Katherine Chang, education advocate, joined the Washoe Young Democrats and gave a lesson in just how much the vouchers system – or education savings accounts (ESAs) will hurt our community.
The Washoe Young Democrats have written a letter opposing the voucher program, which you can read below.
The Honorable Brian Sandoval
State Capitol Building
101 N. Carson Street
Carson City, NV 89701
Dear Governor Sandoval:
As you know, Nevada ranks as one of the worst in the nation for Education. Our students deserve better and Nevada’s future is at stake as we continue to see inadequate education funding to prepare our citizens for an economy of the 21st century. As natives of the Silver State, we have grown up in the Nevada Education system and wish to see it become better than ever before. Today we are writing to you on behalf of the Young Democrats of Washoe County to oppose school vouchers in any form. Our most susceptible families here in Washoe County need access to quality district public schools, not vouchers. According to ‘Educate Nevada Now,’ the average private school in Nevada costs between $8,000 and $10,000 per year. However, the proposed vouchers would only cover $5,700.
For low income families, this essentially means that this proposal would keep those schools out of reach and take away the already low resources from the public schools which their children attend. This proposed law would cut programs such as special education, English as a second language, and even the gifted and talented programs. This is a direct and, quite frankly, offensive assault against the most vulnerable in our society.
In addition, Rural Nevada would be in deeply hurt by these proposed vouchers. In areas with small student populations, this would lead to a brain drain, where students who would otherwise have a positive impact on their local school would leave or be recruited away and the local rural school would be worse off for it. They also would lose precious funds if more students leave, continuing to devastate our rural schools in Nevada. We would be using public funds to pay for-profit corporations while leaving our public schools high and dry.
Lastly, we are very concerned about discrimination that can occur against students with disabilities and LGBTQA+ students. There are institutions, like the Catholic Church, which operate private schools and have used them to discriminate against students based on their sexual orientation. While this has not occurred here at home in Washoe County, we are opening the door to this possibility and it would be wrong of the state to do this.
In conclusion, the proposed school voucher program is wrong for many reasons:
- It still leaves low-income families far away from sending their children to private schools while harming the schools their children already attend.
- It will further damage our already-hurting rural schools, which have been a continual victim of partisan politics in Nevada already.
- And lastly, it opens the possibility for discrimination against disabled students and our LGBTQA+ students.
This proposed law is not only bad for Washoe County, but is bad for the entire state. Instituting a state-funded school voucher program in Nevada will leave its supporters on the wrong side of history – do not be one of those supporters.
Thank you for your commitment for a better Nevada.
Carlos Perez-Campbell, President
On behalf of the Washoe County Young Democrats