Rory Reid has recruited some extra help for his gubernatorial campaign. His new television ad focuses on education policy and is narrated by his wife, Cindy, who is a teacher:
Cindy has been a high school teacher and also served on the state Board of Education. The Reid campaign today announced she has taken a leave of absence from her job as a professor of English at the College of Southern Nevada to focus on the campaign this fall. She will be visiting schools and talking to voters about education.
During the recent gubernatorial debate, which focused on education, Reid repeatedly mentioned that Cindy assisted in researching and crafting his plan for improving public schools in Nevada.
Reid’s proposal — a statewide expansion of Nevada’s Empowerment School program that Reid calls his “EDGE” plan — would cut down on the bureaucracy typical in most public school systems. The plan would give principals greater control of resources and give teachers more control over their own classrooms. Its open-enrollment aspect would also empower parents to send their children to any public school.
Reid’s opponent Brian Sandoval supports most parts of the EDGE plan but says he wants to further empower parents by issuing vouchers that can be used to send their children to private schools. Reid strongly opposes vouchers, arguing that they will take needed money from already hurting public schools while benefiting a relatively small number of students, because they will not cover the full tuition at most private schools.
Reid even went so far as to argue in the recent gubernatorial debate that vouchers would benefit only the 4 percent of students already enrolled in private schools. This statistic assumes that no parents with students in public schools would choose to send them to a private school, given a voucher to cover or reduce the cost. But in a 2008 poll of 1,000 conducted by the Nevada Policy Research Institute and Foundation for Educational Choice, 48 percent of Nevadans said they would choose a private school, given the option, while another 23 percent would choose a charter school.
In Nevada, several private schools charge tuitions under $6,000 and only a handful exceed $10,000 a year, so vouchers would very likely enable hundreds if not thousands of students to attend private schools.
Nevada consistently ranks among the worst states based on standard indicators for quality education.
Reid, chairman of the Clark County Commission and son of Harry Reid, is still trailing in polls by double digits.