I hope readers will join me in voting for a change on the State Board of Education. I am voting for Barbara Myers because she makes sense!
She is supportive of standards for all children in Nevada but she believes those have to be well written and should be approved or disapproved by the state board based on quality.
Currently, the State Board of Education may not modify or disapprove the standards. They must approve them as written by the Council to Establish Academic Standards in Public Schools. In 1999, the Legislature made this council permanent. Mrs. Myers believes this is wrong for our children.
In the minutes of the State Board of Education regular meeting of June 9, a clearly, poorly-written standard for computer and technology was passed by the state board. Dave Cook, our incumbent, voted in favor of the poorly-written standards and stated that he was voting in favor but "with a strong statement of protest, this is an inappropriate standard that needs to be corrected as soon as possible." He, along with five other board members, approved the standards because that state Attorney General's Office has told the board they must approve the standards. Two state board members did vote no and two abstained, but not Mr. Cook. He went along with the "group."
Is this what we want for our children? It isn't what I want.
Mrs. Meyers also supports high school proficiency testing but points out that in Nevada, there is no current requirement for every high school student to take algebra and geometry and yet, the 2000 high school proficiency test (available in the Internet at www.nsn.k12.nv.us), has both algebra and geometry questions on it. Mrs. Myers feels that this type of test is not measuring proficiency if every student has not had the opportunity to take algebra and geometry. She would prefer to see a test that isn't only multiple choice but includes such things as actually demonstrating the ability to balance a checkbook or allows students to write responses that demonstrate thinking skills for math problems.
What if we include five or six questions on the proficiency test in French and five or six more in Spanish? If every student hasn't had the chance to take French and Spanish, they are not going to be able to show proficiency in these subjects. Mrs. Myers is right and, if you've heard her speak, you know she is.
Mrs. Myers believes in teacher training and testing. However, when she came to Nevada and needed to pass a test to be credentialed as a teacher of language handicapped children, she was given a test that was written for Pennsylvania and included questions about Pennsylvania law. When she questioned why, she found out that teacher licensing issues are handled by an appointed commission and that the State Board of Education has no power over teacher licensing. She feels this lack of consistency has spilled over into tests like the high school proficiency test. She states, "If it is important to test a student or a teacher, then it should be important enough to spend time writing a test that is relevant to Nevada and reflects what Nevadans feel should be tested, not what Pennsylvania thinks should be tested."
It is definitely time for a change. Please consider voting for consistent, well-thought-out reforms for our school children and vote for Barbara Myers.