I’ll start with a couple of public service announcements. First: Carol Del Carlo, President of the Incline/Crystal Bay Federated Republican Women, reports that she and several of her neighbors have had Romney yard signs stolen from their properties. She filed a police report and was advised by the responding deputy that theft of any object from private property is both larceny and trespass and they will arrest any perpetrator.
Second: Washoe County Roads Department has publicly warned that campaign signs in or on public property are illegal. Street rights of way are favorite places for such “bootleg” signs. If found they will be removed and can be retrieved from County Roads on Hwy 431. To me, if people are running for public office and don’t know how to obey the law, I wouldn’t vote for them.
Now to today’s subject. Governor Sandoval was elected on an education plank that included accountability, flexibility, an end to social promotion, an end to teacher tenure, parent choice in education, incentives for superior teachers and schools, local control over school funding, 100% of third graders able to read, increased advanced placement courses, privatization of functions capable of such, reduction of post secondary remedial courses, more courses for gifted students, dual enrollments for joint high school and college credit, faster student assessments, tax incentives for corporations that provide student tuitions (bypasses Constitutional ban on vouchers for parochial school students), more empowerment schools, expanded virtual and distance learning and an expansion of public-private partnerships.
It’s about time. Over half of all state spending in Nevada is for K-12 education. Yet, according to the US Dept. of Education, between 1960 and 2008, inflation-adjusted per pupil spending in Nevada increased from $3,144 to $9,015. Over that same period, test scores have remained flat and graduation rates have declined.
Is Sandoval making any progress? Even with Democrat control of the legislature, Gov. Sandoval has signed into law measures restricting teacher tenure, overhauling Nevada’s charter school laws, making the state schools’ superintendent a gubernatorial appointee, among others. Just think what he could do with a GOP senate or assembly.
The Governor would be pleased to find that the eLearning Café, right here in Incline Village, incorporates and implements every one of his education goals every day. Founded in February 2011 by Dr. Kathryn Kelly, this innovative, non-profit educational institution is a quiet, comfortable environment for students of all ages to study, read, play chess, surf the internet or just “hang.”
But despite the relaxing décor, the business of the Café is education, primarily through a process called “blended learning.” This involves finding the best on-line courses and matching them to students’ needs under the nurturing of a trained mentor/instructor.
Serving the varied needs of nearly 300 local students, Dr. Kelly works closely with both public and private school administrators to furnish, for full academic credit, the curricula and courses which, for any number of reasons, are needed to assure timely promotion and graduation. This year, eight Incline High School students owed their on-time graduation to the eLearning Café.
What’s next for the Café? Accredited courses and qualified teachers cost money. While many parents can pay the at-cost fees required to assure that their children excel in this innovative environment, many simply cannot afford even those modest costs. So eLearning has applied to the state of Nevada for approval of an Incline Village charter school. The plan is to implement these innovative educational services and methods at no cost to full-time students who find they can achieve better with the individually tailored curricula and close personal attention characteristic of blended learning.
Take a look at Incline/Crystal Bay, Governor Sandoval. You’re on the right track.
(Jim Clark is President of Republican Advocates and has served on the Washoe County & Nevada State GOP Central Committees; he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)