By David Thompson, @DJakaDT
What am I doing here?
That was my first reaction to enrolling in a class set to cover the Nevada Legislature. I’m a sports guy through and through. I’ve had a professor tell me sports and law are essentially the same thing because it’s all politics, but I took it in passing.
What could be duller than listening to lawmakers talk for hours upon end about things we rarely see a change in? But I came in with an open mind, and a month later I’m so glad I did.
It took about a week into the course to know exactly what I was doing.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I am doing my journalistic duty to provide the common person with information about proposed bills that may affect their lives for better or for worse. I’m doing what I can to make a difference and be a progressive member of society.
Education is a subject I have always been interested in, but it wasn’t until taking this course did my interest stretch into passion.
Being raised in Nevada, a state consistently at the bottom of the education barrel, my first-hand experience of a not-so-great public education system has spanned 13 years. For over a decade I’ve seen the effect of budget cuts plague my classroom as supplies rapidly depleted and the school became more dependent on student contribution. For example, early on, if you brought in a ream of paper to class, you received extra credit. Now in certain schools, students are required to bring in a ream the first day of school.
My experience has driven me to follow Senate Bill 77. This bill will give more power to the Department of Education in deciding the fate of underperforming schools. It will allow it to close a school, turn it into a charter school, designate and reassign staff.
I spent quite some time trying to contact the sponsor of this bill and was instead forwarded to the DOE where I was informed that the language of this bill is subject to change with the introduction of an “Achievement District” bill, which is still being drafted. Read about it here in the document forwarded to me by a member of the DOE:
I am excited to continue my research and get back out to you as the bill progresses.