Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011 | 2 a.m.
- Five struggling schools embark on a journey to improve education
- Sun to track progress of 5 struggling schools
- Discussion: School District’s top officials sit down with the Sun
- Shifting demographics demand greater urgency in improving schools
- How community views education must change if schools are to be fixed
It’s all about the public interest.
Barbara and Hank Greenspun, my parents, started the Las Vegas Sun just over 61 years ago because my father believed that Las Vegas was a community worth fighting for, and the best way he could do that was to publish a newspaper.
For nearly 40 years Hank battled every bad guy, every bad decision and every example of government excess that he could find. He also tilted at more than his share of windmills. He believed that the people of Las Vegas not only deserved but needed a newspaper committed to providing the best and most credible information so that decisions made by voters, elected officials and community leaders would be made with the best information available.
That was then. And nothing has changed — except that newspapers are challenged beyond comprehension; the public is scared to its wits’ end because of the economic stress under which we are all living; and partisan politics has reached a point that, when coupled with the fear of unknown tomorrows, creates a paralysis that prevents logic and sanity from ruling our everyday decisions.
What really hasn’t changed is the commitment by the Las Vegas Sun, and by extension all of our products at Greenspun Media Group, to provide the best and most credible information so citizens and voters can make the most informed decisions possible.
Why am I writing all this? Because, once again, the Las Vegas Sun and her sister media are going to provide, starting today, one of the best and most in-depth community-interest projects we have ever done.
For the next year, our reporters, photographers, videographers, editors and whoever else we can assemble to bring to bear on this subject, will follow the progress of what arguably is the most important undertaking of a free society: its public school system.
Every legislative battle, every street corner discussion and every chat room worth its salt has as one of its main discussion areas the issue of public education — how much does it cost, does it work, are we getting our money’s worth, should it exist, and on and on. It was the bone of contention at the 2011 Legislature, and I predict it will hold the same place of honor in the 2013 get-together.
As my colleague in this effort has written in the adjoining column, the Clark County School District and the Las Vegas Sun have entered into an unprecedented arrangement in which our news folks are allowed full access to report on the effort to turn around some of the lowest performing schools in the district.
Dwight Jones, the new School District superintendent, is committed to candor and accountability; we are committed to be fair in how we report on the progress of these yearlong turnaround efforts. Together, we are partners in providing transparency to the process of reforming and improving education. By making this project available in print, online, on mobile devices and on television through our news partners at News 3, the citizens who pay the bill for public education will get the information and accountability they so richly deserve.
In the end, voters will be far better informed about our public schools and the hard work it takes to graduate young men and women who have a real chance to succeed. They will also learn about the failures, however few we hope there are.
What we will learn, mostly, is how public institutions and the news organizations whose job it is to keep them accountable can work together to keep the public better informed. We all join Dwight Jones in hoping that the last of our installments tells a great story of success. In any case, the Sun’s commitment to a better Las Vegas continues.
Brian Greenspun is publisher and editor of the Las Vegas Sun.