Las Vegas Sun

October 13, 2015

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letter to the editor:

CCSD stuck in outdated system

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I appreciate your ongoing series of articles on the state of education in Nevada, “What to do about Nevada’s schools.” Although retired from the Clark County School District and moved, I have a number of friends in the district and have a continuing interest in my former students.

The challenges cited and solutions proposed do not truly address two core issues. The first is that our system of public education is based on a Victorian model of and for industrial production. While that model may have been useful when most children started working in farms and factories at age 14, it is completely inadequate for a knowledge-based economy and culture.

The second is that the model of public education relies heavily on a managerial class that has every incentive to maintain or expand its dominance. Consider that the many reforms proposed and implemented during this era of “education reform” are primarily regressive actions — enhanced repetitive testing in core subjects, tracking, etc. — strategies that worked in the 1950s and in British schools delivered by ossified bureaucrats to an unreceptive customer base.

Management theory posits that failing institutions become more rigid and doctrinaire. A good example is CCSD. Even if the superintendent were an actual reformer, he is limited by an administrative bureaucracy in which far too many participants are simply placeholders who have risen to their level of mediocrity. Restricted by a management union contract, the superintendent cannot promote, dismiss, replace or reassign those staff.

CCSD will not make the necessary changes to deliver better education because it cannot make those changes.

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