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May 5, 2015

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Teachers not pleased with most of Sandoval’s speech

Sandoval's State of the State

Gov. Brian Sandoval, center, leads a standing ovation for a pair of Nevada servicemen who were decorated for their actions in Afghanistan, while making his first State of the State address before a joint session of the Nevada Legislature in Carson City on Monday, Jan. 24, 2011. Lt. Col Tony Millican, who is stationed at Nellis Air Force Base, received the Bronze Star and the Air Force's Lance P. Sijan Award for heroism. Spl. Ernesto Padilla, of the Nevada National Guard received the Purple Heart for wounds he suffered from a road side blast that tore his vehicle in half. Launch slideshow »

Grim, with arms crossed, the 80 teachers and education personnel watching Gov. Brian Sandoval’s budget address Monday night weren’t expecting good news.

Still, there were no groans or shaking of fists from those gathered at the teachers’ union headquarters in Las Vegas.

When the governor proposed cutting spending per pupil by 9 percent, or $270, there were some grimaces. The moans would come later when union leaders spoke.

There was some murmuring when Sandoval talked about “education reform” of an “antiquated system.” And there was more grumbling about ending teacher tenure.

During the speech, the loudest applause came when Sandoval said he planned $10 million for the Millennium Scholarships.

After the speech, Ruby Caliendo, 40, a science teacher at Orr Middle School, said she was “very disappointed” in the governor’s speech.

“I disagree with him completely that our system is broken. It’s not our system, it’s the preparation of our kids these days. For my school, is it my fault that students come to me in the eighth grade and read at a second grade level?” (Sandoval said Monday he wants to end social promotion from the third grade, holding back students who can’t yet read at that grade level.)

Caliendo also worried that class sizes would rise sharply with teacher layoffs. She said she has 30 science students in a room built for 24. If the number rises to 40, she will lack enough lab equipment and “I’ll be teaching chemistry with pencil and paper.”

Gary Peck, union executive director, told the teachers, to loud applause, that the governor’s speech was “a recipe for disaster.” He added that it was an assault on public education and collective bargaining.

Ruben Murillo, president of the Clark County teachers union, agreed and said the governor’s address was a “public flogging” of teachers: “I felt like I was getting lifted up and slapped around.”

Nearly 90 percent of a school district’s budget goes to salaries for teachers, administrators and support personnel.

There are nearly 28,000 public school teachers in Nevada, with an average annual salary of nearly $48,000.

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  1. Its a good start.

  2. Talking in generalities is almost never a good start. If you don't know where you are going and haven't worked through the details of the route, you end up lost, late, and out of gas.

  3. Teacher pay in Nevada, if you have been in a district for a number of years, has lagged dramatically behind the majority of the country.
    When the boom was at it's height, they HAD to increase salaries in order to attract the huge number of teachers needed to serve the multitudes, or no sane person would come to teach here.
    So, salaries came up. To around the middle of the pack.

    Of course, those new teachers were also paying over-inflated prices to buy in if they chose to make a commitment and own a home here. So now,
    they are making less money, owe more than their home is worth if they bought, and are looking at the stark reality of Governor B.S. throwing the A-Bomb at school districts.
    Additionally, there will be less money going to the already cash-strapped school systems.
    Agree with Dennis/Dipstick here that B.S. sounded a whole lot like an NPRI Libbertarrian...
    "Larger class sizes, 'no problemo!' facts back up our assertion that in other countries, class size does not matter!"
    "Vouchers are great fun and foster competion!"
    Well, that's a whole lotta hooey.
    These are nothing but subsidies for rich people.

    Per-pupil spending, already anemic at best, will take another hit. I know, I know, "jeez, how much money we gotta throw down that hole before we see results!" Well, the answer to that is MORE, not LESS. When you are near the bottom, and you start to cut, where does that leave us....let's calculate:
    Of course money ISN'T the ONLY thing, but it's sure one of the important ones.

    Check out this link from Ralston's column a short while back... if you want to gain at least a glimpse of why Nevader is sucking at Education, take a SERIOUS LOOK at this "Chances for Success" set of graphs:

    The cuts to Higher Ed is a whole other story, one of sticking our youth with more debt burden, while getting less of an education in the bargain.
    Bottom line:
    We are winning the Race to the Bottom, BIG TIME, and this will so NOT HELP!

