Part two of a series
(Part one covered numbers 1. through 6.)
Why does the Las Vegas public seem to hear the same news about educational failure, hiring new teachers, budget shortfalls and the like, year after year?
This is the second in a series addressing the list of reasons why the Clark County School District (CCSD) has gone on for decades doing steadily worse until it hit bottom over 16 years ago.
Here is the second group of reasons:
- The foremost successful teacher in the country is Salman Khan, of Khan Academy. What will it cost parents for their child to learn from Khan? Zero on YouTube.com. If you read part one of this series, you know that this flies in the face of everything that the Democratic Party-controlled school board and school district stands for. Adoption of modern organized methods of teaching that work is a political impossibility at CCSD. Even adopting systems that were proven as tried-and-true during the 1970s and continue to be used elsewhere are against the basic principals at CCSD. For example: many school districts have a system whereby a 5th grade reading class is divided up into groups 0 through 3. Zero (0) kids are the kids who are well above grade level. Three (3) level kids are those who would have to retake 4th grade reading if they got one point lower. Most 5th grade teachers have some kids in their class who are the victims of a 2nd, 3rd or 4th grade teacher who didn’t teach them reading or prerequisites well (if at all). So how does a teacher apportion a 45-minute reading class given to everyone in the class, which includes some who can’t read at all? Send the group of “3” kids out of the classroom for special remedial tutoring by a specialist who probably has a Ph.D and makes a ton of money inefficiently going from school to school in order to teach the kids. Divide the remaining kids up into the “1” and “2” group reading circles. Use the “0” group kids as teaching helpers to help those who are stuck. So how many minutes of reading education does each group get from the teacher? Typically 10 or 15 minutes out of a 45-minute class. Why will CCSD then not adopt the 0, 1, 2, 3 group system? This would immediately expose the teachers who don’t teach well from prior years. So the union is against it.
- Students from outside the school district are either above or below the level that they claim. Parents should know that a high school diploma at CCSD is probably equivalent to passing 10th grade elsewhere. Why will CCSD not test kids who enroll from other places? Politics. If students were grouped according to capability as noted above and CCSD tested kids upon arrival, many problems would go away or be reduced.
Many times kids are misplaced and those who do not speak English well have no chance to catch up under the present system. Putting a child in a grade level because that is what grade the child was in elsewhere results in some kids wasting a year while nothing is accomplished (because he/she already knows what is being taught). It results in other kids being put so far ahead of where they should be that they will never recover. If parents who speak a foreign (non-English) language at home knew that there was an English test to get into school, would they turn off foreign language TV and turn on Sesame Street? Why should money need to be diverted from other education to non-English speakers because those non-English parents have the money to pay for non-English TV? Politics controlled by the Democratic party, that’s why.
- Socialist party and communist organizational processes. Work to succeed is no longer a theme taught in our schools. Although some mention of the concept is probably in the curriculum, actions at CCSD speak louder than words. It starts on day one. If you are about to send your kid to school on day one, you are told that you need to provide them with certain items. Let us examine just one of the items on that list: You are told to provide your child a box of crayons. The teacher will direct the class to set their box of crayons on top of their desk, if they have one. Then the teacher dumps all of the crayons into a community box. I had always thought that if I bought my kid crayons then he/she had crayons. I had always thought that if a kid couldn’t afford crayons then charities gave them some. If they were just trying to teach the kids how to live like they do in Venezuela, it would be really annoying.
Unfortunately the whole system is set up as a zero sum game with no winners and lots of participation awards for students and teachers. Kids become a year older and are moved to the next grade, regardless of test scores. Teachers survive a year and get seniority and tenure. This is “Education for failure,” taught by example. It explains why so many high school graduates think that they should get an award for just showing up to work on schedule.
And clearly there is an analogy to be drawn between CCSD and Venezuela.
Each article in this series will attempt to explain some reasons that cause Nevada to be 49th in the nation for K-12 education. As CCSD is the largest school district in Nevada, they are mostly to blame for this statistic. This situation is a comprehensive festering problem that has led CCSD from being an above-average school district over 25 years ago, to the bottom. for over a decade now.
The Las Vegas Tribune and others have written entire articles on many of these topics and many are the subject of open conversation among parents. However, the Democratic Party-controlled media refuse to open a conversation on most of these problems.