Averting a teacher strike isn’t the only positive development for the Clark County School District.
“We certainly need to then tie it (increased funding) to accountability and student outcomes,” Superintendent Jesus Jara told the Review-Journal last week. “This is our priority. My priority is really: How are we going to change the lives of our kids?”
The education establishment’s mantra is more money. Nevada has tried a version of that strategy for the past 60 years — spending on public schools has almost tripled in inflation-adjusted terms. Just four years ago, then-Gov. Brian Sandoval pushed through the largest tax hike in state history to boost education funding.
But the great majority of that money never reaches the students. Jason Goudie, the district’s chief financial officer, knows why.
“We also need some help in NRS 288, because as soon as you put a billion dollars into (the education) system, that becomes a billion dollars available for collective bargaining,” Mr. Goudie said, referring to Nevada Revised Statute 288, the law governing collective bargaining. It provides that new unrestricted dollars are available for unions to claim in the collective bargaining process.
This is why funding increases have inevitably led to paying the same people more for doing the same thing. This doesn’t fix a broken system, it only makes it more expensive.
Meanwhile, Mr. Jara’s call for accountability isn’t popular with the Clark County Education Association.
The district has proposed “a system that is based on performance pay, student outcome and merit pay,” the union wrote Tuesday in an email to its members. “This is a Jeb Bush reform proposal coming from Jara. CCEA’s Negotiation Committee has categorically rejected this.”
Jeb Bush was governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007. He implemented a host of education reforms, including Read by 3 and school choice. In 1998, Nevada and Florida had the same fourth-grade reading score on the Nation’s Report Card. Two decades later, Nevada’s fourth-grade reading score is tied for sixth lowest in the country. Florida’s score is the sixth highest.
There shouldn’t be a much higher compliment than calling an idea “a Jeb Bush reform.” But the union isn’t interested. It’s unlikely legislative Democrats will be either. Last session, they repealed many of the education and collective bargaining reforms pushed by Mr. Sandoval and imposed in 2015.
A threatened illegal strike is off. Mr. Jara and Mr. Goudie have identified policies that need to be fixed “to change the lives of our kids.” The challenge will be getting Democrats, almost uniformly beholden to organized labor, to listen.