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EDUCATION:

Clark County School District’s tentative budget forecasts 1,350 layoffs in ‘worst-case’ scenario

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Justin M. Bowen

Dwight Jones, the Clark County School Superintendent, is photographed in his office Thursday, January 20, 2011.

Updated Wednesday, April 11, 2012 | 6:10 p.m.

Nearly 1,400 jobs may be cut if the Clark County School District doesn’t win its arbitration battle with its teachers union, according to a tentative budget proposal unanimously accepted Wednesday morning by the School Board.

The School District faces a “worst-case” budget deficit of nearly $64 million next school year if it is forced to grant salary step and education increases to its teachers, according to Jeff Weiler, the district’s chief financial officer, who presented the tentative budget to the board.

Since salaries and benefits account for nearly 90 percent of general fund expenditures, the School District may be forced to shed 1,000 teacher positions if the Clark County Education Association — which represents more than 18,000 teachers — prevails in arbitration.

Another 300 teacher and support staff positions are also on the chopping block because a one-time federal EduJobs stimulus grant of $55 million will not be renewed past June 30.

About 50 positions paid for by the 1998 school bond program to oversee and manage school construction may also be cut as the capital campaign comes to a close. However, voter approval of a new, $5.3 billion capital improvement plan over the next decade may save these positions. The capital improvement plan is in the working stages.

In total, about 1,350 positions are on the line under the “worst-case” budget scenario, Weiler said. The School Board on Wednesday approved giving reduction-in-force power to Clark County Schools Superintendent Dwight Jones. Pink slips may be sent out to affected employees by mid-May.

Although the district is still looking at which positions are not “mission-critical,” eliminated positions may include literacy specialists and education computer strategists because they would not affect class size calculations, Weiler said.

“None of these are choices we like to have to make, he said. “The superintendent would say the same thing. It really goes against certainly a lot of the things he’s trying to do to try to improve instruction, results and getting kids ready by exit.”

The teachers union remained adamant about continuing to press for the salary step and education increases they say are entitled to them under their current contract. Union President Ruben Murillo maintains the School District has the money to pay for teacher raises, and he questioned the district’s decision earlier this school year to hire hundreds of new teachers.

Murillo also said multiple union concessions, negative working conditions and layoff threats had many teachers voluntarily leaving the district. He said teachers were worried not only about their jobs, but also how class sizes might increase by three or four students if 1,000 teachers were laid off.

“Why would teachers come to the district when there is so much uncertainty?” Murillo said. “Our goal is to keep teachers in the classroom and keep students engaged.”

Since 2007, the School District has cut nearly $500 million from its budget as a result of the recession, Weiler said.

“We’re challenged in a lot of areas, and we’re trying to be as flexible and as efficient as we can, but there’s only so much that we can do,” he said. “We think we’ve really stretched as far as we can.”

Even under a “best-case” budget scenario, the district would face a $3 million shortfall, Weiler told board members. That level of red ink, however, would be “manageable,” he added.

The budget can swing that much because it represents a snapshot in time of the district’s financial health. Constantly fluctuating variables — such as fuel and water costs and the upcoming arbitration outcome — may change the budget scenario at any moment, Jones said.

“We’ve made our best guesses and estimated, but this is very tentative,” Jones said of the budget, adding he planned to have a better financial picture in May. “It’s still very early in the (budget) process.”

The School District’s general fund — which pays for day-to-day operations — is expected to be around $2.05 billion next fiscal year, which starts July 1. This represents a decrease of 1.7 percent, or $35.7 million, from the current year.

Even though state per-pupil funding allocation and the local school support tax revenues have risen, property tax revenues continue to be on the decline, Weiler said. Student enrollment and other local taxes are also on the decline, he added.

As a result, the School District is anticipating $7 million less in revenue next school year, Weiler said.

Total expenditures are expected to fall about $15.6 million next year, assuming $64 million in union concessions, he said. But in certain areas such as salaries and benefits and fuel and water costs, though, expenditures have risen, Weiler said.

Although the School District has shed about 850 positions since 2007, employee compensation has shot up by $240 million, or about 13 percent, in those five years, Weiler said.

