Posts Tagged ‘keith rheault’

School Choice Limited But Expanding In Nevada As National Event Highlights Need For More Options

By Sean Whaley | 9:41 am January 22nd, 2012

CARSON CITY – As National School Choice Week gets under way today state officials say Nevada school children have more opportunities than ever before to choose a school that works best for them.

But one element of choice, a school voucher program, remains an unrealized and divisive issue for the state’s policy makers.

Successes include a strong charter school law that is helping make the semi-autonomous schools available to more Nevada students, expanding distance learning programs, home-schooling opportunities and the ability in the state’s largest school district for open enrollment, Gov. Brian Sandoval said in a Friday interview.

Another positive are the career and technical academies in the Clark County School District that allow students to focus on specific vocational programs, from aeronautics to fashion design, he said.

“They are remarkable,” Sandoval said. “That is a big component of choice in Clark County that is very popular.”

Sen. Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, chairman of the Senate Education Committee in the 2011 session, also points to the state’s charter and magnet schools as examples of choice in Nevada.

“So I think we have a lot of great choices there,” he said. “We also have some decent laws on home schooling. Some parents want to have that ability to home school their kids but maybe they can’t provide sports or music so now they have that opportunity with some of the things that we’ve changed. So I definitely think it is important for parents to have some choices and options.”

National School Choice Week focuses on need for options

National School Choice Week – a series of hundreds of events shining a spotlight on the need for better educational options for children, kicked off in New Orleans on Saturday and runs through Jan. 28.

Sandoval issued a proclamation last week declaring National School Choice Week in Nevada while visiting a new charter school in Fallon. The Oasis Academy just finished its first semester with 120 students and has a waiting list, he said.

Gov. Brian Sandoval. / Nevada News Bureau.

Supporters of National School Choice Week believe that children and families deserve increased access to great public schools, public charter schools, virtual schools, private schools, and homeschooling.

School vouchers remain controversial in Nevada

But Nevada does not have a voucher program where parents could use taxpayer dollars to help pay to send their children to private schools. Efforts by Sandoval and state Sen. Michael Roberson, R-Las Vegas, to move in that direction in the 2011 legislative session were unsuccessful.

“I think the time has come for our state to move forward with regard to school choice and see how it works,” Sandoval said. “I think it would be extremely popular. I think there is a huge appetite amongst parents to have this opportunity.

“Competition is good,” he said. “And at the end of the day, the beneficiary is going to be the kids. And my goal is for every child to have quality education (and) a great teacher in every classroom every day.”

Sandoval said he supports a voucher program with means testing and will pursue the idea again in 2013, but the approach may change based on legal rulings on such programs around the country. Providing funding to parents instead of private schools, for example, might allow Nevada to avoid the constitutional prohibition on using public funds for “sectarian purposes.”

A handful of states offer voucher programs.

Another option is giving corporations that provide scholarships to parents for private school would get tax breaks, a program used in Florida.

Many Nevada lawmakers and members of the education establishment remain strongly opposed, however, to a voucher program.

Denis said the state needs to do more for its public education system before even contemplating the idea of a voucher program.

“If we were doing everything we could for public education then I would be willing to look at that issue in the future,” he said. “But we underfund education. You want to make sure the field is level.

“We’ve got some challenges but we’ve made some great changes in our reforms, and I think we’ll continue to do that,” Denis said. “But as far as the voucher stuff, I don’t think that there is support for that.”

Lynn Warne, president of the Nevada State Education Association, also opposes the idea of vouchers, saying there are quite a few other options for parents.

“The courts and the constitution say there should not be the commingling of public funds for that purpose and so we are opposed to vouchers,” she said. “We believe it undermines the public school system whether it is a charter school receiving state funding or a traditional public school receiving state funding. It takes money away from the system.”

It undermines the free education for all concept the country was founded on, Warne said.

Another component of choice, the open enrollment option in the Clark County School District, has a ways to go before it is a real option for many students.

Keith Rheault, Nevada’s superintendent of public instruction, said open enrollment is limited from a practical standpoint because of a lack of space at many schools to accept students from outside their attendance areas.

“Even though there is more flexibility, the choice probably isn’t as much as you think,” Rheault said.

