Collective bargaining isn’t the problem — a lack of support for education in Nevada is the issue

The Review-Journal is bashing one of its favorite whipping boys again, collective bargaining for public employees, claiming that reform is needed at the next legislative session (Thursday editorial). There is plenty of reform needed, especially when it comes to education in Nevada. However, the collective bargaining and binding arbitration that resulted in me, as a teacher, receiving only one-quarter of the raise I was promised this year is not the reform needed.

I have been a teacher in Clark County for 12 years. I began this school year without a contract, the fifth time that has happened to me. That means I have gone into five different school years on a salary freeze, not knowing if my agreed upon, contracted raise will be honored. This year, I will not receive my raise until after the school year. So the district paid me less all school year than it had agreed to pay me.

Going on strike as a teacher in Nevada is against the law. We aren’t allowed to join our comrades in Oklahoma and West Virginia in walking off the job to demand that our profession and our field be given the funds it deserves. Instead, we go through collective bargaining and binding arbitration — not our first choice. I think it would be much more effective to go on strike and show the state how vital teachers are.

The Review-Journal should focus on the real issue: The lack of importance people assign to education in our state. We don’t fund education at levels that show we care. We are facing a teaching shortage here in part because of this lack of support. But I know that won’t happen, because as your own reporter even pointed out in a March 24 column comparing education in Nevada and other states, “I wonder whether the differences are more attributable to a single factor: appreciation for education. By legislators, community members, students and even the media.”

In my 12 years of living here, the Review-Journal has consistently shown a disdain for public education in Nevada.

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