Further, although the School District has reduced water consumption by 32 percent since 2000 by installing more than a million square feet of artificial turf, a recent Southern Nevada Water Authority rate increase of 40 percent has the School District allocating about $4 million more next year for water purchases, he said.

Skyrocketing gas prices in recent months, Weiler said, prompted the district to allocate an additional $4 million more to run buses next year, even though it has reduced bus mileage by nearly 2 million miles a year with bell-time consolidation and bus route changes.

All in all, the School District will carry over a $40 million ending fund balance next year. That represents a $20 million decrease from this year — and will fall below the School District’s 2 percent ending fund balance minimum.

The School Board approved lowering the minimum ending fund balance to 1 percent on Wednesday. However, because the School District has carried a 1 percent ending fund balance for the past three years, the district must notify the state Taxation Department of its reasons.

Governmental entities, including the School District, must carry over a certain percentage of their budgets in case of unforeseen circumstances. If an ending fund balance falls too low, it may trigger a state takeover of an entity’s fiscal operations, which almost occurred in North Las Vegas when the city fell dangerously close to its state-mandated 4 percent ending fund balance.

Weiler said he did not anticipate state interference. The state, he said, relies on a number of other fiscal indicators aside from the ending fund balance in its fiscal health checkup.

Still, School Board members expressed concern over the district’s small ending fund balance.

“We need to recognize this is poor fiscal practice to have an ending fund balance at 1 percent,” School Board member Carolyn Edwards said. “But I don’t see any other way.”

School Board member Erin Cranor said while carrying such a small savings for emergencies is concerning, budget cuts have forced the district to dip deep into its reserve to keep about 800 teachers in the classroom. It was a tough trade-off in this rough economy, she said.

“We’re trying our best to educate these kids in this economy,” she said. “Students first.”

The School District must submit its approved tentative budget to the Taxation Department by April 15.

The board is scheduled to receive the final budget on May 16. The deadline for the district to submit its approved budget to the Taxation Department is June 8.

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  1. "... employee compensation has shot up by $240 million, or about 13 percent, in those five years, Weiler said."

    "Since salaries and benefits account for nearly 90 percent of general fund expenditures..."

    "Students first."

    Uh-huh.

  2. 57 pages of unfilled positions were released by the CCSD today. Keep them unfilled. Problem solved. Thanks.

  3. Wow... so many holes in this article you could sail the Titanic through.

    First off, let's look at the compensation package for our fearless dictator, Dwight Jones. Jones earns $358,000 per year, including $277,000 in direct salary, $4,000 for "professional development", $700 a month for a car payment, and $15,000 in moving expenses. In the last year of former Superintendent, Walt Rulfess, he made $247,000. That is a 45% increase in pay for the superintendent.

    Secondly, let's look at the number of employees outside of the classroom. Dictator Jones split the district into "performance zones", each with it's own "Academic Manager" earning $100K. There are 148 PAGES of non-school personnel listed by the district. Giving a cursory count, there are approximately 6,800 non-school based employees. That means there are 3 teachers for every non-school employee. That's just pathetic.

    Thirdly, let's look at the teacher contract itself. Since 2007, a person with my level of education (a masters degree) and with my experience would earn the following:
    2007-2008: $43406
    2008-2009: $45142
    2009-2010: $45142
    2010-2011: $45142
    2011-2012: $46087

    Where's my 13% increase!? In 5 years I've gotten a $2681 raise. That's about a 6% raise. How about you do some real research, Sun? Go talk to teachers. The morale here is AWFUL. Teachers feel abandoned, and if the district were to prevail in arbitration, you will see teachers become angry.

  4. During the last year or two, morale has gotten so low that most teachers have simply become numb to anything more that comes down the pipe.

    We hear about new things that would have used to rattle us, and we just shrug our shoulders, shuffle back to our classrooms and do the best we can for our students. Appreciation? Job Security? Working conditions? Pay? Whatever's gonna happen is gonna happen. You see and hear the vocal few. A larger majority have just quit caring very much about all the outside bull.

