Today is the first day of school for the Clark County School District (CCSD). When we stopped by Gibson Elementary School in Henderson this morning, we witnessed dozens of parents dropping their children off as teachers were preparing for class. Everyone seemed to be ready for the school year.
Yet as parents, students, and teachers were ready for the new school year, the state and CCSD didn't seem to be. CCSD now has a teacher shortage. And on top of this, not all students have the materials they need. Textbook shortages have been reported across the valley. Many of the textbooks that are available are outdated. And English Language Learner (ELL) programs remain limited.
You know what can alleviate all these problems? The Education Initiative (TEI).
At Gibson Elementary School, local business owners and educators shared the reasons why they're supporting TEI. GymCats owner Cassie Rice stated her business is among the 13% of Nevada businesses that will have to pay the corporate margin tax under TEI. And she's perfectly fine with that, as she knows the value of public education to our community and our economy.
Lisa Muntean and Tom Wellman are CCSD teachers. They experience firsthand the challenges of educating so many kids on a shoestring budget. They know our kids need the extra $800,000,000 per year TEI will provide Nevada public schools. And they know our economy will benefit greatly (to the tune of at least $630 million added to Nevada's GDP in 2016 alone) from the additional investment in public education.
TEI's opponents have thrown just about everything (including the kitchen sink) at it. They tried to spin it away at Four Seasons. They tried setting up the "Esmeralda Straw Man" against it. They even tried various parliamentary tricks to stop the Nevada State Democratic Party from endorsing it. Yet each time they try to spin TEI away, they reveal something about themselves.
Have they been to any CCSD schools lately? Do they know anyone in a local public school? Don't they realize just how "grossly underfunded" Nevada schools are?
It's easy for them to make their philosophical case against TEI from their guard gated and gold plated bubble. And it's easy for them to complain about TEI's "flaws" when they've repeatedly failed to provide a realistic alternative. What seems to be incredibly difficult for them to admit is that they have no real alternative to TEI. They offer Nevada nothing but the same hot air and empty rhetoric that have failed this state for far too long.
At Gibson Elementary School this morning, we saw children going to school. We saw them enter a place where they encounter new ideas, new knowledge, and new opportunities. For far too long, we've been failing these children by failing to maintain public education. It's long past time for us to stop failing them.