  4. Gmag, its not how much you spend that matters, but how effectively you spend what you already have.

    As for tenure and seniority a whole bunch of people right and left believe it has to go - including the group Democrats for Education Reform and oh President Obama.

    Vouchers are also extremely beneficial to the poor. 9 out of 11 random assignment studies show statistically significant improvement in student achievement. 0 show students are harmed. 1 of the 2 that showed nothing barely missed the marked for statistical significance but saw a massive, massive, massive gain in graduation rates.

    Vouchers work. There are no ifs ands or buts about it.

  5. Shannon K,

    The bulk of these programs were for low-income children only. Others were for special-needs. Not one single program studied was for middle class or wealthy children - in fact, no such voucher program exists in America today.

    The participants in the study had to apply for a voucher and were chosen by lottery. In other words we've taken care of the "parents who care" variable.

    The results show that children who win a voucher and use it to attend a private school have statistically significant higher learning gains than the kids who applied (and thus, presumably have parents who care enough) but did not win a voucher.

    Finally, I really really hate the blame parents first crowd. Sure, there are going to be bad parents, but when you're a low-income parent who is struggling to survey getting beat up by people who say you don't care about your own is the last thing they deserve to hear. The blame parents crowd is racist and elitist - even if they don't realize it.

  6. Mr. Lamy,

    Parental income and education are great predictors of their child's success, but blaming parents is smoke and mirrors to let bad teachers off.

    you see, you can't control the parents, you can control the quality of the teacher. Also, being poor and uneducated doesn't mean you don't care about your children - only elitist jerks or people who don't think before they speak make such comments.

    Research at the University of Tennessee found that teacher quality was 10 to 20x more effective at improving student achievement than small class sizes.

    In other words, teacher quality is the single most important factor school districts can control.

    The recent LA Times analysis on teacher quality showed that the racial income gap can be closed by a student having 3 years in a row of top quartile teachers. A mere three years and an achievement gap that persists throughout the country throughout all schooling, GONE, because of improved teacher quality.

  7. Shannon K,

    Nope, it supports my position. Let me explain.

    You believe that parents caring is what makes the difference in vouchers.

    The problem is you have to apply for the voucher program - thus ALL participants (whether they get a voucher or not) have parents who allegedly care more than the parents who did not apply.

    By randomly selecting among the parents who care we can rule out parental involvement as one of the causes of success.

    The results show that kids who win the voucher and go to a private school do better than kids who lose the voucher and remain in the public school. In other words the variable we are testing is the school itself - public or private.

  8. Neither here nor there,

    First, vouchers should be available for all students but if not, then for low-income students is acceptable to me.

    Second, the average private school tuition is less than public school operating costs - so in all liklihood it will be enough. If it is not, shall we get rid of food stamps on the same ground (food stamps don't cover the full cost of food)?

    Third, 18 out of 19 studies show that the systemic effects of vouchers, that is what happens to the system itself, when vouchers are made available, demonstrate that public schools improve when faced with the competition.

    Thus, the students who are "left behind" get a better education as the school works to avoid losing more students (and thus dollars) to their private sector competitors.

    Kids win with a better education either way.

  9. I'm saying we can't blame parenting as the only reason, or even a major reason, why education quality is low.

    Are there bad parents? Yes. Will there always be bad parents? Yes.

    Are their bad teachers? Yes. Will there always be bad teachers? No, we don't have to accept that.

    Bad parenting is A problem, bad teachers ARE a problem, bad administers ARE a problem, a broken system that protects special interest groups, IS a problem.

  10. Shannon K,

    What have you read?

    Here are some studies on the systemic effects:


    Martin Carnoy, et al "Vouchers and Public School Performance," Economic Policy Institute, October 2007;

    Rajashri Chakrabarti, "Can Increasing Private School Participation and Monetary Loss in a Voucher Program Affect Public School Performance? Evidence from Milwaukee," Federal Reserve Bank of New York, 2007; (forthcoming in the Journal of Public Economics)

    Caroline Minter Hoxby, "The Rising Tide," Education Next, Winter 2001;

    Jay P. Greene and Ryan H. Marsh, "The Effect of Milwaukee's Parental Choice Program on Student Achievement in Milwaukee Public Schools," School Choice Demonstration Project Report, March 2009.


