‘Analysis’ articles

Fixing Special Ed, Part 8:
‘Right of exit’ found key to
genuine special-ed progress

School-choice programs for special-needs kids:
Popular with parents, save states money

In the late Sixties and early Seventies, when American courts — citing the U.S. Constitution — began flogging states and ultimately the U.S. Congress in the direction of what became the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, such remedial action was profoundly needed and long overdue.

Today, however, IDEA is significantly behind the times and, as the different stories in this series have documented, struggling everywhere.

Unfortunately, the program’s problems are intrinsic, as a little reflection on the two main categories of the goods and services we use will show.

One set has, for years, been marked by regular and reliable improvements in price and quality. Many are high-tech goods, such as our smartphones. But others are just everyday necessities — on which we spend much less of our incomes than did our parents just a generation ago. Indeed, even the poor today own better shoes, clothes, motor vehicles and entertainment systems than did the middle class back then.

On the other hand, some other goods and services we all use seem either stuck in stasis or to actually decline in quality, while growing more expensive. These would include health insurance, education and many other basic government services.

What characterizes the first set of goods and services is that, in these sectors of the economy, we all have what is known as the “right of exit.” If you don't like a product or service you are free to decline it. No government-imposed monopoly or regulations have been able to block or kneecap potential competitors. Thus, all of us can follow our individual, personal, preferences.

Remarkably, it is this fact — that we all can follow our preferences — that makes these goods and services constantly improve.

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CCSD’s sexual-misconduct epidemic
shows need for bargaining transparency

Leading states define government labor-management negotiations as public meetings

A recent epidemic of sexual-misconduct revelations has the Clark County School District scrambling to draft new policies.

The new rules are intended to better govern communications between district employees and students, especially with regards to social media and texting.

While more explicit district standards in this area may be helpful, alone this simply won’t be enough. What makes such misconduct possible in the first place is that the teacher union systematically prioritizes the job security of its members over the safety and security of students.

This shows up most clearly in the lack of public transparency within the collective bargaining process — the process through which the government and its organized workers negotiate for a new contract.

Behind closed doors, it’s all too easy for the representatives of government and of government unions to form a common front against the public — whether it’s the taxpaying public or, as in this case, the youth and families the district was established to serve.

Take for example Article 12, Section 10 of the current collective bargaining agreement between CCSD and the CCEA teacher union.

Often dubbed the “pass the trash” clause, it reads:

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Police union ‘tricks’ LVMPD into more
millions for higher salaries, pensions

Negotiators taken to cleaners in latest LVPPA negotiations, new state law shows

As if Clark County residents needed a reminder, the unrivaled political power of local government unions is again on full display.

This time, the involved union is the Las Vegas Police Protective Association, which appears to have duped Metro negotiators into conceding an additional $6 million for salaries and retirement benefits for, essentially, nothing in return.

Alternatively, Metro brass — recognizing the giveaway in progress — may have simply been content to hide behind the rationale advanced by the union.

What brings all this into focus is the recent (and predictable) passage and signing into law of Senate Bill 176, mandating body-worn cameras (“BWCs”) for all Nevada police officers.

Thus, Clark County taxpayers are now paying police and corrections officers additional millions to merely comply with state law.

Moreover, this may well have been the LVPPA’s strategy all along.

Here’s the background. As reported by Nevada Journal last fall, the LVPPA and Las Vegas Metro PD agreed in September on a new collective-bargaining agreement through June 2019, following the expiration of their prior agreement in June 2016.

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State requires more accountability
from Southern Nevada police agencies

Law enforcement must file detailed reports every three months

For the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, its new More Cops money comes with higher transparency requirements.

That’s because when Clark County last week increased the countywide sales tax to hire more police officers, the county commission was implementing a new state law that requires a new level of oversight and reporting for Metro.

Under the state legislation — Assembly Bill 1 of the October special session, dubbed the Clark County Crime Prevention Act of 2016 — Metro’s governing five-member Fiscal Affairs Committee must submit quarterly reports to the state Department of Taxation on multiple matters.

The reports must spell out the total amount of the new More Cops tax dollars received and a “detailed description” of how that money was spent.

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Language in Nevada state constitution reveals
19th century anti-Catholic consensus, agenda

U.S. Supreme Court justices, liberal and conservative, acknowledge the history

You might not expect it in this day and age, but Nevada’s Constitution still bears telling traces of a discriminatory 19th century doctrine the U.S. Supreme Court has characterized as “born of bigotry.”

Those traces can be found in the multiple appearances in the document of the word “sectarian.”

Contrary to the belief of many today, the term in the 19th century was not understood to simply mean “religious” — as in: “there shall be no religious instruction in the public schools.”

Instead, the actual understanding of the term in the decades when Nevada’s constitutional provisions were first written or later added was — as has been widely documented — “non-protestant,” or, most likely, “Catholic.”

Both wings of the U.S. Supreme Court, liberal and conservative, have repeatedly acknowledged this.

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