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Walt Rulffes
Walt Rulffes

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AIR DATE: September 10, 2010

Superintendent Walt Rulffes is on his way out, but, he leaves behind plenty of challenges for his successor. Half of Clark County's schools dont meet federal testing standards. The district/s graduation rate by one measure is as low as 42 percent. And all signs point to another round of budget cuts when the legislature meets to fill a projected $3-billion-dollar budget gap in February.

Another blow came to the district in July when the state missed out on the coveted Race to the Top Grant. The district also missed out on $19-million more in federal funding in August when it lost out on federal i3 grants.

We conclude our summer series on education with outgoing Clark County Superintendent, Walt Rulffes.

How will the district deal with another round of budget cuts? Are teacher in danger of losing their jobs? Given the district's financial and academic problems what does the district need in its next leader?

GUEST
Walt Rulffes, superintendent, Clark County School District
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    COMMENTS:
    All we have to do is put Federal rights in place for the students who WANT to learn. Rights are in place for all the others students
    RobertSep 9, 2010 09:59:25 AM
    By every measure, education in the US, through high school at least, we are not world competitive. The tests keep showing over and over again that the schools don't produce graduates who can read, do math, read a map at world standards but we continue to hear from teacher and administrators, that the tests don't do anything; in fact that they are teach to test. The test shows the teachers/system is not teaching basic skills for students to survive in today's job market. I think it is time to stop complaining about testing and focus on teaching and when that happens, the test scores will improve and our graduates will once again be able to read, write and do basic math.
    KirkSep 9, 2010 09:57:41 AM
    You are right - if you want an honest appraisal of our secondary schools ask any college professor -- he will tell you that few college Freshman can write their names let alone a paper -- most Freshman must take two semesters of remedial English before they can successfully pass English 101. Why because the secondary schools are not teaching our children to read and write (or think) -
    Robert L BurkhartSep 9, 2010 10:05:49 AM
    The emphasis is on testing because the results of tests are poor -- there would be fewer tests if student performances were higher. You can test math proficiency every week, but if you don't teach children their time tables, starting in 3rd grade, you will not get good results. The U.S.A. is the only country in the World (and I lived outside of the USA for close to 30 years) that can't teach these basic facts; the rest of the world uses rote.
    Robert L BurkhartSep 9, 2010 09:57:21 AM
    You can't pass Algebra I without knowing your time tables -- Students should know these basic math facts as well as they know their colors -- and, if they learned them by rote (in 3rd grade) these facts could be learned in 6 weeks -- instead, professional educators reject rote, arguing that it effective only for short term memory - and that is right if what you are memorizing is never used again or reinforced - multiplication tables are used constantly.
    Robert L BurkhartSep 9, 2010 10:11:52 AM
    I think one other thing that should be considered is that measuring ourselves against ourselves is no longer meaningful. Most graduates of our K-12 systems cannot compete effectively with graduates of countries we compete with so to say our rank inside the US is XX, it means very little. When in the past we lead the world in education, to measure ourselves against ourselves, it held some meaning but we have to start measuring against all the others for that is the only way we are going to remain competitive.
    Kirk Sep 9, 2010 10:44:59 AM
    A few minutes ago Mr. Rulffes said in a very off-handed manner, 'bye the way we are not 50th'. Please ask him what our actual rank is then among the 50 states.
    Fred KeisermanSep 9, 2010 09:56:01 AM
    We aren't 50th -- we are 51st as they also count the District of Columbia
    Robert L BurkhartSep 9, 2010 09:58:44 AM
    Las Vegas, NV - In a shocking new report, Education Week shows Nevada has fallen to the absolute rock bottom of national education rankings, sitting in 51st place out of all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

    According to the report, Nevada graduates less than 42 percent of its students, compared to 69 percent nationwide.

    Robert L BurkhartSep 9, 2010 11:57:42 AM
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