    Rajashri Chakrabarti "Vouchers, Public School Response and the Role of Incentives: Evidence from Florida" Federal Reserve Bank of New York Staff Report, Number 306, October 2007;

    Jay P. Greene and Marcus A. Winters, "Competition Passes the Test," Education Next, Summer 2004;

    Cecilia Elena Rouse, Jane Hannaway, Dan Goldhaber, and David Figlio, "Feeling the Heat: How Low Performing Schools Respond to Voucher and Accountability Pressure," CALDER Working Paper 13, Urban Institute, November 2007;

    Martin West and Paul Peterson, "The Efficacy of Choice Threats Within School Accountability Systems," Harvard PEPG Working Paper 05-01, March 23, 2005; (subsequently published in The Economic Journal, March, 2006)

    Jay P. Greene and Marcus A. Winters, "The Effect of Special Education Vouchers on Public School Achievement: Evidence From Florida's McKay Scholarship Program" Manhattan Institute, Civic Report Number 52, April 2008.

  11. here are some on individual students randomly assigned to vouchers

    Cowen, Joshua M. 2008. "School Choice as a Latent Variable: Estimating the 'Complier Average Causal Effect' of Vouchers in Charlotte." Policy Studies Journal 36 (2).

    Greene, Jay P. 2001. "Vouchers in Charlotte," Education Matters 1 (2):55-60.

    Greene, Jay P., Paul E. Peterson, and Jiangtao Du. 1999. "Effectiveness of School Choice: The Milwaukee Experiment." Education and Urban Society, 31, January, pp. 190-213.

    Howell, William G., Patrick J. Wolf, David E. Campbell, and Paul E. Peterson. 2002. "School Vouchers and Academic Performance: Results from Three Randomized Field Trials." Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 21, April, pp. 191-217. (Washington, DC: Gains for all participants, almost all were African Americans)

    Rouse, Cecilia E. 1998. "Private School Vouchers and Student Achievement: An Evaluation of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 113(2): 553-602.

    Wolf, Patrick, Babette Gutmann, Michael Puma, Brian Kisida, Lou Rizzo, Nada Eissa, and Marsha Silverberg. March 2009. Evaluation of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program: Impacts After Three Years. U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

    The last Wolf study there looks at winning a voucher, not whether or not you used one. The 2009 study found a statistically significant result, the 2010 study did not because the sample size had shrunk and barely missed the confidence interval - the effect size was still the same. That paper also found a very, very large graduation rate improvement in DC among students who used the voucher.

  12. These three find at least one subgroup benefits from vouchers (again no one finds students are harmed by it)

    Barnard, John, Constantine E. Frangakis, Jennifer L. Hill, and Donald B. Rubin. 2003. "Principal Stratification Approach to Broken Randomized Experiments: A Case Study of School Choice Vouchers in New York City," Journal of the American Statistical Association 98 (462):299--323. (Gains for African Americans)

    Howell, William G., Patrick J. Wolf, David E. Campbell, and Paul E. Peterson. 2002. "School Vouchers and Academic Performance: Results from Three Randomized Field Trials." Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 21, April, pp. 191-217. (Dayton, Ohio: Gains for African Americans)

    Peterson, Paul E., and William G. Howell. 2004. "Efficiency, Bias, and Classification Schemes: A Response to Alan B. Krueger and Pei Zhu." American Behavioral Scientist, 47(5): 699-717. (New York City: Gains for African Americans)

  13. those all show statistically significant achievement gains for students. If the effect size or impact is smaller than you think it should be, it is likely only because the programs are limited in scope and size - ie limited to a handful of inner city low-income students, or funding is kept low to prevent real serious competition with public schools.

  14. 1. Tenure is out.
    2. Teacher are tested every year to maintain credentials.
    3 . Illegals are not allowed in public school classes. (private schools only)
    4. Teach today's children a 2nd language. Not Spanish - Chinese they will need it.
    5. Semester teaching only. No (3) summer month vacations anymore.

    This is what Japan did after World War II,

  15. Holding-back students who don't make the grade IN EVERY GRADE ABOVE SECOND GRADE is the right way to go. Some will call that prospect old-fashioned. But, "old fashioned" sure beats graduating Seniors who are morons. Here's something else "old-fashioned"; let's give teachers more authority to discipline students who are disruptive to classes. And, one more "antiquated" proposal; make teachers' AND ADMINISTRATORS' wages commensurate with their job performance and the achievement rate of their students.

