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Taking Nevada’s Public School System From Worst to First In Four Steps

The failing public school system is definitely an emergency that demands Governor Lombardo’s intervention

By Paul White, March 1, 2024 2:30 pm

When Governor Joe Lombardo was declared the election winner over a year ago, he promised all Nevadans that he would fix our failing public schools that have ranked worst-in-the-nation for over a decade.

Nevada ranks 49th in least educated state. (Photo: Scholaroo.com)

Ineffective school leaders who said the problem was low funding were rewarded billions more dollars in the latest K-12 budget, but lack of money is not what is causing Nevada’s public school to be worst-in-the-nation, as evidenced by the fact that Florida funds their schools at the same amount as Nevada, but has the top-rated schools in America.

Education “experts” claimed the key to fixing our dysfunctional schools was purchasing new curriculum, implementing new teaching strategies, and adding more technology.

But, none of those solutions dealt with the real causes of or failing public schools. Now, more than a year later, none of the short-sighted fixes have prevented our schools from getting worse.

Both Washoe and Clark County have shed their failed superintendents, and every traditional replacement candidate on the horizon looks the same or worse than the ones who just left.

Both Washoe and Clark, as well as Douglas, Elko, and the rest of the state’s school districts are in disaster mode because of the same failed ideas and leadership from the education “experts.”

County school boards throughout the state have become politicized, impotent, and ineffective.

These problems need to be addressed, and would singlehandedly take Nevada’s schools from worst to first, but must include the strong and consistent enforcement of exists NRS statutes.

Republican Governor Joe Lombardo signs largest K-12 education budget in state history (Photo: @JosephMLombardo)

These following four steps will transform our schools:


Use Emergency Powers to Assume Control of Our State’s Public School System.

  • 30-60 percent of our students don’t even bother coming to school every day –
  • 65-85 percent of our state’s 500,000 students are functionally illiterate and will be unable to live independently and support themselves in the future
  • School violence and on-campus drug/alcohol abuse are at epidemic levels
  • Each new wave of school leaders is more ineffective than their predecessors  

The failing public school system is definitely an emergency that demands Governor Lombardo’s intervention.


Enforce State Laws Regarding Chronic Truancy

  • You can’t teach the 30-60 percent of our students who don’t attend school every day. Nevada state law provides for court appearances and strong, immediate punishment for children who are chronically absent (and their parents), but county superintendents refuse to enforce the law. They prefer to waste time and money on ineffective in-house committees, counseling, and pleading with parents and children to attend school.
  • With emergency control of the schools, the Governor can demand that attendance laws be enforced by every Superintendent.

    Teachers and students rally for safety schools. Screen shot from Safer Schools Act video (Photo: @BetterNevadaPAC)


Enforce state laws regarding violent student behavior and abuse/assaults on teachers and staff.

  • The Governor could direct every school superintendent in the State that, effective immediately, they will deal with every incident of campus violence.
  • Invoke the NRS laws that allow schools to press charges and turn offenders over to local, not school, police every time for arrest.
  • Permanently ban all offenders from campus and place them on permanent home-study until they graduate.
  • File charges EVERY time with local police. Suspend every offender and  place them on home-study for a minimum of one semester.

School superintendents seldom, if ever, enforce the laws. Incompetent leadership is a leading cause of Nevada’s crippling teacher shortage.

CCSD Trustees meet at the Edward A Greer Education Center (Photo: Megan Barth for The Nevada Globe)


Enforce State Laws Regarding Drugs on School Campuses

  • The Governor must direct Superintendents that every drug-involved incident of any kind will be dealt with in the same manner described in STEP 3 above.

Approximately half or more of all Nevada’s secondary students are involved in buying/selling/using drugs while at school, and the problem is growing. School leaders have exacerbated this behavior by failing to take effective action to utilize proven means for eliminating drug problems.

Students who buy, sell, or use controlled substances create a school climate that invites criminal behavior, and is unhealthy and dangerous to themselves, other students, and staff.

By implementing the four steps described above, the Governor could immediately:

  • Provide teachers the support and protection they need to provide quality instruction.
  • Empower teachers to teach the subject(s) that they were hired to teach.
  • Remove the corrosive influence of drugs on all school campuses.
  • Permanently rid our schools of the growing number of violent students that are allowed to terrorize and endanger both staff and students.
  • Send a message to parents/guardians that they need to be involved and responsible.

If the Governor takes these bold steps, he will have provided Nevada’s 500,000 students and 25,000 teachers something that most of them have seldom experienced–a consistently safe, positive, thriving, and improved learning environment.

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