Posts Tagged ‘panel’

ACLU Objects to Closed Meeting (and I question the ideological diversity) of Gibbons’ Education Task Force

By Elizabeth Crum | 11:29 am March 23rd, 2010

You may or may not have heard that the ACLU objected to the Governor’s education task force meeting in private last week (that was the Friday meeting at the Wynn to which I earlier referred here).

The governor’s office disagrees with the ACLU due in part to this AG opinion last week (Hat Tip: Ralston):

I have reviewed the Governor’s Executive Order creating the Blue Ribbon Task Force to advise him on budget issues for the next biennium and to facilitate the application for federal funding pursuant to Race to the Top.

The Blue Ribbon Task Force, as described in the Executive Order, is not a public body subject to the OML. It will be appointed by the Governor (the Governor is not an entity subject to the OML: see §3.02, OML Manual) and secondly, the BRTF will make recommendations only to the Governor. (see §3.04, OML Manual) Committee is subject to OML where parent is a public body and it appoints a committee who is tasked to make recommendations to parent. Such is not the case here.

George H. Taylor

Senior Deputy Attorney General

My question is this:  Why not open the meetings up regardless of the legalities?  What possible reason could there be for keeping these meetings closed?  If the purpose of the panel is to (1) help the state figure out how to competently process its way through the Race to the Top application and (2) come up with ideas to reform our sorry educational system, why can’t the public sit in?

I have other questions, too, some of which the governor’s spokesperson, Dan Burns, answered last week (but not really to my satisfaction, as follows):

Burns said panel members were chosen from “every segment of society” and “every walk of life” and that the panel is not “a political group” but a place for “fresh ideas” that will “make educational reform recommendations to the governor.” I’d really love to believe that – but if new ideas are really what they are after, why is there so little diversity of background and ideology on the panel?

I see one known empowerment school and one charter school advocate, one guy who believes in Florida-style reform (if you did not know it, Florida is kicking all the other states’ butts when it comes to measured improvements over the past decade) and one conservative senator who in the past has spoken in favor of choice via vouchers/scholarships and charter schools (but doesn’t support empowerment).

Why are there no panel members from the Business Educational Alliance for the Children of Nevada (BEACON), NPRI, the Nevada Innovative Coalition for Education (NICE), the Council for a Better Nevada, any of the state’s private schools or anyone repesenting the home-schooling peeps?  We couldn’t even pick 2 or 3 panelists with ties to these groups?

Yet:  we do have a higher ed guy, the superintendent of Nevada’s public schools, the head of Nye County’s public schools, the head of Washoe County’s public schools, the head of Douglas County’s public schools, a former university regent and teachers union endorsed candidate for CD-2 in the last two election cycles, a public school teacher from Clark County, a Washoe County public school teacher, a public school teacher from Lyon County, a Clark County public school principal, the president of the Nevada PTA, and the head of the Nevada teachers union.

Does that list look like people from “every segment of society” and “every walk of life” to you?  I’m not saying there should be NO representation from the public school system, but the ratio looks pretty lopsided.  So, color me skeptical on the whole “fresh ideas” thing.

Gibbons Round-Up

By Elizabeth Crum | 8:01 pm March 17th, 2010

A quick trifecta of items about the governor:

In which he formed an education task force headed by Elaine Wynn and Dan Klaich.

In which he explains his executive order (and veto) re: furloughs.

In which he writes a letter to Shelley Berkley saying leave health care to the state.

Governor Formally Announces Blue Ribbon Education Panel

By Elizabeth Crum | 12:42 pm March 15th, 2010

Via press release, more details from the governor’s office re: the new blue ribbon education panel:


(Carson City, Nevada) – Governor Jim Gibbons signed an Executive Order today forming the Blue Ribbon Education Reform Task Force to guide and oversee Nevada’s Race to the Top application and to facilitate public and private discussion and consensus for overall reform of public education for Nevada’s children.

“This Task Force will merge new ideas with proven methods to propel Nevada’s education delivery system to new heights,” Gibbons said, “The group will create a path to prepare Nevada’s students to be the intellectual infrastructure for our future.”

