectrum seem to believe some form of ESA legislation is in the works. Continue Reading →