Las Vegas Sun

December 18, 2014

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WHERE I STAND:

Students’ plea: Prioritize education

Catherine Cabo

Catherine Cabo

The Sun Youth Forum provided a day of intellectual discussion among educated young adults. In layman’s terms, it was a debate among teens. But we quickly learned that we all had more in common than anticipated.

Instead of the heated arguments we expected, we were surprised to see the level of camaraderie and agreement in the room. The consensus was that we all had a problem with the Nevada school system. “Money can’t buy me love,” but it can sure as heck improve Nevada’s educational ranking in the United States.

Among the students, there was an overwhelming majority in favor of the following: smaller class sizes, greater safety precautions, clubs, sports and other extracurricular activities, block scheduling and, most importantly, raising teacher salaries.

All of these things share a single thread, and that is — you guessed it — money (or more appropriately the lack thereof). These programs all need more funding, plain and simple.

Logically, if students are spending their time training for sports, preparing for forensics, studying for varsity quiz, practicing drill for JROTC, researching a foreign culture for international club or other various school-related activities, the less time they have to get initiated into gangs, to go to illegal parties and raves, and to do drugs.

Students need a place or an outlet to turn to. These programs give students the drive, motivation and, most important, a purpose; thus they are essential for our school system to provide. Unfortunately, with drastic budgets cuts, these were some of the first to suffer.

Education is an underappreciated profession in Nevada. What people need to do is grasp the magnitude of reality where a single teacher is responsible for the future of upward of 200 pupils.

We understand the fact that teachers are putting in their best effort, and these are hard times for many people economically, but it is not fair when students must deal with the repercussions of one of their teachers having to take out a second mortgage or another teacher being constantly exhausted from his/her second job.

We all settled on the fact that if the teachers’ salaries were higher, the quality of teaching would increase.

Our agreed-upon solution was to plead and to educate Nevada voters on the state of our school system. Hopefully, in doing this, voters will want to make the long-term investment in our future.

The only hope that the students of Nevada have is for the upper levels of government to hear our plea and prioritize education.

The Sun Youth Forum provided us a way to voice our frustrations and our concerns with the future state of the Nevada school system. We realize that it may be too late for us personally, but it is not yet too late for the future of our state.