A Cultural Rant- Clark County Schools
During our tour of the 50 states, after a while I decided to give the news and media a rest. Wonderful. This weekend, while spending some time in Las Vegas, I made the mistake of reading the paper. Clark County School District, one of the largest in the country, has sunk Nevada to the lowest position for achievement in the country. Yes, we're number one! Oh, wait... no, we're the worst. Our graduation rate hovers around fifty percent with math and science proficiency having dismal results. Quick! Find a state senator and throw more money at the problem. Hold on a second. If the scores are so low, then Nevada must spend the least money on their education, right? Not even close. And we have some of the finest school buildings in the country. Speaking of money, the mantra uttered in the early 2000s (during the housing boom) was, "We can't attract great teachers because they can't afford housing." Since the bubble burst and housing prices have slashed in half, we are attracting great teachers now, aren't we? Funny I haven't heard anything about that. I'm bouncing around, but my son is looking into private school and they found some crazy things that teachers could do in the private sector. Brace yourselves: The teachers can touch the children. I know, it's insane. They hug them and the kids can sit on their laps. They can pray with the kids (horrors!) and tell them they love them. They can discipline the kids. And yes, they do background checks. No idea if there's a connection here, but their results are far better than the CCSD. Mybe it's because they spend more money per student. A lot more. Oh, wait. They don't. They don't have as many therapists, shrinks, nurses or lawyers either. A good book about our education system and ideas for a different perspective on renewing it is Seth Godin's 'Stop Stealing Dreams.' He takes us back to our education roots, points out major failures in our approach to education, and offers visionary ideas for a big shakeup in our education system. I think some of his ideas are utopian, but it makes one think. Let's stop just throwing money at the problem and expecting change. Oh, that's right, that's the definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. It's easy to blame the Teacher's Union (and I do, a lot), the system, the media and the parents. It's a complicated, difficult ship to turn. But we better get to thinking hard about how to successfully turn the ship. And Billy (in 'Easy Rider') whined about how screwed up America was in the sixties.