The Clark County School District is facing a number of problems. The district is dead last in the country in graduation rates, the system is broke and currently has a lame duck leader. In November the school board could take a philosophical shift depending on the outcome of the election and two gubernatorial candidates are making education a top issue in their platforms for election. So what is the biggest issue the district will have to wrestle with going into the election and the 2011 legislative session? Las Vegas Sun education reporter, Emily Richmond is leaving Las Vegas soon, but first she joins us to talk about what she anticipates the big stories will be.
The problem with the solutions I hear to education problem is "one size fits all." This is not true. The problems in Ely are different than in Las Vegas and the problems in zip code 89107 are different than the problems in neighboring 89134. Some schools can't even find the students while others more students than the building will hold (year around problems). You cannot solve problems at the state level. They have to be solved locally. The has a legitimate role in education, such as, setting standards, accrediting schools, licensing teachers, and allocating tax dollars. Once this has been done, the solutions need to be local. Bob –Jul 15, 2010 10:37:35 AM
Aak. Sorry, everyone, I only read that last post though once, and it is riddled with mistakes.
I guess to summarize: kids meet the expectations you give them. If the state only expects minimum requirements, then students will only meet minimum requirements.Karalee Pugmire –Jul 15, 2010 10:06:32 AM
I teach Middle School English. I would say that the biggest problem in my seventh grade classroom is the fact the students know that they only have to pass one semester of ELA. The have two courses of ELA: Reading and English. When a student knows they only have to pass one semester of a class once they have done that they stop trying. I believe that is part of the problem with drop-outs. They get to high school and all of the sudden every class must be passed. They are not used to having to pass. The councilors tell them over and over that they only have to pass one semester, so they don't try. Also passing is only a D. Kids don't care about tests, only adults do.Karalee Pugmire –Jul 15, 2010 09:59:14 AM
First, I want to thank Emily for her excellent side-by-side comparison of Reid's and Sandoval's education programs in the Sun. Second, I'd like to hear more of her thoughts on the proposed expansion of the empowerment model; specifically its dependence on community involvement. I have two step-children, ages 12 and 15, and in my experience the high level of parent apathy would undermine the success of this model. My suspicion is compounded by the obvious fact that teachers are under-motivated (by workplace culture, public support, financial incentive, etc.) and over-worked.
Does Emily feel either plan sufficiently addresses this (in my opinion) huge obstacle?Heidi –Jul 15, 2010 09:48:22 AM
I recently learned Emily Richmond is leaving Las Vegas to participate in a fellowship program. I'm genuinely happy for her, but Clark County is going to miss her consistent and informative reporting.
I hope the Sun finds a replacement with Ms. Richmond's professionalism and journalistic acumen.Gibby –Jul 15, 2010 09:45:03 AM
Your guest's comment a moment ago regarding the greater college success after taking even one AP course when compared to peers that never took such a course implied that the cause was the curriculum. I would argue that it is likely that it is probable that these students college success was caused more by being associated with a class cohort that values their academic experience than by the particular differences of the course materials or content.
Heterogenous groups, even at a high school level, makes it more difficult for the system to consider some kids as "throw away students" and are also one of the best ways to bring up school level performance. Justin –Jul 15, 2010 09:40:02 AM
Re caller comments: Read 180 is an excellent reading program for students of any age.Kris O –Jul 15, 2010 09:27:44 AM