Currently, first- through third-grade classes can only have 19 students in the class. Now Gibbons wants to be able to raise that to 30, like all the other classes. Common sense tells you that 6-, 7- and 8-year-olds will do better with smaller groups and any teacher will tell you that it is much easier to teach 19 kids rather than 30 little children.
But Gibbons, who can only subtract money and not add any, says it will save us a lot of money to further ruin our children’s education. Will we really be better off with a society of poorly educated people who are less socially adept?
Class size reduction should be increased, not decreased. There is nothing more important in a child’s education than the student-teacher relationship and that should be enhanced, not diminished.
Gibbons didn’t discuss this with any education experts. He doesn’t want the facts to get in the way of his decisions. The education of our children is our future and he wants to destroy it.
Giving vouchers is also a poor joke and most likely would result in litigation. A voucher would be the ability of a family to get a credit for the amount spent by the state on their child for a school year. The state would pay that to a private school of the parent’s choice. The problem is that what Nevada pays for public education would only cover about one-half of the cost of a private school. So people with money who have the additional funds and transportation could send their kids to a private school of their choice. Those with minimal income would be stuck in a public school further depleted of public funding.
Unfortunately, the people of lower income in our community contain a higher level of minorities. So once again, if you are a person of color you get a second-rate education. This discriminatory financing has already been attacked in federal courts around the country and it would be here as well. Nevada’s funding of education is already insufficient, exposing the state to legal attack for violating the state’s constitution that requires public education. This type of litigation has been successful in other states and Nevada is ripe for such an attack. Both these litigation scenarios would involve the courts telling our legislature to keep its promise to the people to educate our children and to treat all our children equally.
But the job of properly funding and providing an education for our children lies with our elected officials, not a judge. Our governor is shirking this responsibility. I hope our legislators do not.
Jeff Blanck is an attorney in private practice in Reno and handles education matters. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.