School choice opportunities have expanded in Nevada

Nevada now has 31 charter schools serving about 8,000 students. Nevada’s passed its first charter school law in 1997. Nevada’s ranking among the states just improved to 20th from 23rd based on a national report issued last week by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

Overall charter school enrollment now exceeds that of many of Nevada’s rural school districts.

The primary reason for the improved ranking was the 2011 Legislature’s adoption of Senate Bill 212, which created a new entity to focus exclusively on reviewing and approving charter schools in Nevada, a measure welcomed by Sandoval in his education reform efforts.

Sandoval said he has asked Steve Canavero, director of the new State Charter School Authority to review the states at the top of the rankings to see what more the state can and should do to promote the creation of the schools.

The state also has 174 private schools with just under 14,000 students enrolled. But Rheault said enrollment in private schools has been flat in recent years, due in part to the tough economy and the inability of parents to afford the tuition.

Rheault said distance learning, offered to some extent by the school districts and particularly in charter schools, is growing quickly in Nevada.

“The Nevada Virtual Academy, for example, I think started in 2007 with about 400 students, and they are strictly a distance ed school,” Rheault said. “I think they are over 2,000 students this year. We probably have over 5,000 or 6,000 students being educated just by distance education programs.”

But the option exercised by most parents is to send their children to the public school system run by locally elected boards in each of the 17 counties. For the most part, children attend the school they are zoned for by each district.

Public school enrollment was projected to total just under 422,000 this year.

National School Choice Week comes at a busy time for education reform in Nevada

On Tuesday, a panel of Nevada state lawmakers will begin looking at news ways of funding public education. And on Thursday, the state Board of Education is expected to receive the names of six finalists for the state’s top public education job. The names of three finalists will be forwarded to Sandoval for the position of state superintendent of public instruction, an appointment he has said is one of the most important he will make as governor.

The 2011 Legislature changed state law to allow the governor to pick the schools chief. Until now, the state Board of Education picked the superintendent.

The state is also pursuing a waiver to allow for flexibility in implementing the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Sandoval supports the move, which is expected to allow the state to tailor the requirements of the law to meet Nevada’s unique characteristics.

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Audio clips:

Gov. Brian Sandoval says he will bring the voucher bill again in 2013:

012212Sandoval1 :37 state of Nevada.”

Sandoval says the time has come to move forward with school choice:

012212Sandoval2 :31 school choice bill.”

Sandoval says competition among public and private schools will benefit the kids:

012212Sandoval3 :17 classroom every day.”

State Sen. Mo Denis says Nevada offers parents a lot of school choices:

012212Denis1 :25 and some options.”

Denis says the state needs to fund public education before considering vouchers:

012212Denis2 :18 field is level.”

NSEA President Lynn Warne says the courts oppose vouchers:

012212Warne1 :30 choice of theirs.”

Warne says vouchers undermine the concept of a free public education for all:

012212Warne2 :22 was founded on.”

 

Nevada Charter School Law Strengthened In 2011, National Group Says

By Sean Whaley | 4:13 pm January 18th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Nevada’s charter school law was strengthened in 2011, seeing its ranking among the states moving to 20th from 23rd as a result, a national group reported this week.

Nevada’s overall score improved from 97 points to 111 out of a potential of 208 points in the report issued Tuesday by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

Keith Rheault, state superintendent of public instruction, said the primary reason for the improved ranking was the 2011 Legislature’s adoption of Senate Bill 212, which created a new entity to focus exclusively on reviewing and approving charter schools in Nevada.

The State Charter School Authority makes Nevada one of only eight states to have a statewide authorizing agency focused on building high quality charter schools, said Gov. Brian Sandoval in August when he appointed Steve Canavero of Reno as director of the new organization.

The bill eliminated the previous approval process using a subcommittee of the state Board of Education.

The improvement is good news for those who support increased school choice, and comes as National School Choice Week is set to get under way on Sunday.

Nevada has 31 charter schools serving about 8,000 students. Nevada passed its first charter school law in 1997.

Potential areas for improvement in Nevada’s law include increasing operational autonomy and ensuring equitable operational funding and equitable access to capital funding and facilities, the assessment said.

The organization said that following one of the most positive years for state charter school legislation in recent memory, there were numerous changes in the rankings. Sixteen states saw their charter school law scores increase, 22 states’ overall scores remained the same, and four states fell in their overall score.

