Within a span of 24 hours last week, I sat through three separate education board meetings.
No offense to the officials, but days like those make me tired of hearing the same people talk.
And even though education is about children and the adults who interact with them, I most often find myself in boardrooms listening to people with a fancy title before their name — assistant superintendent, trustee or what have you — holding forth.
That’s not to say that these people and meetings aren’t important. To keep an eye on public education, you need to pay attention to the people in power.
But what’s often minimized in our coverage is more conversations with the people who are impacted by the decisions made in those boardrooms: students, parents and teachers.
That’s why we’re launching a new monthly video series, Chalk Talk, where we’ll discuss the trends and topics in Nevada education that the daily headlines may miss.
Each month, we’ll interview stakeholders on a different topic. What do students think about gun-sniffing dogs? What issues are on the mind of parents? What do teachers want the public to know about their classroom?
Since many high-school seniors have recently heard back about college acceptances, we decided to start with a topic that highlights the best of Clark County School District students: those who vaulted from the Clark County School District to the Ivy League.
The district and state are fixated on increasing graduation rates to bolster the abysmal reputation of Nevada’s public education system. By that measurement, if a student graduates, it’s considered a success.
But what about from kids who were able to prepare themselves to attend the country’s top universities? How did they do it and what secrets can they share?
In the first installment of Chalk Talk, you’ll hear them discuss their experiences in the district, how those experiences — both good and bad — prepared them for a rigorous college curriculum and in what ways they wish their Clark County schooling was better.
It’s my hope that these videos will give readers a better sense of the challenges and issues in education by hearing directly from the people who are in the trenches.
You may not sit through every Legislative public hearing, or see who supports which motion, or keep track of the backroom politics of the Clark County School Board.
That’s OK, because you can leave it up to me to do that.
But ideally, Chalk Talk will serve as a reminder — to myself and to others working in Nevada education circles — of what my job and theirs is really all about: Nevada’s children and the people who help them grow.