Heartland Institute Experts Respond to ACLU’s Lawsuit Challenging Nevada’s ESA Program

Published August 27, 2015

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Nevada filed a lawsuit today challenging the constitutionality of Nevada’s education savings account (ESA) program. ACLU claims the ESA program uses public money for religious purposes, which is prohibited by the state’s constitution.

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) signed the ESA program into law on June 2. The program will allow parents to opt their children into the ESA program and use funding for a variety of approved educational options, including private school tuition, tutoring, textbooks, and therapies.

Most students would receive 90 percent of the per-pupil funding allotted to students statewide, a little more than $5,000. Low-income and special-needs students opting in would receive 100 percent of the state’s per-pupil funding. To be eligible for the ESA program, a child must have attended public school, including either traditional public schools or charter schools, for at least 100 days before using funding granted through the ESA program.

The following statements from education policy experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely at[email protected] and 312/377-4000.

“The ACLU’s lawsuit is equal parts expected and disappointing. Not a single dollar has been set aside for the purpose of religious education. The Nevada education savings account program was set up to give parents additional and better educational options for their children. The ACLU is fighting against freedom. The ACLU is fighting against the right of a parent to decide what is the best educational option for his or her child, and the ACLU is ignoring the fact that Nevada’s traditional public schools have been failing students for years.”

Heather Kays
Research Fellow, The Heartland Institute
Managing Editor, School Reform News
[email protected]

“It is a sad day for the students of Nevada that the ACLU, a group known to support freedom, has filed a lawsuit to stifle the freedom of students and parents to choose the education that best fits their needs and circumstances.”

Lennie Jarratt
Project Manager for School Reform
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

The Heartland Institute is a 31-year-old national nonprofit organization headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.