Dave Cook, a member of the state Board of Education and longtime teacher, has announced plans to run for Assembly District 40 representing Carson City.
That seat is being vacated by the retirement of Republican Pete Livermore.
Cook, a Democrat, is the first person to announce plans to run for the office. He said his priority is improving Nevada’s public education system.
The key, Cook said, is providing teachers and students with the modern technology they need to bring education up to 21st century standards.
“Economic growth is based on our educational system,” he said. “It’s the biggest single factor of economic growth.”
One of his legislative goals, he said, is to create alternative ways for pupils to get their diplomas. Cook said the proficiency exams they now take are, “a high stakes test with no other mechanism.” If the student can’t, for example, pass the math test, he or she doesn’t get a diploma.
“And it’s based on standards that aren’t even being taught,” he said.
He said the state’s system for funding capital construction in the different school districts also needs to be fixed. He pointed to Washoe County as an example with aging schools and no resources to fix them.
Cook repeated that technology in classrooms is the answer to improving learning.
“You put a tablet in every kid, K-through-5’s hands,” he said on how to improve learning.
He said with some 200,000 elementary students in Nevada, that would cost up to $76 million but would more than pay off in improved learning. Cook said legalizing and creating a state lottery would be a good place to start raising the necessary money.
Filing for office runs from March 3-14.
The primary election will take place on June 10 with the general election set for Nov. 4.