Maine’s law, which passed last year, vaulted to the top of the rankings. Of the states that allow charter schools, Mississippi’s law remains at the bottom of the list.

In its third year, “Measuring Up to the Model: A Ranking of State Public Charter School Laws” ranks each of the country’s 42 state charter school laws. Each state received a score on its law’s strength based on the 20 essential components from the NAPCS model law, which include measuring quality and accountability, equitable access to funding and facilities and limited caps on charter school growth.

“What’s most encouraging about the charter school movement’s legislative efforts is that they are more frequently marrying growth with quality and accountability,” said lead author of the report and NAPCS Vice President for State Advocacy and Support, Todd Ziebarth. “The long-term viability of the charter school movement is primarily dependent on the quality of the schools that open.  It’s critical that state lawmakers recognize the importance of charter school quality and accountability – and the impact that their laws have on it.  We are glad to see that they are increasingly doing so.”

In the 2011 rankings, the average score of all states with a charter school law was 100 (out of a maximum possible 208), and in this year’s rankings the average state score rose to 107, demonstrating that state charter laws are increasingly improving.  The top 10 states with laws best positioned to support the growth of high-quality charter schools are Maine, Minnesota, Florida, New Mexico, Massachusetts, Indiana, Colorado, New York, California and Michigan.

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools describes itself as the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the charter school movement.

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Audio clip:

State public education chief Keith Rheault says the improved ranking is due to the new charter authority:

011812Rheault :10 got started, so.”

 

Nevada Moving Forward With Waiver For Flexibility From Requirements Of No Child Left Behind Act

By Sean Whaley | 3:48 pm January 11th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Nevada is joining with many other states in seeking a waiver from the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, a state panel was told today.

If granted, the waiver being sought by the Nevada Department of Education will still require a major ongoing effort at measuring and improving student achievement, said Keith Rheault, state superintendent of public instruction. Rheault updated the waiver effort for the P-16 Advisory Council.

The waiver being offered by the U.S. Department of Education gives states flexibility on certain requirements of the law, which just saw its 10-year anniversary. The waiver is only valid for two years, however, unless Congress takes further action, Rheault said.

“The biggest complaint about No Child Left Behind right now is that if one or two students in a particular category, like special education students, fall below the proficiency, that can cause the whole school to be determined as not making adequate yearly progress,” he said.

Fifty-five percent of Nevada’s 680 public schools failed to meet adequate yearly progress for 2011.

State schools chief Keith Rheault talks today about seeking a waiver from requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act. / Photo: Nevada News Bureau.

“Nevada will take this opportunity to build the type of school and educator accountability system that reflects our values,” says a Nevada Education Department memo on the waiver process.

Dale Erquiaga, senior adviser to Gov. Brian Sandoval, said the governor supports seeking the waiver.

“The governor has been kept abreast of the waiver application by the superintendent and the core team that is working and he absolutely supports the direction that they are headed,” Erquiaga said. “The current system, as he has talked about for a long time, is too narrow.”

No Child Left Behind has been useful in providing a foundation for introducing accountability into Nevada’s public school system, he said.

“But we know that if we look at growth, and climate, and some of the other issues that they will address in the waiver, that we’ll be better off than we are today,” Erquiaga said.

State Sen. Barbara Cegavske, R-Las Vegas, chairwoman of the P-16 Council, said she was proud that the No Child Left Behind Act became a reality because accountability in public education is so important.

“I think it was a great start,” she said. “With education we need to continuously be moving, and re-looking, re-thinking. Sometimes it takes us longer than we wanted.”

In order to be granted the flexibility provided for by the waiver, the agency must submit an application that explains how it will create a system that includes college and career-ready expectations for all students, state-developed recognition of and accountability for schools, effective instruction and the reduction of duplication and unnecessary burdens.

Nevada plans to submit its wavier application by Feb. 21.

Rheault said the decision to seek the waiver came after discussions with Nevada’s 17 school districts.

It will still require an assessment of how each school is performing, he said. Idaho is opting to use a star system with five stars identifying a top performing school, Rheault said.

Nevada plans to use a measure of individual student growth in achievement as part of the new assessment under the waiver, he said.

Eleven states sought waivers in the first round of applications, and a total of 39 states ultimately are expected to seek the waivers, Rheault said. Another 11 states say they don’t want waivers, he said.

Rheault had praise for what the act helped Nevada accomplish.

