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LETTER: The Clark County School District and academic performance

Academic performance is an important part of developing students to become productive members of society and to enjoy a successful career in whatever path chosen. Sadly, as pointed out in Bill Hanlon’s Sunday commentary, academics are “not a priority” in the Clark County School District.

So exactly who is in charge of the education system and what are their goals for our students? The Nevada State Board of Education’s goals, according to its website, include “all students are proficient in reading by the end of 3rd grade and all students enter high school with the skills necessary to succeed.” The school district’s website says it seeks to ensure that “all students progress in school and graduate prepared to succeed and contribute in a diverse global society.”

Sadly, recent test scores show that only 26 percent of district students are proficient in math. Clearly the state board and the district are not even close to meeting their goals. Is this just a COVID-19 distance learning related “blip” on the radar, or is this a continuation of poor performance that began after Walt Rulffes was superintendent from 2006 to 2011? The answer, sadly, is the latter.

For many years, the district has ranked near the bottom nationwide in student achievement. Reading proficiency scores have been traditionally low. Recently, only 31 percent of fourth-graders were proficient in reading and only 28 percent of eighth-graders make the grade. And finally, on July 8, Superintendent Jesus Jara pulled an end run at a public School Board meeting to garner consent agenda approval from the Board of Trustees to radically lower the student grading system without public debate.

District administration and the Board of Trustees reward mediocrity and flood the job market and institutions of higher learning with many students ill-equipped to be successful in our ever-changing world of challenging, high-paying jobs. Where are the adults in the room?

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