More money will solve education woes

To the editor:

In response to your Thursday editorial on education reform:

You mention that it is ridiculous to suggest more funding for the schools would help. This is the most asinine statement I have ever heard.

In the public school system, competition — that is privatizing the schools — would not lead to efficiency. It would lead to corporations putting profits above everything else. When corporations run the schools, their No. 1 priority will be to make profits for the investors, just like it is now for every other industry. In schools, education should be a priority, not profits.

What we should do is properly fund our schools and stop treating teachers like the enemy. If we want to raise our test scores, we need to give the teachers the resources needed to teach and the students the resources needed to learn.

We could start with bringing back the shop classes. That will take money, so more funding is needed. We could fund the sports so our kids can focus on playing better instead of fundraising. We could keep the English Language Learner program so the students who do not speak English at home could have a chance at passing the tests. We could implement a program for pregnant teens so one bad decision on their part doesn’t lead to a life on welfare. We need to keep the class sizes small, which means we need more teachers, which will require more funding.

If Gov. Brian Sandoval really wanted to help education in Nevada he would break up the Clark County School District into four or five smaller districts. He would give every student an individualized education program and group students together for classes based upon how they learn. He could easily implement a state lottery, properly tax the mining industry, and start a $2 room tax on the hotels to pay for education.

These are real solutions to our problems. Cutting the funding for education and implying we should privatize our schools does not solve anything. Those plans only create problems. Gov. Sandoval knows this, and you know this.

We need solutions, not more problems. The fact that you back the governor’s plan disgusts me, for you are now a part of the problem. Your implication that we should privatize the schools shows that you are not fair, nor balanced, nor independent.

David Wood


Tenure problem

To the editor:

In response to your Tuesday editorial “Needed reforms”:

Studies have shown time and again that the most important in-class factor when it comes to student success is teacher quality. The Hoover Institution’s Eric Hanushek has found that students from poor backgrounds with a teacher in the 85th percentile of effectiveness three or four years running will overcome the achievement gap between wealthy and poor students.

Our nation’s economic survival is at stake. In a recent study for the National Bureau of Economic Research, Mr. Hanushek found that same teacher in the 85th percentile “annually generates marginal gains of over $400,000 in present value of student future earnings” and that “replacing the bottom 5-8 percent of teachers with average teachers could move the U.S. near the top of international math and science rankings.” The corresponding bump in student achievement, he estimates, is worth upward of $100 trillion to our GDP.

Teacher tenure is an outmoded byproduct of an era long gone that now does little more than protect below-average teachers from being fired. It can take years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to remove a tenure-protected teacher from the classroom. Don’t our kids deserve better? Their — and our — future depends on it.

Sarah Longwell

Washington, D.C.

The writer is director of communications for the Center for Union Facts, a nonprofit union watchdog group.

Getting an education

To the editor:

Our government’s approach toward education has me worried. Currently it seems that it is not the objective of our lawmakers to fund for the future of our state. It also seems that rather than fix the system in place, they wish to destroy it.

How will less funding increase student achievement? How does the teacher losing his job due to budget cuts explain to his students that the government values their education? How will we motivate inspiring and motivational people to become teachers when there is no job security?

If the governor and Legislature want to change educational policy, the correct way is with the Clark County School Board. The strategy of simply cutting funds and wishing for policy changes is not going to work.

Tim Torgesen

Las Vegas

Helping seniors

To the editor:

I see where the U.S. Senate blocked Rep. Paul Ryan’s 2012 budget proposal even though it overwhelmingly passed the Republican controlled House (Thursday Review-Journal).

This budget would not only do away with Medicare as we know it, but also give the corporate and top individuals a 10 percent lower tax rate while sticking it to the seniors.

I also noticed that Nevada’s own appointed senator, Dean Heller, voted for it. It seems Sen. Heller cares more for the wealthy than the seniors.

Thanks again, Sen. Harry Reid, for helping the seniors of Nevada.

James Andrews


Power bills

To the editor:

Wow. What a shock. NV Energy wants a rate increase.

The good news is they need the hike because we’ve conserved so much energy. If this is true, why haven’t my energy bills gone down?

Maybe it’s because every year NV Energy has an excuse for raising rates. Every year the Public Utilities Commission gives them half of what they want. Thank God for members of the PUC. They’re always looking out for us little people.

I can hardly wait for our new meters, paid for by our taxes — the federal government giveaway called the stimulus — to see if they can jack up our rates next summer.

What if I promised NV Energy to use as much energy as possible? Think I’d have an energy break?

Forrest A. Henry

North Las Vegas

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