State Lawmakers Disappoint Las Vegas Schools

State Lawmakers Disappoint Las Vegas Schools



The most recent Nevada session did little to​ alleviate the​ feeling in​ Las Vegas Schools that public education is​ low on​ the​ state’s list of​ priorities. as​ Las Vegas Schools try to​ educate a​ large and diverse urban community the​ state of​ Nevada doesn’t offer much support. Spending per pupil in​ the​ state is​ about $1,​800 less than the​ national average. Las Vegas Schools,​ along with other education and healthcare advocates,​ expressed disappointment at​ the​ legislature’s inability to​ bring the​ state to​ what some call a​ minimal standard of​ care.

One of​ the​ biggest disappointments to​ parents and educators of​ Las Vegas Schools was the​ lack of​ money to​ fund a​ universal all-day kindergarten program. According to​ a​ recent Las Vegas Sun article,​ educational advocates like Mary Jo Parise-Malloy of​ the​ Nevadans for Quality Education said that,​ “Until our per-pupil funding levels come up,​ and we’re providing basic,​ adequate support,​ our students are not going anywhere. We’re wasting our time.”

With a​ national initiative that requires all students to​ achieve “proficiency” on​ state exams by 2014,​ and that requires “highly qualified teachers” for math and science,​ Las Vegas Schools have a​ long road ahead. Teacher pay raises for Las Vegas Schools’ teachers were last raised by 2% in​ 2001,​ and are slated for a​ 4% increase in​ 2009. Las Vegas Schools’ districts,​ like Clark County,​ expect to​ have vacancies in​ the​ thousands for the​ 2007-2008 school year. One bright spot of​ the​ recent session was that incentives for teachers in​ at-risk schools were maintained. Las Vegas Schools’ teacher advocates are waiting to​ find out if​ those incentives can be handed out as​ cash bonuses rather than retirement pay.

While Las Vegas Schools’ educators aren’t exactly joyful,​ there were some winners in​ the​ funding announcements. Las Vegas Schools can expect to​ benefit from a​ grant of​ $80 million to​ fund remediation and innovation programs over the​ next two years. Keith Rheault,​ state superintendent of​ public instruction said,​ “the budget is​ a​ “fair compromise” due to​ “divergent views and declining reviews.”

The Clark County district of​ Las Vegas Schools will be able to​ add between 30-40 full day kindergartens in​ some of​ its high-risk schools. Many Las Vegas Schools’ educators support full day kindergarten for low-income students because it​ can offer them needed social and academic skills. the​ national trend towards all day kindergartens is​ not always embraced by educators,​ but the​ use of​ the​ method for students in​ poverty has wider acceptance. at​ the​ end of​ the​ day students,​ teachers and parents in​ Las Vegas Schools express a​ lack of​ faith in​ the​ state’s commitment to​ education. in​ the​ words of​ John Jasonek,​ Las Vegas Schools teacher advocate,​ the​ recent session is​ “another sad commentary about this state’s lack of​ commitment to​ education.”




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