Spend more money if you want kids to learn

To the editor:

Let’s review facts. Educational spending places Nevada 48th among the states. In student achievement we rank 50th in the nation. These two facts are related.

If we look at the highest-ranking states, we will notice that they spend more and get better results from their students. It has very little to do with the teachers. Money affects:

— Class size/student-teacher ratio.

— Text books and libraries.

— Computers and software.

— Student well-being.

— Smaller schools, more buildings.

If parents want to improve their students’ education, they should take time off from their busy lives to visit schools. Walk in on your child’s class often — not to complain, but to sit down, observe and help the teacher by encouraging students to stay on task. Then decide how to help your children at home to learn more.

What can be done to help schools and teachers? If enough parents show concern, students will care more about their own education. Take away your child’s iPod, cell phone and other unnecessary technology and replace them with books, magazines and newspapers. Then carry on conversations with your children often about history, literature, politics and many other topics. Ask your children “why,” then listen to them.

As for money, I would be glad to pay $1 more a year in taxes if that dollar went directly into education. This would be a windfall for education if everyone in the state did the same. It would make a huge difference in a few years.

Lois White

NORTH LAS VEGAS

Best of the best

To the editor:

We can all appreciate the value of the Best of Las Vegas survey that the Las Vegas Review-Journal has conducted for so many years. There are, however, so many other categories that you are missing.

You have taken the time to ask for nominations for the Best Cocktail Waitress. But what about adding categories such as Best Nonprofit, Best Social Group, Best Radio Station, Best Community Leader and Best Tour for starters?

Terry M. Hernandez

LAS VEGAS

Capitalistic way

To the editor:

I am a conservative who believes in reducing government and taxes. However, the tax on the mining industry is the exception.

As a resident of Nevada, I pay a sales tax of more than 8 percent, steadily increased over the years. The mining companies pay a 5 percent tax after expenses. Why should they pay less of a tax than the average citizen?

Also, the commodities they mine come out of the Nevada ground, and that makes the owner of the material the residents of Nevada. We the people are letting the company mine on our lands, so we should have the right to charge them a higher fee for their service. That is just the capitalistic way.

The mining companies have been paying this favorably low fee for more than 100 years.

Michael O. Kreps

LAS VEGAS

County lobby

To the editor:

Gov. Jim Gibbons, perhaps in preparation for a special legislative session, has directed state agencies to develop recommendations for up to 10 percent cuts. While we applaud the governor for preparing to tackle the state’s ongoing fiscal woes, the Nevada Association of Counties is concerned that cutting certain state programs would shift significant costs to counties, which are mandated to be the “safety net” for our most vulnerable citizens.

Due to actions taken by the Legislature since December 2008, it is estimated that more than $235 million of county revenues were diverted to the state. While all counties were impacted, the majority of revenue came from Clark and Washoe counties.

Nevada’s counties have done their part to help the state during the current economic downturn, and have taken aggressive measures to address their own revenue shortfalls. The Nevada Association of Counties believes it is time for the state to address any future budget problems without further shifting the burden to the counties. Diverting additional revenues and shifting more costs would result in additional cuts at the local level, a disservice to our citizens.

NACO is committed to working with the state to get past these difficult times. However, counties, the government closest to the people, need be treated as equal partners in developing solutions to ensure the continuum of services that are vital to our shared constituents.

Jeff Fontaine

CARSON CITY

THE WRITER IS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE NEVADA ASSOCIATION OF COUNTIES.

Business as usual

To the editor:

They still don’t get it. The spin from the White House and its supporters attribute Scott Brown’s win in Massachusetts to voters being impatient with the pace of change, or a health care bill that didn’t go far enough.

I don’t think so.

The voters in one of the most liberal states sent a “shot across the bow” to let Washington know how upset they are with “business as usual.” Spend, spend, tax, tax, spin this, spin that, cut a deal here, cut a deal there, negotiate behind closed doors, just won’t work anymore. Buying Sen. Ben Nelson’s vote with the “Cornhusker Kickback”; buying Sen. Mary Landrieu’s vote with the “Louisiana Purchase”; buying the support of the Service Employees International Union by exempting its Cadillac health insurance plans from taxation while taxing others with the same plans — these are only the back-room deals we know about. And all of this for a bill that did not address one of the country’s primary concerns.

This is a center-right country. Candidates this November honestly supporting fiscal responsibility, restrained spending, less taxes, openness in government (real openness, not the kind promised and forgotten by President Obama), and vigorous protection of the homeland will probably do very well. But be warned, candidates who are elected on these values and then forget them after arriving in Washington will have very short careers, no matter their party affiliation.

Robert Jirovec

LAS VEGAS

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