Improving education in Nevada this year is non-negotiable. Families from all walks of life have waited far too long, and they’ve heard about how Nevada ranks near the bottom in education far too many times over the past few years. It’s time for solutions, and the solutions that Republicans, especially Governor Lombardo, have spearheaded to improve discipline in schools, increase the number of educators in the state, and expand school choice for Nevada parents will bring our state’s education system to parity with the rest of the country. When we talk about improving our education system, we must address, as a first priority, the issue of violence in our classrooms.
In the Clark County School District last year, police responded to nearly 6,000 violent act calls. Some of the “restorative justice” policies that have been in place since 2019 have prevented teachers from controlling their classrooms and creating safe learning environments for their students. The ethos behind these principles of restorative justice was no doubt well intentioned, however, the 2019 legislation clearly requires some well thought revision so that our classrooms can be safe and productive.
Now, with Governor Lombardo as our leader, we’re finally helping teachers regain control of their classrooms.
Several weeks ago, the Governor presented Assembly Bill 330, The Safer and Supportive Schools Act, in the Assembly Committee on Education. This bill calls for harsher punishments and controls for students who are caught bringing firearms or illegal drugs onto campus, and it allows teachers to remove students from the classroom for violence and disruptive behavior. These disciplinary actions will be overseen by the school principal so that there are checks and balances on the teachers’ ability to discipline students. We’re happy to say that the Governor’s bill, AB330, passed off the Assembly Floor with the majority of Democrats voting with the Republicans in a 38-4 vote.
The Governor will soon present Assembly Bill 400, the Education Achievement, Opportunity, and Accountability Act. This bill will advance school choice, expand Opportunity Scholarships, and improve childhood literacy. As of today, five states have enacted universal school choice legislation. Nevada was the first to do so in 2015, but the law was struck down by the Nevada Supreme Court. If we don’t revisit the concept of building meaningful parental choice for our education system, students and families will be left behind as other states that do enact these reforms will see significant gains.
Polls show that two-thirds of Nevada parents are interested in sending their children to a school other than their local public school. Charter schools should be a choice for these parents too. A government monopoly on education is the way of the past, let’s model ourselves after other states that have successfully promoted school choice.
The Governor’s proposed solutions, and the combined efforts of our Republican caucus members have the potential to put Nevada’s education system back on track. Let’s put partisan interests aside and recognize the policy solutions that will help all Nevadans.
This opinion editorial was written and submitted by the NVGOP Assembly Leadership: PK O’Neill, Rich DeLong, Danielle Gallant, and Jill Dickman.
- Governor Lombardo’s Education Proposals Will Benefit All - April 26, 2023