Perkins says state law should take priority over federal education rules |

Perkins says state law should take priority over federal education rules

Brad Horn/Nevada Appeal Assembly Speaker Richard Perkins, D-Henderson, waves to Bordewich--Bray Elementary School students sitting in the balcony during session in the Assembly Chambers at the Legislature on Thursday.

Speaker Richard Perkins, D-Henderson, called on the Ways and Means Committee on Thursday to pass legislation reclaiming Nevada’s control over public education.

AB562 praises the goals of the No Child Left Behind act, but says Nevada has its own laws setting educational standards which should take precedence. And it calls for a definitive study to determine whether the requirements of NCLB are fully funded stating that, if not, Nevada’s standards should be given top priority.

He said a recent study estimates Nevada is $38 million a year short of full funding for those federal mandates.

“We need to make sure we spend our precious dollars on programs we decide are best for this state, not Washington,” Perkins told the committee. “No Child Left Behind is a classic example of the federal government trying to inflict its will on us without the funding.”

He termed the legislation created by the Bush Administration “an unprecedented expansion of the federal role in public education,” saying control over public schools properly belongs with the states and local school boards, not Washington, D.C.

Assemblywoman Chris Giunchigliani, D-Las Vegas, backed Perkins saying, “the federal government, in an attempt to make sure no child was left behind, superseded states’ rights.”

They pointed out Nevada passed its education reform law mandating testing of students, teacher education and qualifications in 1997 – several years before the federal act.

AB562 contains $200,000 to fund the study of NCLB and its fiscal effect on Nevada’s school districts.

n Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.