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Education Reforms in NV Legislature
Education Reforms in NV Legislature

AIR DATE: May 3, 2011

One of most contentious issues in this year's legislature is how to reform education in Nevada. A couple of bills that were recently passed in the Assembly would change how teachers are evaluated and will implement a pay for performance plan for teachers. Those bills passed with bi-partisan support, but Gov. Brian Sandoval wants bigger changes to the system including changes to seniority rules and ending social promotion.
One of the governor's biggest bills, which would institute a voucher program in the state, has died in committee but there are other bills he will push for. The governor's plan has been compared to reforms implemented in Florida and Washington D.C.
Well known education activist and former chancellor of D.C. schools Michelle Rhee is also advising the Sandoval administration on education. We'll take a look at the bills the governor is proposing and whether those types of reform have worked in other states.
Joyce Haldeman, CCSD
David Figlio, Orrington Lunt Professor of Education and Social Policy and Economics, Northwestern University
Gary Peck, executive director, Nevada State Education Association
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    Educational reform in the state of Nevada is nothing more than a series of schemes to cut wages, either by directly lowering salaries through cuts, removal of salary steps, merit pay schemes or making it easier for administration to remove higher paid employees through at will contracts and replace them with lower paid, under experienced workers. It is truly amazing that a know nothing like Michelle Rhea can be advising the administration like the state of Nevada. What were her credentials. She spent very little time in a classroom, she was juiced into her job in Washington D.C. with credentials that didn't support her promotion; and her merit pay scheme she had introduced in D.C. has been the subject of a cheating allegation, much like Chicago did when they introduced a similar system. The reform movement has failed at all levels. Charter schools don't work, merit pay doesn't work, and the empowerment schools movement, like the charter schools, is just a way to cut wages, hasn't worked either.(See Chaparral High and Cheyenne High). What did work was the reform movement grounded in nothing but pure mathematical theory, SMSG. Check it out.
    Paul RuthApr 29, 2011 22:20:52 PM
    Teacher evaluation and accountability is necessary. However, when the number one driver of a student's academic success is actually parental involvement, not the teacher, the school, or the school district, how can you make a teacher responsible for and evaluate her on that? How can you encourage or legislate parental involvement, when we refuse to even legislate adequate funding for education in Nevada! Some principals and assistant principals have been promoted with only 3 years of teaching experience, many having taught one grade level. How are they possibly qualified to evaluate someone with many years of experience in different grade levels, has seen multiple programs come and go, and has a much deeper understanding of the many issues and "best practices" that have been practiced over the years. This teacher has the ability to pull from a full depth of knowledge and wealth of experience to inform her teaching. Her results may be wonderful, yet don't look like what the less experienced administrator expects and understands. He decides to save budget money by getting rid of her so he can hire a less-experienced,less-expensive teacher to mold his way. Experience counts!
    Patently ObviousApr 29, 2011 21:30:12 PM
    If a principle does not like a teacher weather professionally or personall they can choose the placement for that teacher. Maybe a difficult grade level, one a teacher may have never taught before. Or place all behavioral problem students into there class. Then what is a teacher to do? Principles have too much authority over classes and teacher placement.
    chrisApr 29, 2011 08:08:14 AM
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