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No Parent Left Behind
No Parent Left Behind

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AIR DATE: June 1, 2010

Community organizer Andres Mendoza totes a bullhorn to school board meetings to make a statement. He won't be silenced. He is the organizer of a largely Hispanic grass roots movement pushing for systemic change in the Clark County School District called No Parent Left Behind.

Mendoza's current campaign is to have Jim Rogers instated as temporary superintendent of the Clark County School District. (Rogers is former chancellor the Nevada System of Higher Education.) But his story points to bigger questions about CCSD:

* How well is the school district serving parents?
* How can parents voice opinions on CCSD policy?
* What is the the CCSD board of directors doing to facilitate parental involvement?

We talk to Mendoza about CCSD. And we've asked the CCSD Board of Directors join us as well, to answer your questions.

If you're a parent with a concern or question for CCSD, share it here.

GUEST
Andres Mendoza, Pres and Founder, No Parent Left Behind
Terri Janison, president, Clark County School District Board of Trustees.
Sheila Moulton, CCSD School Board trustee, District G
    comments powered by Disqus
    COMMENTS:
    Anthony-Good luck, I suggest you place your child in a charter school. CCSD has a history of denial of services. If anyone does not beleive me, contact the Office of Civil Rights.
    CMay 27, 2010 20:48:19 PM
    Mr. Mendoza speaks for change, however, he did not give any specifics as to how to fix the school district. We have to be part of the solution if we are going to be outspoken. I think that his refusal to participate in a PTA or run for the school board is an example of how he wishes to be noise for change but doesn't really want or know how to change the school district for the better. Parents getting involved in their local PTA or just being an active partner in their childs school life does make a difference. I think NO Parent Left behind should take an active role in getting ALL parents involved in their childs school and their education. Why do we want to leave our childs education only in the hands of others. As parents it is OUR responsibility to make sure our child is on time to school, is attending school, is understanding and finishing their homework, is behaving in school, gets resources that are necessary for them to succeed. This is a partnership. Most children that succeed have a parent first and a teacher second that are looking our for their best interest. Are their problems with the education process here, yes. Are there enough parents involved to help, No
    carolMay 27, 2010 11:33:50 AM
    My biggest concern is oversight at the district level of individual school principals. One of the things we hear over and over is that an individual's experience at the school level is highly dependent on the principal, and I have found this to be true as a CCSD graduate, former district teacher, and a parent of two current students. Beyond running point when parents have a problem with a principal or the following of policies at a school (which from my personal experience can take nearly a year), what do the area superintendents actually do to monitor principals?

    [Comment sent by email and added by SON staff]

    LauraMay 27, 2010 00:00:00 AM
    Parent link is a joke, has not worked for 8 years.

    When will we have a district wide standard text for math, history and science. ???

    When can we expect a real syllabus at the high school level that will prepare students for college.

    After 4 years I still don't know what my daughter will be doing next so we can prepare for it.

    [Comments sent by email and added by SON staff]

    JMay 27, 2010 00:00:00 AM
    I am a recent transplant from California and my daughter is currently enrolled at Thomas O'Roarke elementary. I have been pleased thus far, though I did run into a bit of trouble with getting my daughter some classroom assistance. She has a short attention span, requires additional time on tests, proximity to teacher or redirection. After investigation I had to go through a lengthy 3 month process before the teacher was allowed to give this extra attention ( a process called a 504 ) has just now been completed, with only maybe a week or two left before the summer break.

    My question, is there a better way to streamline getting services for children in the school system that so desperately need them?

    Also I would like to request that the ccsd school calendars be put in maybe an ical or google calendar format, instead of pdf so that they can be accessed by parents and people on the go a lot with ipods or smart phones. ( might help with getting to more of those meetings )

    [Comment sent by email and added by SON staff]

    AnthonyMay 27, 2010 00:00:00 AM
    There is a lot of talk about parental involvement, but hard as I try I haven't been able to get involved with my daughters curriculum since elementary school.

    The problem is that there is no standard curriculum or consistent at home resource.

    I complain every year and sometimes get a book , but am then told that they don't go by the book.

    Is it so hard to teach history by chapter 1 then 2 then 3 &???

    I cant believe she is actually graduating this year.

    JMay 27, 2010 00:00:00 AM
    Can you speak about the accountability of teachers toward the success of their students? Is there any accountability at this point upon the teacher when one or more of their students fail their class or receive low grades?

    If a child is not succeeding I am under the impression that the responsibility is upon the student and their motivation level or lack of it. If a student is not motivated for whatever reason, the impression I have as a parent is that utilization of summer school, independent learning, and virtual classes are the bandage for the problem. However, this plan puts stress upon families and adds cost to them.

