Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Nevada Bad For Kids? What A Bunch Of BS

Today, a report came out that said that Nevada is bad for kids, so bad, in fact, that it ranks 48 in the country.  What a bunch of BS.
From the LVRJ: Nevada's ranking for public education has hit rock bottom, according to a new national study on children's well-being.
The Silver State was ranked 50th in the nation despite improvements in key areas, such as the percentage of fourth-graders reading at grade level and eighth-graders who are proficient in math.
Education was one of four indicators used to determine children's overall well-being in the Kids Count national report to be released today . Nevada ranked 49th among the states for children's economic well-being and 46th in health. It ranked 41st in family and community issues such as teen births and children living in poverty.
Nevada's overall standing fell eight spots to 48th in the nation, according to the evaluation system, which was revamped this year to make it more "well-rounded, truer," said Stephen Brown, executive director of Nevada Kids Count.
"Basically, it's a more accurate reflection of what it's like to be a child in Nevada," he said.
The only states with overall standings that fell below Nevada are New Mexico and Mississippi, according to the findings, which showed that about one in four Nevada children live in poverty.
First, I want to get rid of the myth that Nevada has a bad education system- it's not great, but it's not horrible.
To graduate from high school, you need to be proficient in reading, writing, math and science and you have to pass tests in those areas.  If you pass the tests and classes, you graduate.  If you don't pass the tests, you get a certificate of attendance.  If you are a special education student, you get and an adjusted diploma ( an adjusted diploma means you you don't graduate and it holds down the graduation rate of the school and district)  Many states don't require this amount of testing to graduate.
Many of the problems with students not passing their classes and drop out have nothing to do with school.  We have a high number of students who move throughout the year, we have a very large number of students who don't speak or write English very well and we have a high number of illegal immigrants that we are forced to educate.  If you don't speak or read English very well in high school, what chance do you hve of graduating high school?
I work in an inner city high school and I see how hard teachers and administrators work to get kids to school and to educate them but if the kids aren't willing to learn or their family doesn't care about education, then there is not a lot that you can do.  But if a kid wants to get educated, then they will get a decent education in CCSD and Nevada.
Of course, we can change the way we graduate kids and graduate everyone, but that doesn't make the kids any any smarter.
A lot of kids live below the poverty rate.  Yep, and that explains why they have cell phones, MP3 players and wear very nice clothes.  Are some kids dirt poor?  Of course, just like in every city and town in the U.S., but they find a way to get by.
We also have a lot of good things for kids to do here.  We have neighborhood community centers in which kids can come and play and they also offer day care.  After school programs for kids are abundant, especially in elementary school with Safe Key.  We have a great park system, lots of areas to hike and ride bikes and most apartment complexes have swimming pools.  We have a pretty good library system, we have classes that kids can get into and so much more.  You also can take a day vacation to the mountains, to Lake Mead (in the winter, you can go skiing in the morning and boating/swimming at night), visit the Strip and Fremont St., (where they have museums, animals and fish), movie theaters, shows etc.  So, if a kid is bored, it's pretty much their own fault.
Every large city and most small towns have problems.  Las Vegas and Nevada are no different than these places, but we have some pointy headed nimrods who have to justify their employment, so they come up with some crack head survey and make up statistics.  Then the paper runs to these so called experts who then say the sky is falling, the sky is falling and we need more money and we need more money.  (and for those states at the top of the survey, they will cry that they need more money to stay at the top of the survey)
These surveys are all about money and getting more money for their cause, nothing more, nothing less- just follow the money trail.

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