Ruben Murillo, President, Nevada Education Association
Bob Coffin, Las Vegas Councilman, Ward 3
BY MARIE ANDRUSEWICZ -- The Las Vegas City Council is tired of waiting for the state to get its fiscal house in order when it comes to funding education. On Wednesday, the Council approved hiring 25 Teach for America educators to work in at-risk schools in and around downtown.
Councilman Bob Coffin says that if critics of the Teach for America program don’t like it, just tell him.
“They can come to me and say wait a minute, this isn’t right. They aren’t good, or they abuse their teachers, why can’t they come in the union, et cetera.”
Ruben Murillo, President of the Nevada Education association takes issue with the plan from another perspective – why isn’t the state stepping up to fund education programs that need it?
“Instead of depending on private corporations, private foundations and such to fully fund education, we need to do the job that was supposed to be done by the legislature and fund education to its fullest extent,” says Murillo.
Although Murillo seems appreciative of the $62,000 that the Council approved to hire the TFA educators, he notes that the council doesn’t really have the resources to fund other needed initiatives, including English Language Learners, classroom size reduction, and full-day kindergarten.
Coffin says the Nevada state legislature “has not had the guts” to make the tough decisions necessary to maintain education funding in the state.
“(School funding) leaked and leaked -- every time a recession came, we cut education and we wouldn’t restore it,” says Coffin of his two years in the Nevada Assembly.
“It’s time for action,” says Murillo.