  16. @Patrick R. Gibbons;

    "Gmag, its not how much you spend that matters, but how effectively you spend what you already have."

    That's what they ALWAYS SAY when they do things "on the cheap"...

    Of COURSE you want to optimize your dollars.
    before you can claim "you should do more with less".

  17. @ Patrick R. Gibbons;

    "I'm saying we can't blame parenting as the only reason, or even a major reason, why education quality is low."

    Pat, I KNOW you consider yourself an expert, dude, but this is laughable. And DEAD WRONG.

    Of course, it's not the QUALITY of the PRODUCT that is causing kids with bad parents to perform poorly.
    It's the social & economical & emotional ramifications of their home life... if you don't believe that's "not even a major reason" why some kids are flunking out, you need to go back to school.

  18. Shannon K,

    Speaking of cherry picking you did exactly that. that is a report from a left-wing union organization but it still found a statistically significant improvement in student achievement after 1998 when they allowed religious schools to participate and receive voucher students.

    Here is a more recent paper on the same program

  19. Gmag,

    What is minimally reasonable? You tell me. Get the NSEA to print it. Get Senator Horsford to have it carved in stone.

    Then I will take bets to see how long it takes us to surpass that spending amount and how many of you will still be singing the same "WE NEED TO SPEND MORE" tune.

  20. Gmag,

    Thanks elitist...parents don't care about their kids which is why an unaccountable, uncompetitive monopoly can't provide a quality service despite having twice as much money per pupil...

    Give me a break.

    There are bad parents, but its not why American even rich white kids in America stink at math...

  21. I have spent hours tutoring basic math, first year algebra and graphing etc. to undergraduates who were severely behind in their class.

    Math is only logic, so if the person's mind is stressed, disorganized, unable to focus or irrational because of religious training, etc., they WILL NEVER LEARN MATH.

    The fact is, if they hate, fear, despise or see no reason to learn the subject, they won't. Take all those referenced studies and chuck them.

    End of discussion.

  22. Less funding than desired is no excuse for not getting the job done. We have plenty of examples of those who do more with less even when lives are at stake.

    No one expects teachers to like it and no one expects the teachers union to do anything constructive. We do expect them to roll up their sleeves, quit whining and find a way to get the job done.

    And yes, I have teaching experience.

  23. The simple fact is that the rest of us have had to suffer cuts, layoffs, part time instesd of full time, and have had to figure out a way to survive. My income for 2010 was about half of my income in each year from 2004-2008. We still make our mortgage payment every month and pay our other bills, on time. We have had to cut back on a lot of things we once did (no concert tickets, no Las Vegas trips last year, even went without A/C last summer), sold some assets, etc., but we are taking responsibility and NOT running out on any obligations. I know many in my profession with 30+ years of experience (including myself) who were laid off in late 2008 who have had to deal with the fact that work is not available like it once was, but we're living with it, and making do until things turn around.
    While I know a lot of really great teachers (most from 2 income families, living in very nice neighborhoods by the way), they are not any "better" than the rest of us. No, they're not any worse either. We all have to make sacrafices (I've made mine!), now it's someone else's turn. Live with it. Even a 15% pay cut is a lot better than most of us have endured, and when a 5% pay cut was floated a week or so ago, you would have thought they were asking for 50% by the doomsday comments made. My favorite was from one who stated that they and their spouse were teachers (or state workers) so they would be getting a 10% cut. I think that one needs to try learninng some simple math! As the song goes..."Don't come crying to me...".

  24. Speaking of simple math, this is all a Clark County taxpayer needs to know:

    $2.1 billion / 300,000 students = $7,000 per pupil.

    To put it another way, a classroom of 30 has to somehow scrape by on $210,000 per year. And yet we have bureaucrats saying this is not enough -- they need more.

    I have nothing against teachers, administrators or anyone else involved in the education of our young people. It is not the duty of the citizens of this state to micromanage your broken education system, but like shareholders of a private company it is our duty to demand accountability and a positive return on our investment.

    You say you need more money for education? The answer is "NO"!

  25. Several have suggested the people are willing to pay higher taxes to support schools.

    I suggest we ask parents of students to voluntily support the school system. Parents would be asked to donate to the school that their student attends a monthly amount to cover the shortfall. I'm estimating this to be $30.00 per month per student.

    This will get parents interested and invested in there kids education. The value of a quality education far exceeds the $30 cost.