“Our accountability system wouldn’t be anywhere near where it’s at if we didn’t’ get forced into moving faster through No Child Left Behind,” he said. “I think it was just the designation of how it was so limited in how you defined what a good school was. That’s really the focus of these waivers and that’s why I thought it was important the state at least put in an application to change that.”

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Audio clips:

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Keith Rheault says the biggest complaint about No Child Left Behind is that a whole school can be identified as failing if only a few students don’t perform well:

011112Rheault1 :19 adequate yearly progress.”

Rheault says No Child Left Behind has produced some benefits:

011112Rheault2 :25 to change that.”

Sandoval Senior Adviser Dale Erquiaga says the governor supports the waiver:

011112Erquiaga1 :12 is too narrow.”

Erquiaga says Nevada pubic schools will be better off with the waiver:

011112Erquiaga2 :14 we are today.”

 

Fifteen Apply For Nevada Top Public Schools Job As Search Process Moves Forward

By Sean Whaley | 2:05 pm January 5th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Fifteen people, eight from within Nevada and seven from out of the state, have applied for the job of state superintendent of public instruction.

Three of the 15 did candidates that applied by a Dec. 30 deadline not meet the statutory requirements for the position, such as having a master’s degree in education or school administration, the Sandoval administration said in an update on the search process.

The 12 eligible applications are now being reviewed and background checks are being conducted. The names of the applicants will not be released until a list of semi-finalists is presented to the state Board of Education at its meeting set for Jan. 26-27.

Photo courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration via Wikimedia Commons.

Keith Rheault, Nevada’s current superintendent who will be retiring in early April, said via email that the state board is scheduled to interview the finalists on Feb. 22 and 23, voting on Feb. 24 on three finalists to forward to Gov. Brian Sandoval for his consideration for a March appointment.

Sandoval wants a new schools chief on board well ahead of the 2013 legislative session.

As a result of education reform legislation approved by the 2011 Legislature, Sandoval now has the authority to appoint the new schools chief. In the past the 10-member Board of Education had the authority to select the superintendent.

The job pays about $121,785 a year plus benefits.

 

Nevada Improves Data Collection To Measure Student Achievement, Still Faces Access Challenges

By Sean Whaley | 4:14 pm December 1st, 2011

CARSON CITY – Nevada has made significant progress in the collection of the data needed to measure and help improve student achievement, but still has work to do in putting the information to work for parents, educators and policy makers, a national report released today says.

The Data Quality Campaign’s (DQC) seventh annual state analysis, Data for Action 2011, shows that states have made major progress building their student data systems. More states than ever – 36, up from zero in 2005, including Nevada – have implemented all of DQC’s 10 Essential Elements of Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems.

Photo courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration via Wikimedia Commons.

The report shows however, that states continue struggle with the 10 State Actions to Ensure Effective Data Use, which are intended to ensure that stakeholders can effectively use the data to increase student success. The report shows that Nevada has implemented five of the 10 actions.

The report shows, for example, that 41 states do not link workforce data with K–12 data and 38 states do not link workforce data with post-secondary data.

Aimee Guidera, executive director of the Data Quality Campaign, said in a telephone conference call today that there has been substantial progress since the first report was released in 2005 in collecting the date needed to improve student achievement.

“Not only have states made progress, but for the first time, the campaign is thrilled to announce that we believe that every single state in this country now has the capacity to empower education stakeholders,” she said. “And that means everyone from parents to policy makers, with quality data to inform decision making. And that is an amazing, gaming changing opportunity for us in the education sector.

“People have complained they didn’t have access to information, they didn’t know where to get the information, we didn’t have the quality information, and we think that we are now at a turning point in the conversation to say there are no more excuses, we now have this data that is collected at the state level,” Guidera said.

But states need to do more to provide access to the data to teachers, parents and policy makers, and to make sure they know how to use the information, she said. Only eight states are now providing individual student information to parents, and only five are providing information to students themselves, Guidera said.

States particularly need to ensure the date can be effectively used by teachers, she said.

Gov. Brian Sandoval has made quality data collection a priority of his administration because of its importance in measuring education reform efforts.

He issued an executive order Oct. 7 asking a state education panel to take the necessary steps to create a system to track students through their school years, following in the steps of other states as part of an overarching effort to reform education and improve student performance in Nevada.

