‘Education’ articles

Expert critics of Common Core to face
NDE officials in unique public events

Forums designed to give lawmakers, parents, teachers
the chance to learn and ask questions

Two nationally recognized educators — both critics of the controversial Common Core State Standards — are scheduled to participate next week with representatives of the Nevada Department of Education in two public examinations of the pros and cons of Common Core.

The visiting experts are Dr. James Milgram, former member of the NASA Advisory Council and professor emeritus of mathematics at Stanford University, and Dr. Sandra Stotsky, professor emerita at the University of Arkansas’ Department of Education Reform. Stotsky is renowned for developing some of the country’s strongest sets of academic standards for K-12 students while serving as Senior Associate Commissioner in the Massachusetts Department of Education.

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Federal education officials: Nevada can’t charge dad to look at children’s records

Dozens of mistakes identified in now-viewable records

LAS VEGAS — Remember the Nevada dad who was told it would cost him over $10,000 to see the records the State of Nevada has on his children, a story first reported by Nevada Journal?

He’s been allowed to view those records — without being charged — following intervention by the federal Department of Education. Student information warehoused in the Nevada State Longitudinal Data System, said federal officials, constitutes education records under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act and therefore must be open to inspection by parents.

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CCSD spent over $13,000 discussing controversial sex-ed program

Plan was to ‘impact’ individuals throughout
community, school district; allegedly skirt parents

LAS VEGAS — The Clark County School District spent over $13,000 this year to discuss the child sex-education advocacy program that made headlines when it was reported that the district was considering teaching masturbation to Kindergartners.

The amount CCSD spent on the program led by the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) comes from documents released by CCSD in response to public-record requests.

Over $9,750 went to pay SIECUS to provide “professional facilitation” in multiple CCSD focus groups, according to two purchase orders. Printed materials for the events cost another $3,328.

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Charter-school parents fear
the creeping CCSD mindset

Pinecrest Academy’s board seen as distancing itself from parent concerns

LAS VEGAS — Two years ago, parents packed a convention center ballroom to rally around the prospect that a new charter school would bring school choice to downtown Henderson.

Two years later, a change in school administration and a new direction taken by the school board has many of those same parents feeling they’d been the victims of something like a bait and switch.

“We came to Pinecrest (Academy) for something different,” Rebecca Franks told the Pinecrest board during a September 2 board meeting. “We came to Pinecrest because we wanted something better for our kids.”

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Administrator on CCSD payroll working
for another state government?

District investigation underway

LAS VEGAS — Has one of the Clark County School District’s department honchos found a way to eat taxpayer cake in two separate states at the same time?

It appears so.

In Southern Nevada, for nearly 12 years, Bramby Tollen was the director of CCSD’s purchasing and warehouse department. Then this March, according to district officials, she was transferred to the CCSD human resources department as an “Administrator on Special Assignment” — while continuing to earn a base salary of $104,760 a year, plus $1,800 annually for longevity.

Tollen’s total pay and benefits for the 2013 calendar year were $140,663.82, according to CCSD information on Transparent Nevada.

However, as of June 13, Snohomish County, Washington, has had a new purchasing manager — also named Bramby Tollen.

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‘You have every right to fight for your kids’

Civil rights pioneer speaks to Nevada parents about their rights

“I don’t want to go there, Daddy. They’re mean to us,” she said.

It was 1966 in Little Rock, Arkansas, and Virginia — one of about 135 black kids selected to desegregate Central High School — was talking with her father.

She was telling him how hard every day was and how horrible some of the white kids were acting.

Almost 10 years before, Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus, defying a federal court order, had used the state National Guard to block nine black students from attending Central High. Then U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower had federalized the Guard and, for good measure, sent in the 101st Airborne to protect the nine, even escorting them into class and through the halls.

By 1966, however, Central High was still not integrated. And Virginia and her twin sister Harrietta were experiencing what it was to desegregate a previously segregated public high school.

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Calif. teacher-tenure rules
hurt kids, says judge

'Nonsensical' protections for bad teachers
said to harm poor and minority students most

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A first-of-its-kind court ruling that concluded CalifoAlex Caputo-Pearl, president elect of United Teachers LA rnia's union-backed teacher tenure, layoff and dismissal laws infringe on students' rights to an equal public education adds fire to a debate over whether the job protections afforded professional educators are partly to blame for what ails the nation's schools, experts said.

A judge in Los Angeles on Tuesday sided with nine students who sued to overturn the state statutes governing teacher hiring and firing, saying they served no compelling purpose and had led to an unfair, nonsensical system that drove excellent new teachers from the classroom too soon while allowing incompetent senior ones to remain.

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CCSD has spent $2.1 million on
outside legal counsel since 2011

Nothing comes before the school board, but CCSD’s legal department is well over budget

LAS VEGAS — The Clark County School District Office of General Counsel has an annual budget exceeding $3 million and a legal team of 10 attorneys, nine secretarial and clerical staff, plus one administrator.

Part of that $3 million each year is $500,000 allocated for the hiring of additional, outside attorneys.

Nevertheless, in the last three school years the office has exceeded its outside-counsel budget and has paid out over $2.1 million to 10 private law firms. Of that, over $1.2 million went to two firms — Greenberg-Traurig, and Lewis and Roca (now Lewis Roca Rothgerber), according to CCSD records reviewed by Nevada Journal.

For this school year, the CCSD legal office is some $179,000 over its legal services budget.

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Dad told seeing state’s records
on his kids will cost him $10 grand+

Over 800 data points now collected on each Nevada public, charter school student

LAS VEGAS — Would you like to see the information the State of Nevada is keeping on your child?

You may have to take out a loan.

The State Department of Education recently notified one Washoe County parent it would cost him more than $10,000.

When John Eppolito, a parent of four, asked to view the information the state is warehousing on his children, he was informed that "the Department’s Director of Information Technology… has estimated that the cost will be approximately $10,194."

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Pay of Nevada’s public-school employees,
versus private sector, is 4th highest in U.S.

BLS data shows 17 point gap between K-12 and private sector income in Nevada

LAS VEGAS — As teacher union activists push for a heavy new tax on Nevada’s private-sector employers, federal data is showing that the state’s public K-12 education sector is actually doing far better, financially, than the state’s private sector.

Moreover, the gap is so large that it’s the fourth biggest in the country.

Nevada Journal — building on work recently published in the John Locke Foundation’s Carolina Journal by Executive Editor Don Carrington — this week accessed both the BLS.gov and the Silver State’s NevadaWorkforce.com websites to learn how well Nevada’s private sector is doing, versus the average state private sector nationally.

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