Nevadans have plenty of school choices

To the editor:

Again, it seems your solutions to “improving” education are school choice and vouchers (editorial, Friday). School choice is not a “wasteland” in Clark County due to a great variety of educational choices offered, including charter schools.

You commend, and rightfully so, the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy, an exemplary charter school, in supporting your claim that more charters will help solve education problems. However, could it be that receiving more than $12,000 per student instead of the approximate $5,000 in standard school funding contributes to the academy’s success? Add in that charter schools have the privilege of removing unruly students who don’t want to learn with parents who are not involved and we are looking at real solutions.

Applications for charters were not pouring into the State Board of Education last year, as you stated. However, those that did apply were evaluated and processed and given assistance by the department even though the moratorium for final approval was in effect.

Note that no large school district in Nevada is now accepting additional charters for the same reason — a large amount of work and not enough staff.

As far as diverting another staff member at the Department of Education, Nevada’s is the leanest, smallest state department of education in the nation. There are no excess personnel to divert!

We board members are not mostly “career educators and teacher union loyalists,” but concerned citizens who were elected to fulfill a commitment to the voters, taxpayers and especially the education community.

Jan Biggerstaff



Good parenting

To the editor:

I couldn’t agree more with the Clark County School District’s superintendent, Walt Rulffes, regarding parents engaging their children for school success (Sunday commentary).

Teachers all over this district as well as all over the United States are subject to training to improve and engage the students parents bring to our classrooms. But too often, parents lack the courage to instill model behaviors in these students, so teaching becomes an ardent chore, not a pleasurable experience for all.

Without parental engagement that represents good parenting skills, teachers are left with a missing piece to engage our youth. I hope parents and taxpayers alike will take notice of Mr. Rulffes’ commentary and engage their child for the sake of the future they must be envisioning.

Patricia Christensen



Class acts

To the editor:

Mike Weatherford’s Neon preview of Steve Lawrence’s weekend appearance here was like an August breeze off Lake Las Vegas.

Steve Lawrence, Vincent Falcone, a live orchestra — it doesn’t get better than that. The story managed to cover significant information about Mr. Lawrence’s professional career that informed a younger audience and nudged older fans to get out and go see. It provided a warm perspective of a masterful performer who still has the chops — without any pandering and face-licking.

A highly talented professional writing about a highly talented professional. When quality mixes with quality the result will always be … you guessed it.

Don Merz


On conservation

To the editor:

In response to David Holcberg’s Monday letter, advocating “putting to rest” the Endangered Species Act:

We are stewards of the land, caretakers for future generations with the responsibility to leave our country in better shape than we found it. While there have certainly been some occasions where human endeavor has been inconvenienced due to protecting wildlife, we have somehow managed to survive and flourish.

Thanks to this invaluable act, our national symbol, the bald eagle, is no longer endangered, along with the grey wolf and grizzly bear. The act also protects plant life that provides humans with hundreds, if not thousands of chemicals and compounds that have been used in producing life-saving medicine.

The Earth is a wonderful laboratory where ecological balance has provided all life with a truly miraculous place to live.

Does Mr. Holcberg really want to trade this balance for yet another parking lot?

Theodore Roosevelt had it right 96 years ago: “There can be no greater issue than that of conservation in this country.”

Joel Rector


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