In the 20-plus years since Nevada Journal first began reporting on the Clark County School District, teachers and other employees have regularly contacted NJ regarding various forms of corruption in the district.
Given NJ’s small staff and limited resources, our coverage necessarily has been restricted to issues of highest importance for Nevada public policy. Public-policy reform, after all, is the reason why Nevada Policy — the previous parent organization for Nevada Journal for many years — was even founded, almost 30 years ago.
Consequently, a practice that betrays the central rationale for public education — wholesale grade-falsification — has long been on NJ‘s radar.
In just the last three years, however, increasing numbers of district individuals have informed us of demands from school principals and assistant principals that they — teachers, teachers’ assistants and others — assist with the falsification of student grades and report cards to parents.
If these employees go along with the administrator-led changing and forging of grades, they can be friends with the principal and vice principal and be considered “team players.”
Alternatively, if they object and insist on retaining their integrity, harsh abuse and retaliation are soon in store. Negative “observations,” “investigatories” and non-renewals of contracts are extremely common.
Because “she-said-he-said” stories have little forensic weight and thus little impact, Nevada Journal has long sought from our sources truly dispositive objective or even physical evidence of the alleged corruption of grading in the Clark County School District.
That quest, for multiple reasons, has been difficult. Most teachers or other staff are fully aware of the negative fates regularly suffered by CCSD whistleblowers. Much easier, and arguably more reasonable, they conclude, to simply cut one’s losses and try to transfer to a more humane school — or leave Nevada entirely.
Other individuals, though angered by what they observe, are restrained by the fact that they have relatives still employed within the district. Breadwinners for their own families, mere kin can find themselves facing career injury because a relative, whether or not still with the district, revealed wrongdoing by one or more administrators.
So, for those who want to get along in the district, the widely acknowledged rule is: Keep your head down and don’t get tagged as a “whistleblower.” Not only do whistleblowers threaten the district’s business-as-usual favor-trading and petty revenge operations. They also put at risk the power of officials who sit atop the district money pyramid and get to control and distribute billions of state and federal tax dollars.
Nevertheless, many individuals in public education still battle to keep their idealism alive. And among them, the inherent variety of human beings means there always will be individuals simply different in nature and incapable of bending the knee to corruption.
It is one such individual who has been able to provide Nevada Journal with the solid forensic evidence the publication has long sought.
The nature of this report
This report details practices used within the Clark County School District to falsify grades and thus keep parents and policymakers ignorant of the actual instructional failings in the schools their children attend.
Most of the incriminating documents presented herein were generated at one elementary school, Harriet A. Treem. However, similarly incriminating documents were repeatedly noticed and reported by the whistleblower during his four years as a substitute teacher, serving in multiple district schools, before achieving his teaching license — which means these practices are an open secret among both administrators and teachers.
This report has major implications in several, different directions. However, few of those implications will appear to merit further inquiry until the actual mechanics of the grade-falsification process are understood. Only then can the long-term damage being done to thousands of small Nevada children be appreciated and addressed.
After introducing the main actors in this CCSD drama, therefore, we will go into the details of the grade-falsification process.