    I encourage efforts to change this graduation plan where teachers will work together with administration to put into effect programs at the school level that would require unmotivated students or those who may lack the skills or maturity to be successful on their own to be accountable to their assignments and grades throughout the school year.

    anne lacalaMay 27, 2010 00:00:00 AM
    The response from the board was a joke about take home resources and a syllabus a parent can actually follow. There has to be a way to put books / CD's that reflect the days lessons in class and tell parents and students what is coming next.
    J DowneyMay 27, 2010 10:03:17 AM
    I have an idea. How about we use parent link to check grades in between report cards, but we require the teachers to be responsible for educating our children. If I had time to administer a syllabus I would have two full-time jobs! Wouldn't it be easier for all of us just to homeschool? Ohhh..now I remember, I'm not my child's school teacher. Someone else has that job. And they are paid for it including a pension. I'm all for helping my child with homework...but that's it. Do your job CCSD! And quit shoving your responsibilities onto the parents.
    k MichaelMay 12, 2011 21:46:30 PM
    I apologize for the length of this complaint:

    Apparently they voiced the same opinion to their regular teacher the next day. This teacher (who, to be honest, taught these kids nothing except how to use a calculator) had me placed on the school's do not use list for failing to follow the lesson plan, in that I did not allow students to use a calculator - NB, no instructions regarding the use or non-use of calculators were provided by this teacher. There were no written instructions and no guidance was given in her verbal instructions.

    There is, I think, little that can be done in my case. - but I would appreciate Ms. Moulton talking with the principals in her district to make sure that complaints filed are valid. Since each complaint becomes a part of that employees permanent record and, as was amply shown in my own case, minor complaints are later perceived as systemic abuse.

    Thanks.

    Robert L BurkhartMay 27, 2010 00:00:00 AM
    I was a special ed. teacher in the district and now I'm a parent in the district. I'm very pleased with my child's education at Lincoln Edison. When I was a teacher it was very difficult to be the best teacher I could be. I had no text books for my kids and I had to fight the facilitator to get the best individualized education for my students. The "system" makes it hard for teachers and parents at times. Ultimately I feel communication is dependent on each individual schools' administrations.
    Samantha ReberMay 27, 2010 09:56:17 AM
    I accepted an assignment at Global High School to teach an evening class of students (High School age, not adults) - This was a math class. The regular teacher was present when I arrived and gave me two work sheets for the students to complete. No other instructions were given. When the class started a student asked if they could use a calculator - the two works sheets were remedial in nature (adding and subtracting mixed numbers, e.g., 2 ¾ take away 1 ½ . As a rule, most high schools do not allow students to use calculators for such work as they are not allowed to use them during the proficiency exam. Global , I learned later, is an exception to that rule. I might also add that I didn't realize that calculators could accommodate fractions. The students did not complain. Indeed, at the end of the class (close to 3 hours later) several students approached me to say We learned more from you this evening than we have from our regular teacher all year. -- I didn't solicit that feed-back, they were the honest opinions of those students. Apparently they voiced the same opinion to their regular teacher the next day. I was placed on the school do not use lise.
    Robert L BurkhartMay 27, 2010 00:00:00 AM
    As long as I can remember (I'm a graduate of CCSD 1982) Clark County and Nevada public schools are consistently rated the worst in national polls with per pupil spending some of the lowest in the US.

    What are Mr. Mendoza, Ms. Janisen and Ms. Moulten doing to change these long-tern problems?

    KarenMay 27, 2010 00:00:00 AM
    First let me say that Ms. Sheila Moulton and I have corresponded a number of times and that I have always found her to be quite proactive and responsive to my concerns.

    While this may be a bit off topic - I would encourage Sheila to talk with principals and teachers about the reports that they may submit on substitute teachers who work at their schools. I was fired by the CCSD in February of this year for repeated complaints of poor performance (six altogether in six years) --- some complaints were quite serious others less so. Here is one example:

    I accepted an assignment at Global High School to teach an evening class of students (High School age, not adults) - This was a math class. The regular teacher was present when I arrived and gave me two work sheets for the students to complete. No other instructions were given. When the class started a student asked if they could use a calculator - the two works sheets were remedial in nature (adding and subtracting mixed numbers, e.g., 2 ¾ take away 1 ½ . As a rule, most high schools do not allow students to use calculators for such work as they are not allowed to use them during the proficiency exam. (continued)

    Robert L BurkhartMay 27, 2010 00:00:00 AM
    My biggest concern is oversight at the district level of individual school principals. One of the things we hear over and over is that an individual's experience at the school level is highly dependent on the principal, and I have found this to be true as a CCSD graduate, former district teacher, and a parent of two current students. Beyond running point when parents have a problem with a principal or the following of policies at a school (which from my personal experience can take nearly a year), what do the area superintendents actually do to monitor principals?
    LauraMay 27, 2010 09:39:53 AM
    Please tell Ms.Moulton, that whether Mr. Mendoza attends or not is not the question: he was there, the majority of who you wanted to be there were not. What was her point. It just goes to show that the defense of small points is more important than acknowledging the fact that the input of tax payers and then most importantly parents are completely ignored when it comes to what is needed and wanted for education.
    KirkMay 27, 2010 09:15:34 AM
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