I am unimpressed with the state’s K-12 pre-school education system, including the decisions Gov. Steve Sisolak made for schools at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Elected.
“Las Vegas-area schools rank worst in the nation for quality, and our state ranks 49th for education. How is this going to be accepted?” he said Tuesday. I asked in a press release.
Lombardo’s top education priorities include restoring funding to Nevada’s Read by Grade 3 program, repealing the Restorative Justice Student Discipline Act approved in 2019, and evaluating initiatives to divide Clark County School District. included.
A list of new ideas for reforming and improving Nevada’s education system demonstrates Lombardo’s expanding position on education. Lombardo has traditionally focused on expanding school choice, promoting workforce development and keeping schools safe.
He also criticized Sisolak for his leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic, but both candidates were criticized for ensuring access to quality education regardless of zip code and curbing teacher shortages in states. has expressed several similar goals for education in Nevada, including working for
Sisolak, like other governors across the country, temporarily closed schools statewide when the pandemic began in March 2020. As a result, the Washoe County School District has led to him returning students in-person with limited capacity for the 2020-21 school year, while the state’s largest school district, located in Clark County, has a full school district for most of the school year. distance learning continued.
In August 2021, before the start of last school year, Sisolak issued an emergency directive requiring staff across Nevada to wear face masks while in school. Only K-12 students at Clark and Washoe were required to wear masks at school, and all students were required to wear masks while on school buses. , was similar to recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Lombardo says Sisolak’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic was partly the catalyst for his decision to speak out against Sisolak.
But the state’s negative publicity surrounding education was an issue long before the pandemic and even before Sisolak’s tenure as governor. Lombardo’s plan to improve the state’s “failed education system” involves working with legislators, parents, students and educators to develop a 10-year education plan containing goals, objectives and accountability measures. It includes doing
Lombardo’s plan also targets school violence. This was a problem that was particularly felt in Clark County schools last school year. At a press conference in late March, the school district’s police chief shared that from 2021 until his 22nd year, his department had been forfeiting. On the school campus he had 25 firearms found and more than 3,000 reported assaults, shelling and fighting. This was important for the school district. The issue came to national attention after a high school teacher was brutally attacked by a student in May.
After the incident, the Clark County Teachers Union seeks to reform student disciplinary practices to reduce dropouts through restorative justice, an approach that promotes non-punitive interventions and support to improve student behavior 2019 Cited law AB168 of the year. The Clark County Education Association says the law “handcuffs” educators and prevents them from reprimanding students for violent behavior. But one of her supporters of the law, Congressman Selena Torres (D-Las Vegas), rejected the claim, noting that the union at one point supported the passage of the law.
But whether the law is helping or hurting schools and students, Lombardo aims to repeal the law as a way to deal with school violence.
“Congressional Bill 168 was a disaster for our students and teachers,” he said. “It was disgraceful and should never have been passed.”
Read about Lombardo’s other education priorities below.
Recover funding for reading by 3rd grade
Lombardo called for the restoration of funding for the Read by Grade 3 programme, an initiative launched in 2015 by the then-government. Republican Brian Sandoval as a way to ensure that students are reading at grade level by the end of his junior year.
This program changed in 2019 with the passage of Bill AB289. The bill removed the program’s mandatory retention requirement. This meant that her junior year, who hadn’t reached grade-level reading, didn’t have to hold back. next school year.
“We need some negative sanctions related to bad behavior. It’s not bad behavior when it comes to children, but it’s bad behavior as part of our policy,” Lombardo said of the program in an interview in March. Nevada Independent.
Lombardo’s statement on Tuesday also claimed that the program “has been denied funding by the Sisolak government.” Funding for the program had previously been cut as part of pandemic-related budget cuts, but at the end of Congress in 2021, lawmakers restored about $500 million to the education budget. AB289 also added his $11 million funding to the program in 2019.
Third grade storytelling still exists as a state program, and AB289 has left many of the program’s core requirements intact. The program still calls for the development of local literacy plans, the presence of on-site literacy professionals in all primary schools, and the notification of parents of under-grade reading students. Such students should also be provided with intervention services and reading tutoring.
Still, the program’s funding no longer exists as separate categorical grants to schools, and in 2021, the basic per-pupil funding the state provides to schools, plus 25 other It has actually been transferred to state categorical grants for education.
Demolition of Clark County School District
Lombardo’s priorities included “evaluating ballot initiatives that might allow for the splitting of Clark County School District and other underperforming school districts.”
The call to divide the Clark County School District into smaller units is nothing new, but these ideas have not gone far in the past. One of his recent pushes came from Henderson City Councilman Dan Stewart. His Political Action Committee has hired a signature collection company to gather signatures for potential legislative initiatives.
Require ‘appropriate qualifications’ for school board members
Lombardo called on school board members to be “adequately qualified, adequately trained, and required to spearhead community engagement efforts to ensure that the voices of their communities are heard.” rice field.
Similar thoughts were recently discussed at the August meeting of the Interim Legislative Committee focused on education. Suggested adding an appointed board member. Clark County School Board Director Daniel Ford also suggested that members need more training.
These ideas stemmed from recent turmoil on the Clark and Washoe school boards, where meetings between board members in person and bickering online were sometimes central to meetings. . In Clark County, for example, a collapsed board last year fired and rehired district superintendent Jesus Jarrah. Also in Washoe County, the school board considered denouncing her one of the commissioners accused of outspoken criticism of the school district and spreading misinformation.
Prohibition of “Social Reform Curriculum”
According to Lombardo, schools in Nevada are taught “a curriculum of social reform” and “blatantly age-appropriate books and materials.”
The press release did not mention specific examples of inappropriate books being taught or where they are being used, and Lombardo’s campaign Nevada Independent.
A spokesperson for Lombardo’s campaign said Nevada Independent In a statement Wednesday, Lombardo said it “opposes curricula or school resources that advance a political or ideological agenda,” but did not provide further specific examples when asked. rice field.
ensure that every child has the best possible education
Lombardo’s priority list also emphasized providing access to quality education, regardless of student status.
He defined it as “providing adequate classroom resources and furnishings and expanding school choice options so that a student’s zip code does not determine their future”. In part, it reflects comments made by Sisolak and other politicians. Including former U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.
At Wednesday’s event, Sisolak said, “Every child deserves a quality education, regardless of their parent’s bank balance or zip code.”
Still, Lombardo has been a vocal advocate of school choice, including expanding charter schools and using voucher-style education savings accounts, so the two candidates disagree on how best to achieve it.
Addressing teacher shortages
Lombardo listed several priorities related to the treatment of teachers, including broadly advocating that educators be respected and rewarded for excellence and innovation. He suggested that the chronic shortage of teachers in Japan could be improved by reforming teacher licensing requirements.
He welcomed qualified teachers to our state, created an incentive system, called for licensing to get new educators to come and call Nevada home, and advocated “special needs and It added that it hopes to invest in educators trained in mental health education.
Lombardo didn’t identify specific ways to change the licensing process or recruit special education teachers. Meanwhile, in August, Sisolak introduced emergency regulations to reduce the cost of substitute teaching licenses and give those employees more time to renew their licenses, in an effort to ease the state’s educator labor shortage. signed.
In a statement to Nevada Independent, a spokesperson for Lombardo’s campaign said it would consider rewarding teachers with raises or bonuses. This was promised by Sisolak in the 2018 gubernatorial election and achieved in the 2019 Congress.
Lombardo also stressed that improving school safety is a key factor in retaining and recruiting “the best and brightest teachers.”