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LETTER: The state of Nevada’s Achievement School District won’t help Clark County schools

I am a National Board certified teacher and have been with the Clark County School District for 22 years. I am a specialist in gifted and talented education and currently work at two schools.

It has been decided that one of my schools will be taken over by the Achievement School District. No one at the school is happy about this decision and I am troubled by the implications for our students. I do not believe the Achievement School District has a community’s best interest at heart. I can trust that the lawmakers who passed this legislation did; however, it has since been corrupted.

Our school is the best option for this community. We are under new administration. We are introducing innovations I believe will make a difference. Our faculty now consists of 95 percent highly qualified teachers (with two long-term substitutes currently on staff), and we are the best ones to know how to help these children.

Charter schools are not even obliged to hire people who have been through an education program! Nor do they require a gifted or special education program.

Finally, many families in this community will not have a choice, as they do not have the means to transport their children to another school. Though they are not happy with this turn of events, they do not know how to make their voices heard. There is thus no “school choice” in takeover charter schools.

I now believe the deciding factor in determining which schools are taken over is the amount of resistance expected. There does not seem to be any other reasonable way to choose them, as a single criterion (prior test scores) is all the Achievement District otherwise uses, with no other information considered.

Sadly, I also now believe this act was about politics and money (not necessarily in that order) rather than what is best for communities and students. I am, however, heartened by legislation announced for the upcoming session, asking for the repeal of these takeovers. I am far from alone in support of it.

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