  5. Why was this decision done on a Wednesday morning when teachers, parents and students couldn't attend? Who is most affected by this budget, and why weren't they given an opportunity to express their opinions? If the purpose was to brief the board on the proposed budget, that could have been done, and the board make their decision about the tentative budget at the NORMAL meeting April 12. When I saw the video of this on TV today, there were 5 or 6 people in the audience. The regular meetings have been packed lately with a sea of red from concerned teachers, students, and parents. This is a blatant attempt by the board to stifle public comment and discussion of the budget by the stakeholders impacted most

  6. I don't know if you were being sarcastic, Bob, but we already have that. Pedro Martinez, the school district's deputy superintendent for Curriculum has no instructional background whatsoever. I think that my many years as a classroom teacher qualifies me to conduct open heart surgery. Any volunteers? :)

  7. Judgesmales, I take great exception to your comment. I am paid for 7 hours and 11 minutes per day for 184 days. I take work home every night during the school year and I guarantee I work just as many, if not more, hours than someone working a 40 hour week 12 months a year.

    Sure, destroy the future of Nevada so you can save a few dollars. That sort of short-sighted, incredibly ignorant and selfish attitude is what has us in this position in the first place. As far as unions, I guarantee your life is better because of things unions have done for you: the weekend, the 40 hour workweek, overtime, the minimum wage... Why vilify organizations that have done so much good? Why vilify organizations that people choose to be a part of?

    Oh, that's right. You want to save a few dollars.

  8. Your union would rather sacrifice 1300+ of its own than to accept concessions that the rest of the world has had to endure during this recession.

    Wah - you've only gotten a 6% raise these last few years. Again, a heck of a lot better than the rest of the work force who has had their pay cut!

    Be grateful that you even have a job.

  9. one thing is clear...
    crystal clear...
    WE NEED TO LOWER TAXES ON MINING!!!
    those poor guys are over burdened...
    they need to strip the nevada land of its valuable resources and ship more profits out of state and out of country...
    screw our kids...
    mining companies need more profits...
    besides...
    if we just lower taxes on mining...
    the unemployment rate will drop below 3%...
    lake mead will fill to the brim...
    unlv will find the cure for cancer...
    so...
    screw the kids...
    screw the teachers...
    WE MUST LOWER TAXES ON MINING!!!

  10. @anthemccresident Before you start talking about teachers, let's compare their starting salaries with firefighters and police officers.
    How about we get back all the money the firefighters screwed the state out of with their "call in sick" scam? How many millions did they squander?

    Police officers in the Las Vegas valley START at $60,000. That's almost more than teachers top out at with a Master's degree + 32 credits and 20 years in the district. How much money are THEY scamming the city out of? Take a look here:

    http://www2.8newsnow.com/salaries/search...

    and sort by overtime pay... keep clicking from page to page... HOW MANY POLICE OFFICERS ARE MAKING OVER $30,000 JUST IN OVERTIME PAY?! Are you kidding me?! Starting teachers barely make more than that in a year.

    Anyone who blindly attacks teachers' salaries without knowing where the state's monies are really going, is grossly ignorant.

    6% of next to nothing, is still next to nothing. Keep in mind during the decade before that, when the cost of living rose 11% in the nation, teacher's received a 3% raise. Man, they're really screwing the city.

  11. What your contract says and what taxpayers can afford are two different things. You can't make taxpayer's pay money they don't have. In the Private sector they just get rid of everyone and start over with lower salaries 401k's only, less health coverage to stay competitive or just in business. GOVERNMENT JOBS HAVE TO UNDERSTAND TAXPAYERS ARE NOT CASH COWS WE TOO ARE STRUGGLING WITH ALL THE INCREASES SUCH AS GAS OR JUST THIS DEPRESSION LIKE ECONOMY. I guess not having a job is better

  12. As a state employee in my fourth consecutive year of salary and benefit cuts, excuse me if I'm not sympathetic.

  13. @jac, how do people in countries where the tax rates are around 20% survive? We've built our lives around paying monthly for things we don't NEED. Unlimited talk, text, data for a cell phone ($90-$150/mo). Do all of our sons and daughters need their own cell phone? No! Do we need to pay for cable/satellite/internet etc. to survive? No. Also, The rest of the world has been paying WAY more than what we're paying for gas for over a DECADE. Get over it. Learn to live within your means. This is why the rest of the world hates us. We cry about taxes being raised when comparatively, we are one of the, if not the most, under-taxed nations in the world. You know what will help us pay off this MULTI-TRILLION dollar nation debt we now have? LESS TAX REVENUE... oh wait.

