Next Up Blog

The Southern Nevada Urban Micro Academy (SNUMA) is a first-of-its-kind partnership between the city government of North Las Vegas and Nevada Action for School Options, an innovation-focused education nonprofit, to create microschools designed specifically to counter pandemic learning loss as an equitable, measurable in-person solution for city families.  We hope you’ll take two minutes to watch this mini-documentary about this unique work.

Special thanks to the forward-thinking leadership of the City of North Las Vegas, to all of our remarkable partners and relentless team, to the VELA Education Fund, and to Universe Creative for making this video possible.

Welcome to National Poetry Month, 2021 – time for our 2021 Poetry Contest!

As we have done in the past, all participants are eligible to join our end-of-month video poetry reading event, and winners will be shared especially broadly.

This year’s theme: Experience Poems!  This can mean most anything that resonates for you.  Last year, the pandemic inspired our “When I Get My World Back” theme.  Now, as our world is opening up to living experiences, feel free to write about what experiences you are wishing for, planning for, doing, or thinking of longingly. Visiting a place, a relative, a friend, or doing something you’ve only read or dreamed of. — what inspires you, and what you want to inspire others by sharing, is what we want most to enjoy and share.

If you’re looking for examples, we know you and your kids will enjoy the ten minute video from our 2020 “When I Get My World Back” Poetry Event.

Any school-aged child is eligible, regardless of where they receive their schooling. Entries will be grouped in age-level bands.  So please include your child’s name, age/grade, and school (including Nevada homeschool, private, public charter and district-operated public school).

Please submit your poem and/or video to by midnight, Monday, April 26.  Once again, a VIP panel of judges will select poems worthy of commendation across a wide range of creative categories.

And if you have any questions, please direct them to me at or 702-202-3573.

Thank you and good luck!

To get you started thinking, here is a favorite poem about experience itself by Mark Doty.

Experience is an intact fruit

core and flesh of it;

once cut open,

entered, it can’t be the same,

can it?

Mark Doty, Source



Nearly all students around the country have experienced at least some level of home-based learning in the last year. As a result, many families are beginning to wonder if a blend of traditional brick-and-mortar schooling and at-home learning may be best for their children. Does this option even exist? If so, what is it? What does it look like when done well, and how can families take advantage of this option?

Join Michael Q. McShane, EdChoice’s Director of National Research, and Nevada Action for School Options’ Don Soifer, on Tuesday, March 30, at 4:00 p.m. PT, as McShane breaks down these questions.

McShane will draw from his upcoming book, Hybrid Homeschooling: A Guide to the Future of Education, as we explore why hybrid homeschooling might be the future of education.

Register here to reserve your spot for this virtual event today

Don’t forget to save this event to your calendar by using the “Add to Calendar” feature following registration.

We hope to see you there

Private education choice programs around the country have generated tens of billions in net savings to taxpayers, according to a new research study. Through 2018, the report found, between $12.1 billion and $27.8 billion in savings have been realized as the result of 40 education choice programs in 19 states plus the District of Columbia. 

These school choice programs saved between $1.80 and $2.80, on average, for every dollar spent on the programs.

As education budgets are stretched thin across the country, the result of lost tax revenue through difficult pandemic economic conditions, these findings should be expected to resonate with state policymakers.  

Dr. Marty F. Lueken, “The Fiscal Effects of Private K-12 Education Choice Programs in the United States.” EdChoice Working Paper 2021-1. March 2, 2021. 

There are 67 educational choice programs operating in the United States today, serving families in 28 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.  The study examined fiscal effects of these programs between 1990 and 2018.

The most important factor in achieving the savings discussed has to do with the relative size of the payments received by students for use in these programs. 

“Students in choice programs received less than one-third of the revenue they would generate for their states’ public schools,” observed the report’s author, Dr. Martin F. Lueken, director of EdChoice’s Fiscal Research and Education Center.  

When children move to private schools to participate in education choice programs, private philanthropic dollars and other new revenue sources frequently make up the difference between the size of the program disbursement and the actual costs to attend the private school.  Participating private schools often absorb these costs in their operating budgets, or through established scholarship programs of their own.

The report also observed that public school districts benefit fiscally because they often keep a significant portion of per-pupil funding for students who depart their schools to participate in these programs.  Additionally, most states’ school funding systems maintain “hold harmless” funding provisions that protect school district budgets against revenue losses from declining enrollment.

For Nevadans, it is worth noting that their state’s Opportunity Scholarship program was not included in the study because, as the author explained, only half of available scholarship funds were disbursed that year (funds were held back by scholarship organizations as reserves to continue those students’ scholarships in future years).  This was deemed non-typical enough to merit excluding the program from the fiscal effects analysis.

Charter schools in seven U.S. cities were responsible for learning gains projected to produce nearly half a million dollars in total lifetime earnings by their graduates, according to a new study by the University of Arkansas’ Department.  

DeAngelis, C., Wolf, P., Syftestad, C., Maloney, D., & May, J. (2021) Making it Count: The Productivity of Public Charter Schools in Seven U.S. Cities. School Choice Demonstration Project, University of Arkansas Department of Education Reform.

What’s more, each dollar invested in a child’s K-12 schooling creates, on average, $8.00 in lifetime earnings in public charter schools.  This compares favorably to $5.46 in lifetime earnings in traditional public schools for each dollar spent.  This a higher return on investment of $2.54 per dollar in the charter versus traditional district-run sectors, effectively a 46 percent return on investment advantage, according the the study authors.

Public charter schools, which serve all students and are operated by private, usually nonprofit, operators, generally receive less per-student funding than traditional public schools, and are not included in other subsidies frequently granted to school districts, such as funding earmarked for facilities or direct legislative appropriations.  In the final day of Nevada’s last legislative session, for example, $72 million in operating funding was appropriated to be split between school district schools, but state charter schools were bypassed.

In four of the cities examined – New Orleans, Denver, Indianapolis and Camden — charter schools demonstrated cost-effectiveness advantages higher than 50 percent.  The other cities examined were Washington, DC, San Antonio and Memphis.

Camden, NJ, charter schools posted the highest advantage among the cities in the study in student reading achievement gains compared with their school district.