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June 29, 2015

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Nevada Territory

Sandoval bill would put teachers on one-year contracts, change layoff system

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Brian Sandoval

An assembly committee heard Gov. Brian Sandoval’s broad education reform bill Saturday that would put all teachers on one-year contracts and require school districts to decide layoffs on a system other than seniority.

Assembly Bill 555 reflected data-driven research on how to improve classrooms, said Dale Erquiaga, senior adviser to Sandoval. It was praised by the Reno-Sparks and Las Vegas chambers of commerce.

Some educators testified on the importance of eliminating “last in, first out,” which means some of the youngest teachers would lose their jobs under budget reductions proposed by Sandoval.

Clark County School District lobbyist Joyce Haldeman also said the district supports using different measures than just seniority to determine layoffs, including non-medical absences and evaluations.

But a steady flow of classroom teachers testified in opposition, worrying that administrators would fire teachers based on pay, and expressing an overall feeling that the education bill was “reactionary and punitive” toward teachers.

One teacher testified from Las Vegas that one-year contracts would create a “temporary workforce.”

Assemblyman David Bobzien, D-Reno, said it would neuter districts’ efforts to develop teachers.

Erquiaga said that the legislation was meant to reward the best teachers and make it easier to get rid of the small number - about 4 percent to 10 percent - of bad teachers.

“Look at the data,” he said. “We want to reward those performing.”

The bill would eliminate future automatic pay bumps for master’s degrees and other higher education classes, because there’s no proven data between higher education degrees and better student performance Erquiaga said.

The administration argued that AB555 should be viewed as a policy bill, separate from the budget.

But inevitably, it is all being wrapped together, as the 2011 Legislature looks at taxes to minimize cuts proposed by Sandoval and changes to the education system. Sandoval’s budget contains over $600 million in cuts for K-12, which districts have said would mean higher class sizes, teacher layoffs and reduced salaries and benefits for educators.

Besides his promise not to raise taxes, Sandoval’s other prominent campaign plank was dramatic conservative changes to the education system. A proposal on school vouchers was not heard by the Legislature, and did not pass a Friday deadline for bills to come out of committee (though there are a number of ways around that deadline.)

Sandoval’s bill and its more dramatic provisions, like eliminating “tenure,” are all but guaranteed to fail in the Legislature in this form. Both the Assembly and Senate are controlled by Democrats.

But it served as a useful bargaining point for business groups who have demanded education reforms for a tax increase, and for Democratic leadership, which has presented its own education reforms and gotten blowback by the states teacher’s union.

Democrats passed bills to put teachers with two consecutive years of bad evaluations back on probationary status, to make it easier to fire probationary teachers and changing the probationary period from one year to three years.

“If there are those concerned about our bills, they heard the version on steroids today,” said Assemblywoman Debbie Smith, D-Spark and chair of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee.

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  1. Its not about education for Sandogibbons, its all about money. He could stand against the mining industry and the profits they have made off the misery of working people like teachers, but he hasn't-maybe because mining has helped fill his campaign war chests-check out his financial disclosure statements for yourself. Ask your self this; if its a good idea to hold teachers to a one year at a time contract, why not the other public servants? Why not Governor Sandogibbons? And if its not a good idea for Sandogibbons, why would it be a good idea for teachers? Call the legislature today at 1-800-978-2878 and tell them to stop this nonsense and address the mining industry.

  2. "The bill would eliminate future automatic pay bumps for master's degrees and other higher education classes, because there's no proven data between higher education degrees and better student performance Erquiaga said."

    B.S., B.S.
    How many people, (besides B.S. & Pat Gibbons) think that LESS EDUCATED PEOPLE make better teachers, and that there is NO CORRELATION between a higher level of education and teaching.

    Of course, Pat has his "studies" and "surveys" and "opinions" that "prove it" to be so!

    The TRUTH:

    These's will stop at NOTHING to de-fund education!

