Getting in the game
It’s been quite a month already!
I’m happy that the District and the Clark County Education Association were able to come together last week to submit a competitive application for another round of Race to the Top District (RTT-D) funding from the federal government.
If the District is approved for the $40 million we requested, the money will go directly into our classrooms to fund new technology initiatives and hire staff to work with our growing population of English Language Learners. While it was widely publicized that union representatives were initially hesitant to give their signature to the application, I am pleased that, with Governor Brian Sandoval’s leadership, we were all able to come to the table and act in the best interest of our students.
With the assistance of the teachers' union, the District now has a strong application that has the support of Mayor Carolyn Goodman, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Congresswoman Shelley Berkley, Congressman Joe Heck, and Superintendent of Public Instruction Jim Guthrie. We received a lot of feedback from our teachers, principals and parents - more than 6,000 people gave their input - so this was truly a community effort.
I think we can take away two important lessons.
First, as I’ve written about before, change starts with “we.” We are all Nevadans who care about the growth of our students. We may not agree on the details, but we all agree on the destination: A high-performing, high-achieving school district. As long as we all remain at the table, we can accomplish great things for our students. The compromise reached last week on our Race to the Top application was evidence of that.
Finally, I hope last week’s events signal a long and productive relationship of cooperation between the District and the union leaders who represent our teachers.
Competing for Race to the Top dollars is in our students’ best interests. If we are to go from the fastest-growing district in the nation to the fastest-improving one, we need funding to hire more staff and increase our technology offerings to individualize curriculum. We can’t win the game if we’re not in the game. I'm happy to say we are in the game, and I’m pleased that we are taking the field with the teachers' union.
Dwight D. Jones