Part one of a series
This is the first in a comprehensive series addressing the reasons why the Clark County School District (CCSD) has gone on for decades doing steadily worse until it hit bottom. Nevada K–12 education is about 49th in the nation. Each article in this series will attempt to explain half a dozen reasons that cause this problem. By offering both overreaching comprehensive issues and narrowly focused explanations of simple examples we hope to focus reader’s attention on why we are getting no improvement while expenditures climb.
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. The 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 the problems.
- The teachers union and the school board trustees ‘play ball’ together. Sometimes they love and hate each other. But if a school board member eventually caves into the union’s demands, then the union will direct its members to strongly support that trustee’s reelection. The union provides donations either directly from members or via the Democratic Party apparatchik. The union provides union members who run election phone banks and the union provides verbal support or attacks against school board trustees. For this reason, the school board has had a very great Democrat majority for a generation. For this reason, trustees who were obviously senile or incompetent have been re-elected. In fact, no incumbent school board member in modern times has ever been voted out. The Dems run the school board and use the schools as their hub of operations, openly giving out favors to party donors and indoctrinating the kids to be Democrats. If you evaluate the school boards conduct assuming that this is its purpose and not “for the kids” as is the claim, everything fits.
- It is well known that large school districts provide a much worse education than smaller ones do. This is a statistical fact. CCSD is the 5th largest in the nation. Because of the first reason above, the trustees nor the Democrats can bring themselves to let go of their piggy bank control and hand control back to parents. Empirical data shows that if a school district the size of CCSD was divided up into 20 to 25 districts, each with one high school, two middle schools and six elementary schools, the likelihood of improving education very significantly is almost 100 percent assured. But they won’t do it.
- Because so many of the problems that CCSD has are politically unsolvable (see first reason above) the school district’s bureaucracy and trustees have developed a pattern of obfuscation as a reaction to any problem as opposed to solving it. Most problems are “Solved” by creating confusion around the issue so that others cannot understand what is going on or that there is a problem.
- Obfuscation procedures make matters worse. Not better. One example of this is the “Solution” to item 2 above, oversized school district. After it became very obvious that being a huge (unresponsive) school district was a major problem the school board voted to create “Regions”. And Region Superintendents, who are like the real superintendent but without his power or authority. This was supposed to somehow counteract the largeness problem. However, there is absolutely no data to indicate that it would work. It was just an obfuscation plan. Many years ago taxpayers were forced to foot the bill for construction of and staffing for region offices. This gave parents who were trying to work out problems with CCSD another remotely located bureaucracy which would repeat the same tired clichés and platitudes that they say at the main office and school board meetings. After many years have proven that this had no value, the trustees are now implementing another “Fake division of the school district” smokescreen. And again, there is zero evidence that anything short of reducing the size of the school district (either by dividing it or via school choice) will statistically improve education.
- Black humor amount parents used to claim that anyone short of a child molester could hang onto their job at CCSD. This, of course, is now obviously not true. A good many child molesters have hung on to their jobs at CCSD for many years. Under the CCSD system, teacher incompetence is the least of their concerns. Those who run for school board office report that many teachers approach them giving the names of those who cannot or refuse to teach. A teacher in the upper classes of an elementary school cannot help but know that a certain teacher at a class level below them is failing to teach. Yet it has been made clear to the teachers that the trustees-teachers union relationship will not permit formally dealing with the problem, even if the teacher refuses to teach. Teachers who can’t teach learn on the job or are given remedial training. Remedial training costs more money. Those who want to know how eventually learn. Many leave shortly thereafter.
- The system of reward regardless of performance combined with big government politics leads to a big turnover of good teachers and annual shortages. If you have graduated in the bottom of your class somewhere where they value teachers more, then your best bet to ever become a teacher there is to work for CCSD for three years. Then the school district where your family came from will likely give you a chance working there. While some good teachers come here for other reasons, this is the method by which CCSD fills its ranks with those who need to look to the union for cover. These teachers could become great teachers. But it is more likely that having started out as substandard teachers it will take forever if it ever happens. Teachers who are gifted and or want to be great often become discouraged by those who don’t or can’t teach and get the same rewards. Those gifted teachers then naturally look elsewhere for jobs. This is the perpetual CCSD hiring system that sends us in the opposite direction of where we should be.