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Former Gov. Bob List, Assembly Speaker Buckley Face Off On Fixing Nevada Schools
Former Gov. Bob List, Assembly Speaker Buckley Face Off On Fixing Nevada Schools

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AIR DATE: June 12, 2013

GUESTS

Gov. Bob List, Republican, 1979-1983

Barbara Buckley, former Assembly Speaker, Democrat

BY MARIE ANDRUSEWICZ -- Was the last legislative session a bust because lawmakers failed to raise taxes to fund Nevada’s perennially underperforming school system?

“I’m not sure it’s a failure,” says former Nevada Republican Governor Bob List. “I think you have to justify an increase in taxes before it can even be considered. And I don’t think there’s been a justification.”

List does approve of Gov. Sandoval’s focus on increasing funds for English Language Leaner’s programs. “I think all the extra money that went into that is well spent. We have such a high proportion of Latinos in our schools now who don’t speak English.”

The former Governor points to a recent story about high school graduates failing even to pass the military aptitude test. According to the report, only one in five Nevada graduates passed the test.

“I think we could use a serious, objective study on what’s wrong with our schools and how to fix it,” says List.

Former Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley says that some of the reforms kicked around already have value – full-day kindergarten, smaller class sizes –  and should be implemented.

She also thinks that schools should not only implement programs specific to students who need extra attention, like English Language Learners, but should also challenge those students who are thriving so that they’re not bored.

Buckley points to schools like The Advanced Technologies Academy, which has a medical and dental track as well as other science curriculums to challenge students, as successfully challenging students. “But we have kids who can’t get in. They’re on a lottery.”

List agreed with Buckley’s praise of the Google Plus school. “Many of our schools are beautifully equipped,” says the former governor. “I happen to believe this school district is so difficult to manage because it’s so darned big. Parents aren’t involved with their children’s education at all.”

But Buckley says it’s difficult for the parents to help when the books issued by the district aren’t in alignment with common core standards. “How can that be?” asks Buckley. “Who is in charge of that?”

Buckley says this disconnect between books and standards is just one of many “chinks in the armor” of the system.

“We can do better than that,” says Buckley.

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    COMMENTS:
    Everyone knows that all of our schools are horrible, and there's no way that money is the problem. Indeed, having so much excess money allows the CCSD to get so totally distracted by spending on bureaucracy and irrelevant-to-education crap that simple, no-cost, time proven, effective things like having teachers actually teach content, maintaining high academic standards, enforcing discipline in the classroom, and getting parents involved are totally ignored. I think anyone with even an ounce of common sense could easily run CCSD with half of the money currently budgeted!
    Tom HurstJun 12, 2013 14:27:03 PM
    You suggest that your two guests are retired lawmakers, but I would like to know if either of them have worked as lobbyists since they left public service in an effort to influence the same legislature some are calling a failure. Its important to know if the people evaluating the system are also benefiting finalcially from it as lobbyists.
    Jim in HendersonJun 12, 2013 08:52:55 AM
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