March 17, 2020
17 Mar 2020

Political Update – March 17, 2020

VICTOR JOECKS: Education lawsuit backers suing system they spent years praising

Victor Joecks
Las Vegas Review-Journal

March 5, 2020

If those behind a new education funding lawsuit are upset about the quality of Nevada’s public schools, they should be suing themselves. They’ve supported the very education initiatives they now claim have produced a constitutionally deficient system.

On Wednesday, Educate Nevada Now sued the state over what it argues is a lack of school funding. The group wants the courts to rule that the state doesn’t provide enough money to produce a minimally acceptable level of education. The lead plaintiff in the case is Caryne Shea, who is vice president of the education advocacy group HOPE for Nevada.

It’s not news that Nevada’s education system is doing poorly. What’s noteworthy is that both ENN and Shea have spent the past five years praising the steps Nevada politicians have taken on education.

In 2015, then-Gov. Brian Sandoval proposed the largest tax hike in Nevada history, specifically to fund education. Shea signed a statement supporting Sandoval’s “education initiatives” and tax increase. After Sandoval muscled his spending plan and taxes through the Legislature, HOPE put out a celebratory newsletter.

“The majority of HOPE’s objectives this session came to fruition,” the release read. It continued, “Nevada’s students, teachers are real winners with unprecedented funding for schools.”

ENN came into existence during the middle of the 2015 legislative session. Its first big move was to file a lawsuit against Education Savings Accounts, a school choice program passed earlier that year. ESAs would have forced public schools to improve by enabling families to choose alternatives, such as private schools. ENN won its lawsuit, and ESAs never took effect.

In 2017, both ENN and Shea’s group praised the actions taken during Sandoval’s final legislative session.

“Nevada’s education reform architecture that has been developed through bipartisan effort in the last three sessions is sound and ambitious,” Sylvia Lazos, then-ENN’s policy director, wrote as part of written testimony submitted during the session.


Quote of
the week



“This is the height of arrogance. [Educate Nevada Now and Caryne Shea] should be begging for forgiveness from Nevada students for pushing policies that they now acknowledge failed miserably. They mistakenly believe that you can fix a broken system by dumping more money into it.”

Victor Joecks
Las Vegas Review-Journal

Judge blocks teachers union’s $1B sales tax plan

Colton Lochhead
Las Vegas Review-Journal

March 14, 2020

A Carson City judge on Friday blocked a sales tax increase proposed by a teachers union that would generate $1 billion per year in new state revenue.

But John Vellardita, executive director of the Clark County Education Association which proposed the ballot measure, called the injunction from the judge “a bump in the road” and said the group plans to refile the petition soon.

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