It’s Time to Modernize Nevada’s Outdated Private School Rules

Nevada’s schools of choice provide the families who depend on them with educational opportunities they value and depend on.  And they do so navigating an extremely restrictive regulatory environment.  

In fact, Nevada has among the nation’s most overregulated nonpublic schools, a situation which increases costs of compliance and stymies innovation in ways that harm the working families who are the heart of Nevada’s nonpublic schools community.

Nevada’s private schools, serving some 20,000 students, are heavily regulated in areas such as seat-time requirements, teacher and administrator licensing, rigid restrictions on facilities, and adherence to the Nevada content standards. Nevada’s present, outdated private school laws and regulations seem overly rigid and restrictive, creating undue expense to comply with. 

While Nevada’s private schools which are operated by house of worship are eligible to apply for “exempt” status, in reality these requirements from which even they are exempt are still problematic. While there is important room for improvement here, it makes little sense why such an exempt status be preserved only for religious private schools, in America’s modern education environment where innovations can allow learners in all types of schools to benefit.

Additionally, a set of outdated, poorly-written, and overly broad prohibitions intended to govern paid tutoring in Nevada statute stands blocking families from being able to hire tutors for their children, an educationally disastrous situation in this period of pandemic learning losses. And while highly innovative microschools around the country can open as the small private schools families think of them as, in Nevada these harmful rules, in combination with one of the most restrictive regulatory environments in the country for private schools, often make this prohibitive for small, multi-family learning environments.

Technically, in Nevada under these current rules it can be reasonably concluded that it is illegal for piano and violin teachers, ACT and SAT coaches, religious tutors like Bar and Bat Mitzvah instructors, and coding teachers are prohibited from charging willing families for their services unless they hold current public teaching licenses.  

There are no comparable statutory prohibition in effect in any other state besides Nevada. And we know from our collective history that some of the worst laws are those which are overly broadly written and selectively enforced. 

Governor-elect Lombardo faces an important opportunity to modernize and update these outdated rules, and in doing so to usher in crucial new innovation to help meet Nevada’s education challenges.