  3. The Great Republican Party Power Mad Over Reach Policy of 2011 has now infected Nevada.

    A little bit of a twist to it though.

    Trying to hide the fact they are fanatically setting their target of busting the teacher union, but it is being done by calling attention to other things. Deflection of attention, misdirection of attention spans, smoke and mirrors, heavy propaganda, rhetoric and slight of hand by the Governor shows Governor Sandoval is pretty much a cheap magician; much like the horrible show that washed up Criss Angel headlines at the Luxor.

    But it's the same. And no amount of tricks are going to hide the true intention.

    The money Governor Sandoval wants saved by gutting education is that much more he can give as tax breaks to corporations. And it has an additional benefit in that if he in fact succeeds, he will bust a union to pieces that all Republicans fear will collect campaign money against his re-election efforts.

    Let him get away with doing this to teachers, that opens the floodgates to go after firefighters, police and any other public employee union.

    Shades of Wisconsin....

  4. Can someone please tell me how the hell every problem in America became the fault of TEACHERS and other public servants?

    Y'all are being HAD!

  5. One year contracts for teachers means the CCSD would suffer from a permanent crisis in recruiting teachers. Why would any teacher from out of state re-locate to Nevada? And history shows that there are not enough local teachers to fill the jobs over the long-term. So: this is just a sleight-of-hand move from public education-haters to wreck the system and replace it with "privatized" schools. And a privatized system is guaranteed to limit choice and opportunity for low-income students. What a sham!

  6. @roseanrose- longer days and more days don't mean anything if teachers are still dealing with behavior problems for a larger percent of the day than they are teaching, or are wasting the time they have already. A good teacher can teach in 1/2 the time given, a bad teacher couldn't effectively teach the curriculum properly if given 10 hours a day for 365 days.

    I also know an elementary teacher who wasn't effective at all, and was let go after 1 year with no retirement or insurance benefits.

    @gmag- I saw a study today that theorized that there is no correlation shown between non-advanced degrees and advanced degrees, because as a teacher is taking 3 years to get their degree, the learning is spread out, and so is the student improvement. It's not like a teacher does the degree work, gets the degree and wakes up the next morning 30 percentage points more effective. Food for thought.

    Good teachers want the bad teachers out, just as much as everyone else does. We know who they are. We know they can't manage their classes, teach a concept clearly enough for 50% of their class to understand, are stuck in the 60's style of teaching, don't listen, etc. WE KNOW THIS!!! WE WANT THEM OUT TOO!! But not in a way that is going to subject the effective teachers to at will firing because the principal has a beef with them, or they speak out against a moronic governor and his education plan.

    It has to come through fair evaluations based on what the students can do. AND NOT by comparing their test scores from year to year. How they performed on a test for another teacher doesn't prove how much I taught them. Test them the 1st week of MY Class, then test them before they leave me. That is what I accomplished, that is how much a child grew and learned in my class. That is what is fair and equal to ALL teachers, of ALL grades, in ALL types of schools. Do that, then I'll even take merit pay :)

  7. The Good Ol'e Boy /Girls system will begin. That is what the republican party is all about here in Nevada.

  8. Big question: Are "privitized schools" subject to meeting NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND standards, guidelines, policies, and the public schools dreaded and effort in futulity "ANNUAL YEARLY PROGRESS"?

    Since all PUBLIC schools MUST eventually meet that 100% goal of EVERY child making AYP regardless of their challenges (usually means including the Special Ed students, ELL, ESL, emotional, and behaviorally challenged as well!), maybe, just maybe, one other way to secure those highly coveted Federal dollars is to pass laws towards private education vouchers to avoid a certain amount of lost AYP Federal income dollars! Any real experts on this?

    Private schools are not required to service all who come through their doors as public schools. How can the current administration rate/evaluate teachers when there is NOT a level playing field? Those working with challenged students are at a marked disadvantage in such evaluations. Very seldom will you find an elementary school administrator who served as an elementary regular education/multiple subject/self-contained classroom teacher for 5 years. With that, they are ill-equipped to appropriately evaluate the teachers working at their site. They possess book smarts, but NOT the hands-on experiences that enhance teacher training and varied experiences. Nevada should NOT be in such a rush to grab Federal funds and neglect to think and reason teacher evaluations through. Teachers are professionals, and should be treated as such.

