Sunday, Dec. 27, 2009 | 2 a.m.
What's Your Vision?
Nevada needs to start looking further ahead. If I had the opportunity to help draft a blueprint, here’s what I’d do:
The Legislature, with extensive statewide input, would develop a long-term public education plan that sets goals for five and 10 years from now. The plan would include funding for appropriately carrying out those goals, monitoring and supporting schools and correction remedies for failing schools.
To better support those goals, Nevada would have a single state education agency, including K-12 and higher ed, as well as charter, vocational and private schools.
The academic year would be divided into three semesters, with the first two used for all required course work. Instead of using pullout programs for remediation, students would have the third semester to get the extra help they need. There would also be more opportunities for students to advance based on ability.
The instructional day would be longer, including standard full-day kindergarten.
Clark County would have in place an equitable merit pay system, including a teacher career ladder where effective teachers could earn as much, or even more, than administrators. The new third semester schedule would mean year-round employment for our most effective educators.
Students would have more choices about their own educational paths, not just in the separate career and technical academies, but also through theme and magnet programs at regular high schools.
These goals will require increased community involvement to meet our students’ needs. Expanding the empowerment schools model will be one way of developing those relationships, particularly with the business sector.
Over the next decade, Clark County will become known not for its size, but for the quality of student performance, its superior staff and its community partnerships.
Walt Rulffes is superintendent of the Clark County School District.