Dropout rate tied to unemployment, foreclosures


To the editor:

America's Promise Alliance released a statistical report yesterday that national high school graduation rates are on the rise -- student achievement is rising everywhere in this country except in three lone states: Arizona, Utah and the Silver State, Nevada.

I'm a former Clark County teacher currently at Harvard's graduate School of Education. My main takeaway? Every class I sit in, Nevada comes up as last or on the bottom: last in urban school district per-pupil funding, 49th in college completion rates, 49th in Title I per-pupil allocation, and the state is dead last in the number of high school students it graduates.

I know we have many problems that keep us from focusing on education. However, I will make the argument, as I do every day in my classes, that Nevada's highest-in-the-country unemployment rate and highest-in-the-country foreclosure rate are clearly connected to Nevada's highest-in-the-country high school dropout rate.

Do something, Nevada. Clark County educates 70 percent of our school-age children, who will carry our state on their backs. Stay true to your promise and adopt the common core standards, even if we did not win Race to the Top funds.

Retain, fire and pay teachers based on student performance. Attract at least one Charter Management Organization to our region. Go tell every child you have high career-ready and college expectations for them and actually act as if you believe that.

I wear a silver silhouette of Nevada around my neck to remind me why I'm here and help me find answers so the students I taught have a chance at a successful life. It's in your very best interest to do the same.

Erica V. Mosca

Cambridge, Mass.

Pay hike

To the editor:

If members of Congress do freeze the pay of all civilian federal workers, will they extend that freeze to themselves? Based on their past performance, I will be shocked if they don't allow themselves a raise in pay again this year.

Gordon Hurst

Las Vegas

Budget villains

To the editor:

I have followed the stories about freezing the pay of federal workers. Somehow, we workers have become the villains in the budget battle.

Most federal workers are hard-working middle- to lower-class people who will be hurt by this decision. The bigger problem is pork and waste, multiple layers of administrators and bonus payouts to higher-level workers whether they are deserved.

The majority of workers never see a bonus. Step raises must be earned and kick in every two years at most.

As for the idea that federal workers are paid better, when I moved to my current position my salary was almost $10,000 less than what I was making at the time in the private sector. Stability and serving others were the main reasons I applied.

The workers in my area are dedicated and hardworking and do not deserve to be maligned by an outdated perception of federal workers of years ago. It is time to take a look at all our waste.

If there is a freeze it must include all federal workers (except those in uniform). This includes judges, elected officials and their support staff as well. No one should be exempt.

There are certain federal agencies that are here to help all citizens. If you take away cost-of-living raises, you are basically saying you are being punished for choosing to work for the government.

It is time all officials man up and cut the pork and waste they are so good at creating. If pork and special interest projects were stopped for just two years, you would save much more than you would by attacking federal workers.

I am all for reducing duplication of services and reducing multiple agencies that perform the same task. Yet the best decision you can come up with is freeze the pay of federal workers? Those at the higher level won't miss it anyway; those at the middle- to lower- income levels live paycheck to paycheck and would miss it.

I watch my dollars and my budget closely. I think the government should do the same. Washington has overspent and now wants everyone else to fix it. Cut my pay more and I stop buying. How will that help the economy?

Rosemary Appelt

Las Vegas

Fiat insult

To the editor:

American taxpayers bailed out Chrysler Group. Italy's Fiat SpA owns a large percentage of Chrysler. Fiat recently allowed Chrysler to build the Fiat 500 model automobile, and Chrysler put the plant for this project in Mexico.

So it appears that our tax dollars have brought new jobs to Mexico, profits for the Italian economy and left Americans holding the bag.

Fiat SpA also owns Maserati and is in the process of creating its first-ever Maserati SUV. I wonder if we'll see a repeat of this insult?

LIDIA LIPARI

LAS VEGAS