Gibbons plans to enlist the help of the public and private sector for this important project. Nevada’s state, private industry and nonprofit leaders  will work together to ensure a successful state application for the Race to the Top competition and to effect long-term K-12 and higher education reform. Experts and stakeholders in K-12 and higher education, government, technology, and business must work together as a team to ensure our education system succeeds both in educating our children and in providing the background and skills necessary for the current and future job markets in Nevada.

Well-known supporter of education and entrepreneur Elaine Wynn and Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Dan Klaich have been named co-chairs of the Task Force.

Other members include:  Senator Barbara Cegavske; Assemblywoman Debbie Smith; State Board of Education Chairman Chris Wallace; Nevada Superintendent of Public Instruction Keith Rheault; Nye County School District Superintendent William “Rob” Roberts; Washoe County School District Superintendent Heath Morrison; Acting Douglas County School District Superintendent John Soderman; former Regent Jill Derby; Joyce Haldeman, Assistant Superintendent, Clark County School District; DJ Allen, Imagine Marketing; Ray Bacon, President, Nevada Manufacturing Association; Pam Hicks, Regional Professional Development Program; Dr. Sonya Horsford, UNLV; Dana Lee, President, Nevada Women’s Philanthropy; Cherri Luna, classroom teacher in Clark County; Punam Mathur, Vice President Human Resources, NV Energy; Ronald Montoya, Principal, Clark County School District; Maureen Peckman, Cleveland Clinic; Karen Pedersen, classroom teacher in Lyon County; Gina Polovina, Vice President Community Relations and Government Affairs, Boyd Gaming; Michele Robinson, President, Nevada Charter School Association; Allison Serafin, Executive Director, Teach for America; Nancy Smith, Datanamics; Diane Sumner, classroom teacher in Washoe County; Alison Turner, President, Nevada Parent Teacher Association; Gintas Vildzius, Vice President Global Energy, GE Energy; and Lynn Warne, President, Nevada State Education Association.

The responsibilities of the Task Force include:

* Providing state leadership and coordination of the Race to the Top application and ensure its timely submission by June 1, 2010;

* Facilitating discussion and consensus among public and private stakeholders in building a knowledge base of “lessons learned” to facilitate the Race to the Top application;

* Encouraging public and private involvement in a review of Nevada’s education infrastructure and recommendation of measures designed to ensure that we are providing a fair and appropriate education that will support the future of our state and diversification of our economy;

* Facilitating a statewide dialogue on reform of our public education delivery system;

* Consulting with relevant stakeholders to develop a plan to improve the results of our state’s public education system, from K-12 through higher education; and

Developing legislative and regulatory recommendations supporting the mission that may address, among other matters, governance, academic standards, teacher performance and resource allocation.

The Task Force will submit two items to Governor Gibbons: the completed Nevada Race to the Top application no later than May 21, 2010, and, no later than November 19, 2010, its recommendations regarding revisions to state laws and regulations relating to education reform and related funding for inclusion in the Governor’s Executive Budget for Fiscal Years 2011-2012 and 2012-2013.

“The Task Force members have the innovation and determination to modernize Nevada’s education system and provide the workforce for our future,” Gibbons said, “I look forward to receiving the ideas and input from this talented group of individuals.”

The Task Force will have its first meeting on Friday, March 19, 2010.

Governor Gibbons to Announce Blue Ribbon Education Panel

By Elizabeth Crum | 3:43 pm March 14th, 2010

As Flashed by Ralston just now:

Gibbons to announce blue-ribbon education panel headed by Elaine Wynn, Chancellor Dan Klaich

Coming tomorrow.

Legislators of both parties, gamers, union types, superintendents, even the Just Say No to more taxes crowd will have representation among two dozen members. Many usual suspects but some new voices and smooth move in pick of Sonya Horsford, who has better education credentials than her elected official husband.

More Monday.

Just left messages for three active “empowerment school” and/or school voucher advocates here in southern Nevada to see if they have (or know) someone on the panel.  I’m interested because as I’ve been learning about education reform, the issue of Empowerment seems to be a non-partisan goal that both Dems and Republicans can find reason to support.

Will post an update if/when I have one.