    The current trend has been: to pit teacher against teacher (divide and conquer so there are no crowds of teachers resisting), privatize school support staff (putting strangers to daily do jobs that support students, but do not support their trust nor security-this includes your child's substitute teacher!), and the latest strategy: suing the teacher's union and year to year contracts. Talk about hostile work conditions and environment.

    Citizens should be rallying to stop this madness and call for LAWMAKERS TO TAX MINING, GAMING, AND THE RESORT industries adequately and appropriately (to the national average!).

    A large part of the Southwestern states are inundated with the flood of aliens/illegal immigrants, who will NOT come forward out of fear or out of apathy. They are the abundant and cheap labor force that gaming, mining, and the resort industries expect to say and do NOTHING. As for the citizens of Nevada and this great country, they are weary and beaten up economically and mentally, and feel as if their cries fall upon deaf ears. Some make an effort, many are quitters, giving up on their state and country and simply surviving at this point.

    Is this the quality of life we expected as the outcome of all our hard work and life's energies?

  9. If Sandoval was really serious about this, he would do what the Chamber of Commerce suggests, and negotiate with the Democrats for a small tax increase. The Democrats are willing to make a deal. Republicans could get reforms they've wanted for decades. But Sandoval doesn't care about reforming education or anything else. He knows this bill isn't going to pass, but it doesn't matter to him.

    Priority number one for Sandoval is his political future. Just say no to new taxes, like Pawlenty from Minnesota. Pawlenty did such a lousy job they replaced him with a LIBERAL DEMOCRAT. Doesn't matter to the Tea Party. Now Pawlenty is running for president.

    Sandoval can do the same, then maybe in 2016 or 2020, he can run for President of the United States, or maybe have a chance at being the Vice President. Tall, dark, handsome, Hispanic, and no new taxes.

    It's Brian Sandoval first, nobody second.

  10. This all makes sense from the governor's perspective...Get rid of Education Steps...or more pay for advanced degrees for teachers. So it mkaes it easy for his Lap Dog Neil Smatresk over at UNLV to cut graduate programs in Education.

    Go to this website and sign up if you don't like it.

    Recall Brian Sandoval

  11. gaskin - Sandoval isn't even going to try to get this thing passed. The only thing he cares about is his political future. Just say no to new taxes, then maybe he can be the Republican VP candidate in 2016.

  12. just got to the recall Brian Sandoval Web site and sign the petition. Luckily, I have an exit strategy from Nevada.

  13. On President Smatresk: he is no "lap dog" of Governor "no new taxes" Sandoval. The proposed cuts to UNLV are catastrophic no matter how one looks at them, and across the board. Every College including the College of Education may be radically mutiliated like by a chain-saw but not because of UNLV administrators, who have had no choice but to keep forwarding plans for butchering the university to the Board of Regents.

    My heart goes out to President Smatresk and to all UNLV administrators: this is the worst of times, and no one will come away whole if this irresponsible and wrong-headed governor has his way, and sad to say, most harmed of all will be Nevada students.

    But this article is about putting teachers on year-to-year contracts. That will drive qualified professionals out of our state faster than almost any other move. Yes: we need a better system for teacher accountability; but this very destructive bill is flat out wrong for everyone.

  14. @unger whatever you want to think...Smatresk has no clue as to what he is cutting nor does the Provost. These guys don't even understand the income side of the equation. They are cutting blindly as is the governor.

  15. Boys at higher education have had 2 years to prepare for this. The stimulus money in 2009 that was sent by the Feds postponed what we see today. Obviously, the boys ignored this and were not planning ahead.

  16. A look into the future for Brian Sandoval via crystal ball:
    Running for either US President or Vice President

    The man is being "groomed" right now, before our very eyes, and who is going to stop the process?