    Teachers are the most underpaid, hardworking people in the state.

  14. orca17: When times were good, state employees were receiving all sorts of pay increases. Teachers were told, "Oh, no, there's too many of you," and received: 1) 1-2% raises; 2) a one time couple of hundred dollar "bonus" in lieu of a raise; or 3) absolutely nothing.

    The district doesn't want to furlough teachers because what would happen with the students? No, they want to the teachers to continue to do even more with even less. It's about time teachers fight for at least what was contractually promised to them.

  15. @jac. Just some food for thought.

    "In 2009, the mining industry had gross revenue of 5,800,000,000. After deductions, including some that may have not complied with state law, the net profit was 1,800,000,000. The tax paid to the state of Nevada was 48,600,000. For comparison, in 2010 gaming had the same gross revenue and paid over 425,000,000 in taxes to the state.

    The state of Alaska collects a royalty of 25% on oil. Alaska currently has a 3 BILLION surplus in the state budget, and Exxon just reported record 1st quarter profits of over 10 BILLION, so the royalty payment doesn't seem to be causing the oil companies financial problems.

    The Barrack annual report has just been published, and shows record profits and dividends above the record levels of 2009. This is a link to the report, you may want to look closely at pages 2, 3, and 4. http://media.lasvegassun.com/media/pdfs/.....................

    Net earnings and profits have jumped dramatically between 2009 and 2010. Shareholders return on investment jumped from 12% in 2009 to 19% in 2010. To put that in terms that are easy to understand, an investor in 2009 got a $12 dividend for every $100 invested. In 2010, that number jumped to $19 per $100. So for the two year period, the investor made $31 on each $100. Not bad for a down economy.

    In 2010, the Cortez Hill mine in Nevada produced 1.14 MILLION ounces (31.6 TONS) of gold at a cost of $312 per ounce. In the first quarter of 2011, the mine produced 366000 ounces (11.4 TONS) at a cost of $220 per ounce.

    Nevada is one of the largest producers of gold in the world. Assuming a profit of $1000 per ounce, that amounts to a profit from one mine of $366,000,000 for one quarter. That amounts to a profit of $1,464,000,000 if production for each quarter remains the same. Of that profit, Nevada will see between $10,000,000 and $20,000,000 based on current rates. Of course, the mining industry is fairly taxed, NOT!!!!!!"

  16. Gee if they put the teachers on full time, year round, about 2080 hours a year like the rest of us, we could get rid of 5,000 or so teachers with no impact on class rooms.

  17. Matt, so why are we 51st in results despite average funding and over-average in teacher compensation? Why are we 51st in results? Let's start over. Don't renew ANY teacher contracts and just start over.

  18. @Roslenda. Several questions. Please provide the link to support your statement that Nevada is "over-average" in teacher compensation. I haven't seen that data. If you want to let everybody go, where do you think that you will find 18000 teachers who work work cheaper. If teaching is such a good easy job, why aren't you in a classroom?

  19. @Roslenda 51st? Wow. That tells me everything I need to know about you. 52 states then, huh? We're 49th, and there are 50 states. If you want to find the source of our poor scores, look at your surroundings. We live in a town where the uneducated can get by on a livable wage (i.e. parking cars, dealing blackjack, stripping, cocktail waitress). It is unique to almost every other city in the U.S.

    Parents who are apathetic about education breed apathetic children. Ignorant parents breed ignorant children. I really you don't have any.

  20. *hope

  21. I'm guessing/hoping that there are unnecessary programs and positions that can be cut before we start eliminating teachers in the core subjects. Adult education is probably one of the first places to start. Not saying it's useless, but it has to go if we're forced to pick and choose. We can't afford to take anything away from primary teachers and classrooms.

