'I Wish I Could Legislate What Parents Do,' NV Dem Chairwoman Says

State lawmaker Daniele Monroe-Moreno dismisses school choice, parental rights during committee hearing

May 1, 2023

The head of the Nevada Democratic Party last week lamented parental input in public schools, saying she wishes she could "legislate what parents do" but sadly "cannot."

Liberal state lawmaker Daniele Monroe-Moreno, who was elected Nevada Democratic Party chair in March, made the comment during a Wednesday committee hearing on a GOP-led school choice bill. Monroe-Moreno defended Las Vegas area public schools—which in 2021 ranked second-worst in the nation—by dismissing criticism of the schools as misplaced "parent input" that she wished she could stifle through legislation.

"All my kids went through the public school system in Clark County, and people can say what they want about CCSD—we have some amazing educators in CCSD, and they did a great job with my kids and others," Monroe-Moreno said. "And a lot of it is parent input. I wish I could legislate what parents do, but I cannot. Had to say that."

Unlike her kids, Monroe-Moreno went to private school as a child, an opportunity she said she received because her mom "worked two jobs" to afford tuition. That experience, the Democrat argued Wednesday, shows why Nevada Republican governor Joe Lombardo's school choice bill is not necessary. For Monroe-Moreno, parents don't need public funds to send their kids to private school because those parents already have "options" when it comes to their children's education.

"There are options out there for parents now. I went to private school for a point myself," the Democrat said. "My mom worked two jobs and my dad was in the military and they made that extra money to put me in private school for a short period of time."

Lombardo's bill would create a state Office of School Choice and increase public funding for a scholarship program that helps parents send their children to a registered private school. Monroe-Moreno on Wednesday blasted that provision, arguing that the money should go to public school teachers "so they can succeed and really work to have success." Lombardo's $2 billion education budget, however, would also increase per-pupil funding in public schools by more than $2,000 a year.

Better Nevada PAC, a political group associated with Lombardo, blasted Monroe-Moreno's comments as "offensive and out of touch."

"Nevada Democrats aren't even trying to hide their disdain for parents across Nevada," Better Nevada spokesman John Burke told the Washington Free Beacon. "Monroe-Moreno's offensive and out-of-touch comments are not only an attack on Nevada parents, but they demonstrate the exact kind of backwards thinking from politicians that has put Nevada schools among the last in the nation."

Monroe-Moreno, who did not return a request for comment, took over the Nevada Democratic Party in March following a tumultuous period for the party under former chair Judith Whitmer. An avowed democratic socialist, Whitmer was elected Nevada Democratic Party chair in 2021, prompting the party's entire staff to quit. Establishment Democrats in Nevada went on to accuse Whitmer of working against elected officials in her own party, accusations that Whitmer said were part of a "smear campaign." Nevada's top Democrats endorsed Monroe-Moreno's candidacy for chair, including Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen and Reps. Susie Lee, Dina Titus, and Steven Horsford.