    Why? He is squeaky clean. Look at his career: lawyer, judge, being appointed, says, "NO new taxes," elected governor, family man, handsome, has Hispanic last name, has limited command of the Spanish language.......

  17. Some teachers may not be that good the first year, but they get better. Some of the better teachers can go to other places, both in the USA and overseas.

    It is obvious that Sandoval doesn't stay in a job that long, he "bails bfore he fails." Therefore he will move on shortly. He is a figurehead on wheels.

  18. Gmag I know realize what has you and other stumped. You're assuming that having advanced degrees makes you educated and more knowledgeable. You're also assuming that being educated and more knowledgeable means you automatically know how to transfer that information effectively to others; ie teach.

    What much research demonstrates is that advanced degrees do not correlate with better student achievement - ie even assuming the people with advanced degrees are smarter and more knowledgeable it does not mean they're better at teaching.

  19. @Turialba,

    The higher ed officials along with state officials all thought the recession would be over by 2011 and it would be business as usual. Past tax hikes and federal bailouts were intended to sustain the bubble era government spending. That is why you didn't see any real budget cuts until 2010. The "budget cuts" prior to this were merely cuts in appropriations, ie cuts in promised additional they had never spent before.

  20. Let's correct Turrialba's post, for the record: the NSHE not only prepared for cuts but has been making nothing but budget cuts for four straight years, not two: 27% in state funding 2007-2010; and "the boys" as he calls them have steeled themselves and their institutions to be able to take on about 1/3 of the additional 17-20% in truly draconian cuts now coming down from Sandoval's deliberately cruel, inhumane budget (and this statement is meant to go beyond just higher ed: low-income seniors abandoned and left sitting in their own excrement; mentally ill cut off from state-funded medications so they stand raving on our street corners or pack our ER rooms; abused children sent back to their abusers because the state has no resources to help them; and on and on). In sum: our NSHE leaders are not fools, and they have prepared; at UNLV, the lay-offs already reach 400+ even before this tragic budget, and they have very carefully prepared for more.

    This does not change the fact that the full 17-20% cuts mandated by Sandoval cannot be made and still preserve the infrastructure and human resources of a higher education system. No proposal as to how to make such cuts is acceptable, i.e., the only way to do it is to declare exigency, in effect, bankruptcy, which puts at risk accreditation and NCAA division I rankings for both UNR and UNLV; but worse, doing this would so damage the NSHE system nationally that it would not be able to recover in our lifetimes.

    No Social Work departments left in our state? No Philosophy department at UNLV? No Management Information Systems degree? No Professional writing training? No Special Collections at UNR granting access to Nevada history? And possibly little more than one-third of a College of Education left to train new teachers? On and on and on: all irresponsible and unacceptable. Can't be done. And anyone who wishes this to happen is asking for nothing less than the elimination of any form of effective higher education in Nevada. Those are the stakes.

    The real problem: our Board of Regents cannot bring itself to do what it was elected to do, and that's come up with a coherent vision or plan for restructuring and reorganization of the system. Yes, at last meeting, the BOR voted to put campus consolidations back on the table; but these politicians are reluctant to do so, and probably will not do this, in the end. What they seem to wish is to toss out what paltry funding there is exactly proportionally then run away from the consequences of letting every single entity in the NSHE hack itself to pieces, regardless of its relative proven value to the mission, which must be, and is: the long-term value of how best to train and prepare Nevada students to lead productive lives in the new century.

  21. Breaking news post: an e-mail just in that UNR President Milton Glick has died. Rest in peace, and blessings to his family and all in his fold.

  22. Douglas:

    I echo your sentiments for Dr. Glick and his family.

    We can continue this discussion another day.

  23. Governor Sandoval is doing the job we elected him to do. He has the courage to do the right things. Special interest groups no longer hold the cards. Carry-on, Mr. Governor!

  24. To gmag39: Answer: GREED!