    Teachers, I'm sympathetic to your cause, but just a couple suggestions when defending yourselves:
    1) You hate how people make assumptions about your working hours due to the summers "off". Don't make the same assumption about other professions. I've never had a job where I literally work 40 hours a week. I think you'll find that most people work much more than 40 hours, and most people come out of pocket for their work/professional development.
    2) Don't try to justify your requests by comparing yourselves to firefighters and police. You should know that the community is strongly against those salaries. It's also a very simple rule that we learned in pre-school..."just because someone else does something, doesn't make it right"
    3) In the future, push your union representatives to fight for salary/benefit increases in GOOD ECONOMIC TIMES, and be prepared to cut if the economy goes to crap (which it will again, assuming this town remains solely focused on the gaming industry).
    4) Whoever compared the Rulffes salary to the Jones salary...to be fair, Rulffes led the district when we were among the worst, if not THE worst, districts in the country. I'm guessing that the hope was that Jones would perform better. The board should have made his salary increase dependent on HIS performance, similar to what he's trying to do with teachers.
    5) In general, be genuine when you talk to us. Don't tell us that all of you are just working "for the kids". It's okay that you work to make money (and still care about kids), but again, don't lie to us and pretend that your only concern in life is helping kids.

    Honestly, if done properly, these cuts might not be that bad. Nobody likes to see jobs being cut/lost, but it's the reality of our current economy. I'm guessing that there are entire programs that need to be cut before we even consider adjusting the student/teacher ratio, or classroom supplies, etc.

    Good luck, teachers. Don't think that everyone in the city/county is against you. A lot of us are relying on you to turn this city/economy around. Please don't use the lack of funds as an excuse for poor performance. Please continue to work hard, and do everything you can to improve our performance, while still fighting for your benefits.

  22. @improveLV. Those 'easy cuts' have already been made. We have had supplies cut for the past several years. This is the reality. Your kids will likely see larger class sizes and fewer supplies in the classroom.

    We're not using lack of funds as an excuse. We only have kids for 7 hours a day, five days a week. What is happening to the kids the rest of the time? We can't fix poor parenting, hunger, etc, so stop expecting us to.

    In order to improve performance, it will take a fundamental change in how education is viewed in Las Vegas. Up until recently, the attitude was who needs an education, I can go work at one of the casinos and make good money. Those days are long gone.

    This is not just a teacher fight, it is a community fight. Everybody needs to say there needs to be a better way. Until that happens, teachers will do the best they can with the resources we have, and hope everything works out, but don't count on that. Why would any business come to Las Vegas until the COMMUNITY improves the schools and the attitude toward education. The COMMUNITY needs to say we need a better education for our kids and grandkids. Until that happens, nothing will change.

  23. I understand what you're saying, Tanker. I just don't want teachers to throw up their arms and give up because of these negotiations. I also don't like to hear teachers say that the ENTIRE community is against them. That's not the case at all.

  24. @ShannonK: I have been state employee for 11 years. I have yet to witness these "all kinds of raises" you speak of. There was an occasional cost of living increase, and merit bonuses have been suspended for years. I don't know a single employee who has ever gotten one.

    For the last four years we have dealt with unpaid furloughs. In the last legislative session the number of furloughs was reduced but the pay table was also cut, meaning that on the months I do take a furlough I get a 7.5% reduction rather than the 5% I got before. Our health plan has been gutted, presmiums and deductibles have both been increased. My workload has doubled over the past four years with no additional staff. I am also without collective bargaining rights.

  25. This story is not a surprising. The excessive spending and budget deficits have been an issue EVERY YEAR since 1995 - when the population influx (i.e., GROWTH) started to rise, exponentially, in Clark County. The School Board spends extraordinary amounts of money to recruit teachers, and offers inducements for teachers to move here - often with no regard for WHERE the MONEY is coming from.

    The phrase "School Budget" is meaningless in Clark County. As for the "School Superintendent," the salary and benefits for this position are ridiculous - considering they HAVE BEEN LUCRATIVE for many years, and are continually increased.

