In his 34 minute “State of the Schools” speech last week, Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara made an unarguable case for why Clark County parents and taxpayers should demand his immediate resignation.
In a talk that should have been entitled, “Don’t blame me,” Jara proved that the $500,000 per year salary he has received since 2018, and the $6 Billion per year budget he’s been entrusted with, have been worse than wasted.
• Jara repeatedly stated he cannot fix CCSD schools by himself; that it’s the entire community’s responsibility.
Who would continue the employment of a CEO who excused a defective product by whining that manufacturing quality was not his or his employee’s fault, but blamed his community?
• Jara said the 80% functional illiteracy rate of CCSD students is due to “poor children,” “vulnerable children,” “the pandemic,” racial inequity,” “systemic issues,” “not enough money,” “old curriculum,” and “an increase in mental illness,” to name just a few of his excuses.
Jara laid no blame whatsoever at the feet of inadequately supervised teachers and incompetent administrators.
• Jara failed to address the real reason why students are learning nothing.
Jara took a complete pass on acknowledging the presence of drug-saturated school environments, repeated shootings, campuses full of weapons, and out-of-control student behavior.
There was no mention of numerous assaults on teachers and a 40-50% daily absence rate as possible factors in the academically dysfunctional, morally bankrupt, and socially dangerous red-hot-mess that he has allowed CCSD schools to become.
If the community could see firsthand the insane reality of CCSD schools, they would riot in the streets. But this will never happen, because Jara knows this, and that’s why NO unannounced campus visits and very few visits of ANY kind are allowed.
• Worst of all, Jara’s speech lacked the moral courage to honestly address the connection of race with horrible student behavior.
He ever-so-tentatively – and 100% wrongly blamed the higher suspension/expulsion rates of Black and Latino students on a racially biased discipline system. Any teacher of ANY color who’s been in a classroom for more than two weeks will tell you that those two racial groups are suspended/expelled more frequently for one reason only. While they are not the ONLY students exhibiting inappropriate behavior, they unarguably demonstrate it more frequently than Asians or Whites. The fact that there are outstanding students of ALL colors proves this is NOT a racial issue–it’s a parenting issue, and just more proof that Jara lacks the courage and knowledge to fix our schools.
Consider two other counter-productive school practices Jara believes in and promotes, but didn’t mention in his speech:
Restorative Discipline: When a student commits serious and/or dangerous rule violations, this State-required discipline policy puts the blame on teachers. It encourages them to apologize for not fully understanding what might have made the child want to curse them, assault them, destroy property or use drugs. The student perpetrators seldom (or never) receive punishments sufficient to deter future behavior, while this policy thoroughly unnerves teachers– driving hundreds of them every year to seek new careers.
Credit Recovery: This legislative policy allows a student (who rarely attends class during a semester and does almost no work), to complete about three hours of busy-work at the end of the semester and pass the class with a “C” or better.
With a Superintendent who supports child-destructive, idiotic policies like those above, it defies belief that Jara’s speech implied he can’t figure out why over 80% of our students are functionally illiterate and our schools’ social fabric is fully unraveled.
Superintendent Jara’s presentation did actually promote, indirectly, a compelling argument for the only way to rescue our worst-in-the-nation schools. Nothing less than fully-funded, no-strings-attached vouchers for every parent of every school-aged child is the only long term solution. Until our public schools have to compete for students, there is no motivation for them to change…and they won’t.
The Superintendent closed his speech on an incredulous note. The solution he offered to the education apocalypse he has created, is for everyone to cease questioning his thoroughly ineffective leadership. Parents and the community should stop suggesting ideas for how to improve CCSD schools. Rather, we should all just trust Jara indefinitely and follow his “Big Plan” for improving things.
Anyone in Clark County who follows the Superintendent’s advice deserves the schools they have.