That group, the P-16 Council, met Nov. 9 to begin the process of creating a usable data system to track student performance from early childhood education through college.

In remarks at the meeting, Sandoval said: “This is a historical moment, this is really a crossroads in the state of Nevada and we have some great opportunities to really improve the delivery of education in this state.”

Guidera said Nevada is in the middle of the states with five actions met. The average nationwide is 4.6.

Nevada has a lot of momentum in the data collection effort, having this year put the 10 elements in place, she said. The challenge now is to ensure the state data system is meeting the needs of the local school districts as well as other users, Guidera said.

Keith Rheault, Nevada’s superintendent of public instruction, said the state was able to meet the data quality elements through a federal grant received in 2008. The funds ran out this year but the agency is pursing another federal grant to continue the process.

“Our next step will be to link the data systems of K-12 education to the (Nevada System of Higher Education) NSHE data as well as the workforce database (managed by the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation),” he said.

Rheault said the new grant would be used to meet several of the missing action items cited in the report, including the linkage of the systems as well as building a statewide data repository.

“Quality educational data that is readily available to school districts and the public is a key element in improving schools and the achievement and success of our students,” he said.

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Audio clips:

Aimee Guidera, executive director of the Data Quality Campaign, says all states now can provide quality data needed to measure student performance:

120111Guidera1 :21 the education sector.”

Guidera says the country is now at a turning point:

120111Guidera2 :13 the state level.”

In Case You Missed It: Political Blurbs

By Elizabeth Crum | 11:52 am August 20th, 2011

Welcome to a new weekend feature here on the blog. We’ll bring you recent links, snippets, stories and Tweets you may have missed in Nevada and national politics. Enjoy. Feel free to post your own favorites in Comments.

Presidential Primary

Governor Sandoval’s name keeps popping up in stories about possible vice-presidential picks for the Republican ticket. This week Politico listed him among “the geographically and demographically ideal” along with Mark Rubio and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez.

This “270 to Win” interactive electoral map is fun to play with.

GOP presidential contenders are seeking Nevada endorsements. So far, Rep. Joe Heck, Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki and nine state legislators have given Romney their nod.

CD-2 Special Election

The four candidates debated this week in Reno.

John Boehner hearts Mark Amodei. Really. And so does Mitt Romney.

Emily’s List (now over 900,000 members strong) endorsed Kate Marshall. So did the Alliance for Retired Americans.

The federal healthcare overhaul legislation is at issue on the airwaves. Amodei is linking Kate Marshall to the health care law approved by President Barack Obama and Congress, while Marshall released an ad slamming Amodei for supporting a Republican plan to privatize Medicare.

Republicans blame Marshall for Nevada’s credit rating downgrade.

AD does a fact check on the NRCC’s claim that Marshall was responsible for a huge business tax increase.

Kate Marshall chimed in (sorta) on Carson City District Judge James Todd Russell’s failure to disclose his business relationship with Mark Amodei in the special election case.

Marshall pointed out that she has raised more money than Amodei.

Americans for Prosperity commissioned a Magellan robo-poll. The survey says Amodei is up by 13 points.

Mediscare

Duck! Political canons are being fired every five minutes re: which party (or candidate) wants to kill Medicare. The latest:

– The national parties both try to control the Medicare message in the CD-2 special election race.

– Case and point:  The National Republican Congressional Committee TV ad attacking state Treasurer Kate Marshall.

– The Kate Marshall campaign responded with this TV ad claiming Mark Amodei wants to end Medicare.

– Mark Amodei’s mom defends him on the issue in this new TV ad.

Ever wonder what the truth is about rising Medicare costs? A Columbia Journalism Review reporter gives us an overview of a new Annals of Emergency Medicine report that explains.

Politifact evaluated DCCC claims that certain Republicans have voted to end Medicare.

Heller & Berkley

Medicare is an issue in this race, too.

In a June (internal) poll, Berkley was up 42-37 over Heller. The last PPP poll had Heller up over Berkley 46-43 (but within the margin of error). Most pundits are calling it a toss-up or giving a slight edge to Heller with disclaimers that it is too soon to say.

Both candidates seek the support of Nevada’s veterans who make up roughly 10 percent of the state’s population.

Dean Heller has gathered some D support for his call for debt committee transparency.