    Clark County does no long-range FISCAL PLANNING, nor does it define and enforce spending limitations. So, by what measure does the Teachers UNION believe (DEMAND) annual salary increases? For what? "Poor performance"? Since around 1995, teachers have not been able to educate students well enough to raise grades, lower the percentage of student drop-outs, or increase graduation rates -- which have been close to the bottom in the United States.

    Complaints of the lack of funding for salary increases have been made every year since 1995. These and other issues like "classroom size" are of great interest to TEACHERS. Yet neither the School Board, Parents, Teachers, nor Unions have come up with a method of EDUCATING CHILDREN toward raising graduation levels - without asking for vast sums of money.

    While I relent that teachers are NOT paid the greatest salaries in the world, IT IS STILL A LIVING, and better than 30 million other people, today. As for the cost of salaries -- It is NOT MANDATED that the County MUST HAVE money to pay for "step raises," etc., and still be able to operate the school system -- BEFORE such costs can be considered.

    As cited herein by other posters, the School Board SPENDS TOO MUCH MONEY or superfluous personnel and other things. For instance, the use and need for COMPUTERS could be reduced - so as to cover the other more critical COSTS. Children at higher grades could attend "Computer Labs" -- instead of TRYING to use computers to learn other REQUIRED SUBJECTS (e.g., English, Math, Science, etc.).

    As I see it, while the Teachers UNION is demanding monies to give teachers RAISES, the Union is doing NOTHING to aid in the EDUCATION OF CHILDREN (who have been failing courses and dropping out of the Clark County schools for over 15 years. In fact, Clark County is known for having one of the worst graduation rates - including College level - of students than almost any other school system in the United States.

    SO, WHAT'S IT GOING TO BE, CLARK COUNTY?

    Are we going to EDUCATE OUR KIDS, or put them AT RISK of NEVER being able to ADVANCE in life, because of this constand battle for SALARIES as being MORE IMPORTANT than ENSURING CHILDREN LEARN. Teachers can get another job. But a child cannot get another education; and they are AT RISK.

  26. I agree 100% with RunThisTown. "Parents who are apathetic about education breed apathetic children. Ignorant parents breed ignorant children". The apple does not fall far from the tree.

    Parents need to realize that they need to care about and invest in their children's educational success. It is a joint partnership between the teacher and the parent. It is sad that cutting teachers is an option right now. For all of you complaining about the quality of education in this state do you think increasing classroom size is going to help this? Our teachers are already tasked with babysitting the valleys unwanted children whose parents think CCSD is free daycare.They should get a raise just for that.

    You should also consider the fact that the DOE has consistently lowered the education bar to match the intelligence level of the new generation.When society as a whole stops encouraging and embracing meritocracy maybe then we can talk about our test scores and performance levels.

  27. 18,000 "teachers". Probably closer to 15,000 actually in classrooms. 19,000 other employees who do not directly educate one single student. Does that not bother anyone? CCSD has more employees that ADMINISTER AND SUPPORT education than it has who EDUCATE children. It's indefensible.

  28. A child spends 1293 hours per year in school. Who takes care of the other 7467 hours in the year? At what point do parents become responsible?

  29. Tanker, I hate to call you out, but it bothers me when people provide misleading or incomplete data in order to prove their point. If your 1293 number is accurate, kids are in school about 1/4 of their waking lives.

  30. Joe, I'm absolutely not disagreeing that parents need to step it up, but I think you make a stronger case when you resist the urge to exaggerate. I don't think it's necessary, and I think it takes away from a legitimate point.

    I WILL say that having a direct influence over 22-24% of someone's life is pretty significant. For some to act like they have NO responsibility for student performance is pretty silly.

  31. improveLV: Have you ever been able to make someone do something they didn't want to do, on a daily basis, and make them excel at it, to boot?

  32. To clarify. I determined the 1293 hours by multiplying 7 hours 11 minutes by 180 school days. Next I multiplied 365 by 24 to get the total number of hours in a year, 8760. Finally, I subtracted the two answers to get the total number of non-school hours. Actually, the percentage of the years that kids are in school is 14.76%.

