Next Up Blog

Thanks to a new analysis by the Nevada Policy Research Institutes’s Daniel Honchariw, we see how well-constructed school choice programs hold substantial benefits, not only for the students and their families able to take advantage, but for taxpayers as well.

The program allows businesses that pay Nevada’s Modified Business Tax to receive dollar-for-dollar tax credits for scholarships which income-eligible students (from households with income up to 300 percent of the federal poverty threshold) can use toward tuition for participating private schools and through approved scholarship organizations.  The scholarship size is limited, as is the total amount of funds statewide which can be used by the program.

Using the average, annual per-student spending of $9,165 and the average size of each scholarship awarded, the NPRI report calculates that Nevada taxpayers have saved $1.14 for each tax dollar spent on the program to date.  What’s more, because most of the dollars raised through the tax credits have not actually been spent yet on scholarships (as the process moves forward), the report finds that taxpayers will actually save $1.92 for every tax-credit dollar, because nonpublic schools will actually be assuming responsibility for serving those students.

The program includes requirements for participation by nonpublic schools, including administering norm-referenced annual tests to scholarship students.

In fact, numerous studies have shown that actual per-student spending levels are substantially higher, when other subsidies including building and maintaining school buildings are factored in — so actual taxpayer benefits are likely even greater than those described in the report.  With Nevada experiencing some of the nation’s fastest growth in its school-aged population, and with overcrowding and teacher shortages already common in its public schools, Nevada officials are well-served to pay attention to the fiscal, as well as educational, benefits of choice programs like the Educational Choice Scholarship Program.

Nevada Action is an approved scholarship organization.  Reach us at info[at]nevadaaction[dot]org for information on how to contribute or apply for scholarships.

Read Honchariw’s paper, “Nevada’s Opportunity Scholarship: A Win for Students and Taxpayers.” 

Nevada Action for School Options
Spring Speakers’ Series

Thursday Afternoons

April 19, 2018       Jeanne Allen, One of the Nation’s Most In-Demand Education Reform Speakers, Kicks off Our Spring Speakers Series

Jeanne Allen, Founder and CEO, Center for Education Reform; and Pat Hickey, Executive Director, Charter School Association of Nevada

Pat Hickey

April 26, 2018     Anthony Kim Discusses his Latest Book, The New School Rules: 6 Vital Practices for Thriving and Responsive Schools

Anthony Kim, Founder and CEO, Education Elements

May 3, 2018    Spring Speakers Series: Sara Mead and Dr. Kim Metcalf

Sara Mead, Partner, Bellwether Education Partners; and Dr. Kim Metcalf, Dean, University of Nevada, Las Vegas College of Education

May 17, 2018           “Anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education Decision Discussion: Nevada’s Future is Bright with Empowered Families”

Gerard Robinson, President, Center for Advancing Opportunity, chair of the Trump Administration’s education transition team; and State Senator Scott Hammond


All events are free and open to the public. We strongly encourage you to RSVP to:

241 West Charleston Boulevard, Suite 150
Las Vegas, NV 89102
Tel : 702-706-5795

Most people involved with education are are quick to point to the benefits associated with earning a high school diploma, and especially with earning a college degree.

But to Americans living in our nation’s “fragile communities,” earning a degree or professional certificate beyond a high school diploma instills a more profound sense of confidence in a person’s ability to achieve their most important goals (career, financial, health) than either their high school or four-year college diploma does.  This is according to a new study, The State of Opportunity in America: Understanding Barriers and Identifying Solutions, published earlier this month by the Center for Advancing Opportunity

Fragile communities, for the purpose of this analysis, are defined largely by the low average socioeconomic status of their residents, including the proportion living below the poverty level and the proportion without a college degree.

In Nevada, one-third of households have annual income below $35,000.  The same holds true for households in Clark County.

People possessing a vocational or associate degree are significantly more likely to be confident in their ability to achieve their goals, according to surveys conducted by the Gallup organization.  Any increase in education levels was associated with increased self-efficacy, the research showed, and the largest gaps were between those with a high school education and those with any form of post-secondary education.

Most of us in education work to overcome barriers to graduating high school, enrolling in college, and ultimately earning a college degree.  Perhaps adding the importance of earning postsecondary professional certifications should be just as much a part of this conversation — because when it comes to the confidence we express in our ability to meet our most important goals, the payoff for these recognized certifications appears to be even greater.





Thanks to a law signed last year, Nevada’s school districts and charter schools may now participate in a groundbreaking new pilot program to utilize competency-based education.  They must first submit an application to the Nevada Department of Education before the deadline on April 11, 2018. Details and the application are available here.

Nevada defines Competency-Based Education as “A system of instruction by which a pupil advances to a higher level of learning when the pupil demonstrates mastery of a concept or skill, regardless of the time, place or pace at which the pupil progresses.”

So in other words, mastery of specific academic content, and not just the 100-year-old system of meeting seat-time requirements, can become the measure of when a student is ready to move on to the next lesson — an important step for schools looking to personalize teaching and learning for all students.

The pilot, which remains unfunded, represents an important opportunity for Nevada schools.  Feel free to reach out to me at don<at> if you’re interested in learning more about personalized learning or competency-based education.