I believe that our children deserve the very best education that we can provide for them. Also, I believe that the new Nevada standards are critical to improving our public schools.
These new standards and tests bring an accountability to the system that never existed before. Now we must make sure that all students achieve these standards, that all teachers instruct to these standards, and that all administrators expect their schools to perform to these standards.
Issues facing public education and courses of action:
- Successful implementation of the New Statewide Standards in language, math, science, economics, civics, history, geography, health/PE, fine arts, and computer technology.
- Successful alignment of the New Statewide Standards with the 17 county school districts' local curriculum.
- Successful evaluation and remediation of all students, who are identified as falling behind in mastering the classroom curriculum reflecting the New Statewide Standards, in every school district in Nevada.
All Nevada students in the 3rd and 5th grades will be evaluated with the new Nevada Standards based Criterion Referenced Tests, and in the 4th and 8th grades with the Terra Nova nationally Normed Referenced Tests.
All Nevada high school juniors will be evaluated in language and math (and science in 2001) with the High School Proficiency Exam to qualify for either a standard or advanced diploma.
Any students having difficulty on any parts of these tests should be fully remediated by their local school district. This will help provide early intervention for students needing help.
- Reduce the Dropout Rate:
Successful dropout prevention requires the elimination of "social promotion" - moving kids through grades regardless of their academic performance. This practice has become a very serious concern in education.
Students demonstrating difficulty in mastering academic skills must be successfully remediated as soon as possible before advancing on to the next grade level. Otherwise, they are just being set up for future failure to become dropouts.
- Promote the development and implementation of innovative alternative education programs such as Nova Net and other Internet systems. These programs provide an alternative for students looking for a different kind of education experience, which is more flexible in attendance hours.
Also, school districts should utilize mentoring programs, such as the successful co-ed "Learning for Life" program used by the Boy Scouts in Clark County and The Mentoring Center in Carson City. These programs reach out to children needing adult role models.
- Enhanced statewide teacher recruitment through :
Allowing retired experienced Nevada teachers to be rehired without penalizing them through their pensions.
Expanding the alternative teacher-licensing program to attract skilled professionals from other backgrounds into teaching.
- Accountability of schools and students through a valid High School Proficiency Exam: valid content, technical review, external review, administration manual
- Establish statewide Professional Development Centers for currently employed classroom teachers to improve their skills and enhance their knowledge of the new academic standards.
- The Nevada State Board of Education is the only elected body among the several appointed education councils and commissions. Therefore, the State Board of Education should have coordinating oversight of these groups, including: the Council to Establish Academic Standards, the Commission on Educational Technology, and the State Planning Commission for New Construction, Design, Maintenance and Repair of School Facilities.
My experience and commitment to improving public education has been demonstrated through 12 years of public service to the citizens of Carson City and the state of Nevada. I understand the issues involved in educational improvement. I'm dedicated to building better and safer schools throughout Nevada. I believe that our children deserve the very best education that we can provide for them.
I demonstrate the ability to achieve important educational goals by bringing people with varying points of view together to reach consensus on challenging issues.
I am very proud to be supported by Gov. Kenny Guinn who said "I have worked closely with Dave Cook during the past two years. I encourage you to support Dave in his re-election so he will have an opportunity to finish the great work he has started."
Also, the Nevada State Education Association and the teachers of Nevada have officially endorsed me.
Finally, community leaders, such as former assemblyman Bob Thomas of Carson City, support and believe in me.