 

Education

The Clark County School District and the teachers union have reached a bargaining impasse that is “unlikely to be resolved” by Aug. 29, the first day of school.

State superintendent of schools Keith Rheault said Nevada will seek exemption from the No Child Left Behind Act after comments in which U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan called the program an “impediment” and “disincentive” for educators. States can ask for relief beginning in September.

Various & Sundry

A Nevada judge fined the now defunct ACORN $5,000 for a voter-registration compensation scheme. The field operative who created and ran the incentive program is serving three years of probation. (I had fun blogging about the FBI raid on the Las Vegas ACORN office back in 2008.)

The Clark County Commission decided against packing electoral districts with minorities. The same issue is at the center of disagreements over state legislative and congressional redistricting.

Lorne Malkiewich, the longtime director of the Legislative Counsel Bureau, says he is going to retire before the beginning of the 2013 session.

Your 401(k) may in the tank, but Nevada mining company shareholders are doing well.

After push-back via recent public comment, the BLM says it is now going to evaluate the cost-benefits of that controversial pipeline project.

 

 

 

Children Who Cannot Pass Reading Test Would Be Held Back Under Sandoval Proposal

By Andrew Doughman | 3:37 pm January 26th, 2011

CARSON CITY – Third-graders who cannot read at a third-grade level would not advance to fourth grade under a proposal from Gov. Brian Sandoval.

The assertion rests on common-sense logic, and Sandoval has been promoting his idea since he was on the campaign trail.

It’s simple – until third grade, we learn to read. After that, we read to learn,” he said during his State of the State address earlier this week. “Most kids who start behind, stay behind. It has to stop.”

Simple enough. The complicated part, though, will be funding remediation programs or paying for students to re-take the third grade. The governor is already proposing 10 percent cuts to K-12 education and districts are warning of million dollar deficits.

Both state Superintendent of Public Instruction Keith Rheault and Assemblyman David Bobzien, D-Reno, have said the idea is a good one, but have held further endorsement until the governor shows them the money.

Other Democrats have warned that the proposal comes at a bad time.

Assemblywoman Debbie Smith, D-Sparks, has already criticized Sandoval’s proposal. Although she isn’t against the proposal, she said it’s unjust to first reduce funding for full-day kindergarten, class-size reduction and early learning programs and then expect third-graders to pass a reading exam.

Sandoval plans to introduce a bill to the Legislature that would establish a minimum score on an existing reading test administered to all third graders. Pass and you’re on to the fourth grade. Fail and you’re in for a do-over or at least some kind of remediation like summer school.

This would end the practice called social promotion whereby students automatically go to the next grade regardless of whether they perform at grade level.

Right now, school districts use a hodgepodge of ways to educate under-performing children, said Rheault. These range from small group sessions to individual attention both during school and after school.

Like many programs, though, these remediation programs either aren’t funded or have been eliminated.

The governor’s proposal to end social promotion is still sketchy. The governor’s staff have determined neither a funding source nor the level for a “fail” or “pass” grade.

The state currently provides a base level of funding for all students. Should a third-grader fail the reading exam, the state would either have to pay for that student to repeat the third grade or pay for other remediation programs.

The governor, however, contends that Nevada has to start somewhere in fixing its schools. Part of that, he says, is to establish statewide standards such as this.

At the same time, the governor wants to allow school districts flexibility in how they manage class-size reduction, full-day kindergarten and other programs.

How you deliver the education is up to the school districts,” said Dale Erquiaga, the governor’s senior adviser. “We’re not going to tell them how to teach.”

Instead, Erquiaga said, the governor will set standards and give districts leeway in how to meet those standards.

Beyond the funding, the debate over whether ending “social promotion” works is still up in the air.

Rheault said that some research suggests children are more likely to drop out later when they’re held back and separated from children their age.

Other evidence appears to refute this.

In Florida, former Gov. Jeb Bush ended social promotion during 2002. Today, literacy levels for Florida’s schoolchildren have dramatically increased. Bush has taken his reforms on the road through his education reform group, Foundation for Excellence in Education.

Here in Nevada, Sandoval is using the Florida model to craft his bill.

Around the United States, the massive New York City school district has done away with social promotion. Bills in various Legislatures around the country would also eliminate it. In New Mexico, Gov. Susana Martinez addressed ending social promotion in her State of the State address as well.