It is a mood point on how we got here for there are many issues facing our schools, but the real question is what do we do about Nevada’s education system. Looking at it appears to be an ever- encircling spiral of bad stats and underfunding. Nevada has the fifth largest school system yet we are in last place (45.4%) for our kids graduating.
Let’s break it down on who is responsibly to get our education in the Silver State back on track.
Get truants back in classes sooner
Current policy is that students with at least 10 days of unexcused absences cannot re-enter the system until the following semester, a maximum wait of 18 weeks. You can double up classes so instead of 50 minutes it’s 100 minutes, so at the end of the calendar quarter you’re earning two quarter credits instead of one semester credit. This would cut the waiting period down to 9 weeks not the 18 weeks that it is now.
Change the way English Language is learned
Process for non-English speaking students is to get them in classes where they’re taught English until they get it, and then move them to other classes where they’re reading and writing. But current models rarely conform to the concept it’s a matter of the best practices as opposed to mandated practices.
Change in grading system
Current grading system simply does not make sense. If you take two tests, and get a zero on one and 100 which averages out to 50% or an F. Superintendent of Clark County School District would like to see making the system universal to be either a letter grades or a 0 to 4.
Make students aware of available alternatives
Graduation rates would be higher if students were made aware of programs such as the Academy of Individualized study. In which they meet with teachers once a week to achieve their goals.
Getting the community involved:
Patrick Gibbons, education policy analyst with the Nevada Policy Research Institute, “Public education isn’t about sending kids to public school. It’s about the public helping provide the best education for all children.”
These can be either publicly founded or based on donations for businesses and individuals. Vouchers have a dual-edged benefit. Studies show that students who receive vouchers to attend private schools do better than their counterparts who do not work and studies also found that school work hard to improve their quality when face with competition from vouchers.
These privately run, publicly founded schools have shown to be effective at increasing graduations rates.
Weed out ineffective teachers
The most important thing that a district can control is the quality of the teacher. Nevada has kept 99.5% of its teachers with only 0.5% fired for incompetence or ineffectiveness. When you have such a low performance from a district it is not at all possible that 99.5% of teachers are satisfactory. When my oldest daughter was a freshman she had difficulties with English and had a teacher from the Philippines who spoke very broken English. My daughter and three quarters of that class failed. Was this the kids fault or the fault of the teacher? The teacher in question stayed an English teacher for the next four years, until she was let go for ineffectiveness.
Parent need to not only be involved but be an advocator for your child
It is my reasonability to make sure my kids get the best educational possible. If they are not getting the best educational possible I am going to be down at the school demanding it. If that does not work I will be demanding it from the district. We as parents need to know that our voices count and we need to be heard. After all our children are our greatest natural resources, they are our 2011 and beyond.
Parents also need to reinforce school policies; they need to be checking their kids’ homework. Parents need to be as much hands on with even their high school students as they are their pre scholars.
Other things we can do to help our school system:
Lower class sizes- we need to have a teacher student ratio that will allow the teacher to give each student attention.
At home turn off the television and spend time as a family learning, as learning should not stop when the bell rings.
More government money is needed we are the 5th largest school system in the nation yet we receive less than 50% of the natioanl average for school, this comes out to be $1,000 less per student than the national average.