If education reform requires ‘money, money, money’ you’re doing it wrong

Victor Joecks

An amazing story in today's Las Vegas Review-Journal shows how some people think about education reform. The Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce hosted a panel discussion that was reportedly on education reform, but turned into a discussion of how to get more money from taxpayers.

From the Review-Journal:

Panelists promoted pursuit of all kinds of programs: Creating a system awarding extra pay to high performing educators, making full-day kindergarten standard, providing incentives for teachers venturing into high-poverty schools and those with few English-speakers, creating more advanced computer science and technology courses, and reinventing the state’s nearly 50-year-old funding system currently providing schools a flat rate per student.

A bill draft request under consideration for the 2015 session would provide up to twice as much for students in special education, living in poverty or learning English.

All of these plans have one thing in common: a price tag above and beyond what’s currently paid for in Nevada public schools.

“We continue to talk about money, money, money,” said John Cole, a community member and former Clark County School Board member, questioning the panel and noting how voters overwhelmingly quashed the state’s two recent ballot measures to increase education funding.

This is a microcosm of the problem that's been plaguing Nevada education for the last 50 years. The education establishment demands more money for ineffective government programs, and then when those programs don't work, they come back and demand more "money, money, money."

Real reform involves taking the money Nevada's already spending and using it more effectively, as explained in NPRI’s 33 ways to improve Nevada education without spending more study. Improving education doesn't require more money. It requires using the money we already spending more effectively, because spending more simply doesn't work.