  33. Shannon, I have some experience with groups of kids, but nothing like a teacher has to deal with on a daily basis.

    Once again, I'm not against teachers, but I'm not going to blindly agree with every single point that you make. I mentioned the % of time/influence that teachers have because I felt like Tanker posted misleading data in order to prove/exaggerate a point, which is something that bothers me. I posted a list above as a legitimate suggestion to teachers as they try to argue their case to different groups of people, because some of those arguments are extremely weak, and don't address the real issues.

  34. By airweare - You make some excellent points, expecially in the last two paragraphs. Ever since our society became two-job families, kids are left to their own interests after school - until one or more parents come home. And then, many parents are "too tired" to deal with a child's needs, interests, or questions - let alone finding time to sit down with them and discuss their CHILD's day.

    If people have children while both parents are working, they must also FIND time to ensure that what they have brought into the world, can be, and is, educated well enough to survive; to work at a job; and to be inquisitive enough to want to learn MORE about a variety of things.

    Otherwise, parents are just baby-makers who are "hanging their children out to dry" - with no chance of success, no skills, and no intellectual life-support. While what I have said may or may not apply to a large number of parents, if you look at the youth of today, what do you see? How and what are children learning that will help them succeed in life.

    Children use Cell phones (bought by their parents) in place of face-to-face conversations - which would develop speaking, listening, and personal interaction skills. And the use of BOOKS is being downplayed, and also being cast aside, in favor of electronic replacements for learning.

    Then we have the Internet in the classroom, where teachers are supposed to teach the 3 R's, yet often wind up trying to UNDO a problem created by a child with data entry on a computer screen - and the child has very little idea WHY things are happening.

    THIS is wasted class time for the teacher and the student - and the SUBJECT (which is not the Internet) is not learned. Could this method of teaching be part of the reason some children show a lack of interest in school subjects?

    Electronics may be useful, but they are NOT useful in training young minds (who don't even know how a computer works). I believe such a focus on electronics in schools is destroying our formerly accepted methods of education - which have trained and fostered development of some of the finest minds in the world.

    Yet there is no major outcry from parents, or academic minds, to protest these new "expedient" and electronic, methods being offered for learning - - and which COST HUGE SUMS of MONEY (ergo, becomming part of a schools budget).

    As for the use of COSTLY computers, try sticking your finger in an IPAD "page" when doing research (like you used to do with books). It won't work. Young children should FIRST spend time in class being taught HOW to spell, and READ - rather than "experimenting" with the Internet.

    Most professors in academia have and do read BOOKS, and a large number of them were not taught using a computer. (Harvard MBA Business School is one prime example.) They had to learn how to READ, to THINK, to ANALYZE something - and figure out what to do with it. Our children deserve the same kind of chance to learn.

  35. Teachers and administrators scream and holler. Stamp and shout. No wonder there are discipline problems in the class room. How about some respect for the taxpayers for a change. 51st in results but above average (all sources) in funding. Overpaid teachers networking rather than teaching. Unconscionable retirement benefits and perqs, and FOR WHAT? Arizona does a better job for $l,000 LESS per student per year yet they get more graduates and some students can read and write.

  36. @Roslenda You are grossly mistaken on both accounts.

    1) It is IMPOSSIBLE for us to be 51st in results... There are 50 states. The worst we could be is 50th. Holy crap, how uneducated are you?

    2) According to the 2010 NEA release, only Idaho gets less money per student. Nevada receives less than half of the #1 funded state per student, New Jersey. What that translates into, is less teachers per student.

    Over crowded classrooms, means students are unable to get the 1 on 1 time they need to ask questions, and deeply understand the material. There are states with classes that have had 13 students, and classes with 50 students. It makes a HUGE difference. Anyone who says otherwise has no clue what they are talking about...

    Again, we live in a city where high school dropouts can make $80,000/yr parking cars... how do you motivate the student who tells you he's dropping out to make twice your wage (which, BTW requires a bachelors degree) to stay in school and learn? You can't.

    Every argument you've made on here is absurd and makes me want to slam my head into a wall. Please get a clue.