Las Vegas Sun

April 16, 2014

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letter to the editor:

CCSD stuck in outdated system

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I appreciate your ongoing series of articles on the state of education in Nevada, “What to do about Nevada’s schools.” Although retired from the Clark County School District and moved, I have a number of friends in the district and have a continuing interest in my former students.

The challenges cited and solutions proposed do not truly address two core issues. The first is that our system of public education is based on a Victorian model of and for industrial production. While that model may have been useful when most children started working in farms and factories at age 14, it is completely inadequate for a knowledge-based economy and culture.

The second is that the model of public education relies heavily on a managerial class that has every incentive to maintain or expand its dominance. Consider that the many reforms proposed and implemented during this era of “education reform” are primarily regressive actions — enhanced repetitive testing in core subjects, tracking, etc. — strategies that worked in the 1950s and in British schools delivered by ossified bureaucrats to an unreceptive customer base.

Management theory posits that failing institutions become more rigid and doctrinaire. A good example is CCSD. Even if the superintendent were an actual reformer, he is limited by an administrative bureaucracy in which far too many participants are simply placeholders who have risen to their level of mediocrity. Restricted by a management union contract, the superintendent cannot promote, dismiss, replace or reassign those staff.

CCSD will not make the necessary changes to deliver better education because it cannot make those changes.

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  1. CCSD is stuck in the past for more than the reasons given. It's too big, too unruly and too different for a one size fits all for the schools, students, teachers and geographic areas. The district needs to be broken down into one or more smaller ones. Divide and conquer. It becomes more efficient and effective to make site based reforms and easier to affect academic achievement for students.

    Carmine D

  2. If we are so cash strapped and unable to support education then change the system. There seems to be widespread agreement that all day kindergarten is crucial when it comes to improving education. If so, change our cash strapped public school system so that education is free for the first 12 years, K through 11. Then figure out how to deal with year 12 education independently. Lengthen the school day? Abolish extra pay for a Masters that really isn't needed? Why not use the Millennium scholarship funds and criteria for year 12? Who knows, maybe with this new approach kids will be so much better educated that they can pass the state high school graduation test early. If this all seems too far out, examining some of the legislative proposals in Carson City will make this proposal seem like a great alternative.

  3. Forget state of the art. The art is unsustainable. GO BACK to larger classrooms and teach the basics. When you get that right, politely ask for AP curricula. Until we get acceptable results out of K-12, cut funding and keep cutting. Vouchers, vouchers, vouchers.