LETTERS: Education isn’t received, it’s earned

Nevada Treasurer Dan Schwartz’€™ letter explained why his office claims that the new Education Savings Accounts established by Senate Bill 302 do not conflict with the state’s Constitution, which prohibits the use of public funds for sectarian purposes (“Clarifying Education Savings Accounts,” July 8 Review-Journal). I won’t argue one way or another on this matter, as I have chosen to form an opinion after I see how the bill is applied and the degree to which Nevada’s children benefit from it.

The statement that raised a red flag for me was, “ESAs will not cure differences between those who receive a good education and those who don’€™t. But it’€™s a start.” Since when does any student “receive” an education, good or otherwise? A school, its administrators, teachers and staff may offer students an education, or expose them to an education, but it is up to the students, with support from their families, to put in the effort to get that education. Abraham Lincoln’s educational exposure was to books that he read in front of his fireplace as a boy. He applied himself and managed to get a good education that way.

After 23 years as a student, in both public and private schools, from kindergarten through a master’s degree, plus 27 years of teaching art in the Clark County School District, including 10 years as a National Board Certified Teacher, I’ve noticed that sitting in a classroom does not automatically produce an educated person. The student must engage his or her mind, participate in the class, do the assignments and then demonstrate that learning has taken place. Yes, Mr. Schwartz accurately stated that schools must be held accountable for how and what they teach. But students and their families must also be held accountable for how they apply themselves in those schools and for what they do or do not learn.

When families value education and encourage their children to apply themselves in school, those children do much better academically and often socially than children who do not have that support at home. Children whose families make the effort to send them to magnet schools, charter schools or private schools often demonstrate a higher level of achievement than students whose families consider public schools a source of free daycare.

Attitudes make a tremendous difference in academic achievement and for success beyond school. I was astonished by student attitudes when I taught a methods class at UNLV for those planning to become teachers. Well into the term, one student had not done any of the assigned work. I told him that he needed to get caught up so that he could pass the course. He looked at me with a flabbergasted expression on his face and said, “But I’ve been here every time,” as if that were sufficient. He failed the course.

We all must recognize that public and private schools might offer a good education, but it is up to the students, with family support, to earn that education. It will be interesting to see how Education Savings Accounts and other recent legislative reforms impact students’ academic achievement in Nevada.



High cost of ACA

I’m a 60-year-old man who has had insurance coverage my entire life. I lost my employer-provided coverage when the Affordable Care Act became law and my wife’s hours were cut. I’m now covered by Obamacare.

I was paying approximately $200 per month to be covered by our employer-provided insurance. Now I pay in excess of $900 per month for Obamacare. I had the same doctor for 16 years and trusted her, and could get in to see her with just a couple of days’€™ notice. If it was an emergency, then she could squeeze me in sooner. She does not accept any ACA insurance plans, so I was forced to find a new primary care provider.

With my new provider, I see a nurse practitioner instead of a doctor. I called for an appointment and got one, with a three-month wait. This means I have to pay the premium for three months. That’s $2,700 I’m paying for my visit, to see a nurse practitioner! I understand that this is anecdotal, but I’ve heard others share similar experiences. I hope that everyone who voted for President Barack Obama is as happy with their health care as I am.



De facto term limits

I am in total agreement with Doug Manookian’s letter (“Health care costs,” July 9 Review-Journal), except in one area. Mr. Manookian states, “It’s time we had term limits for Congress.” This country already has that option in place for every elected official — by not voting for the incumbent. Voters, use your common sense.



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