Education is a key issue for two political novices vying for the Assembly District 5 seat. Although they agree on many things — both hold a middle ground on recreational marijuana and background checks for gun purchases — they differ on how to solve the state’s public school system, which falls last in the nation on education ranking.
Republican and attorney Artemus “Art” Ham IV hails from one of the valley’s pioneer families that helped Las Vegas develop through philanthropy. His Democratic opponent, Clark County School District teacher Brittney Miller, takes pride in her 10-plus-year career in the public school system.
In the race to take back the Assembly from the GOP, Democrats have an advantage. The district has a nearly 1,600-Democratic registered voter advantage.
Both are on the same side of the $1.9 billion domed stadium that could bring the National Football League to Las Vegas — they love the idea of bringing a professional sports team to the city, but do not support plans that require a $750 million public investment in the form of room taxes.
However, their contrary views surface when discussing how to improve public education.
Miller said she knows what it takes to change the education system in Nevada.
“I can tell you that part of the problem starts by how we measure achievement and make blanket statements for all schools,” Miller said. “A lot of it doesn’t reflect student growth appropriately. We need to focus our energy on teaching, creating smaller class sizes and funding for programs — not school reorganization. I think it was a bit rushed.”
Ham said he applauds Gov. Brian Sandoval’s record $1.5 billion tax increase that was passed in 2015 to initiate reforms in Nevada’s K-12 education system.
“I’m excited that the Republican-led Legislature passed the reform it did,” Ham said. “We just added tens of millions of dollars to funding for educational programs and I want to continue to make education a priority and allow the reform to be implemented.
“I also believe that the reorganization of the school district is a great concept. It worked well in other states; I don’t see why it can’t work well here.”
Contact North View reporter Sandy Lopez at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 702-383-4686. Follow @JournalismSandy on Twitter.