Education Secretary: Nevada Needs to Invest More in Education - 8 News NOW

Sec. Duncan: Nevada Needs to Invest More in Education

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Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at Bracken Elementary School Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at Bracken Elementary School

LAS VEGAS -- Education Secretary Arne Duncan visited Las Vegas Wednesday, looking at several successful schools in the Clark County School District.

Secretary Duncan said Nevada can do better when it comes to investing in public education for kindergarten through 12th grade.

He made those comments during a roundtable discussion with local principals and CCSD Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky at Bracken Elementary School.

Duncan made it clear he wants to see more Nevada students succeeding in more schools like Bracken Elementary, which is a five-star blue-ribbon campus.

However, at the roundtable, principals from much lower performing schools were there to make their voices heard, including Tim Adams, the principal of Martinez Elementary School, which at one time was a one-star school.

"Resources are important. Teachers are important, materials," Adams said. "If there is no funding available, it is more difficult."

Adams brought up the lack of resources at the principals' roundtable.

Secretary Duncan agrees that Nevada, both at the state and local levels, can do better to invest in public education.

"Some folks think education is an expense that can be cut during difficult times, and I absolutely reject that," Duncan said.

David Wilson, who is the principal at two-star Chaparral High School, agrees that more funding is critical.

He says his campus cannot rely on financial support from parents because many of them are low income. He hopes Congress can also step up to help schools financially.

"Decisions are made at a federal level that impact us. It is nice to have a voice," Wilson said.

With more than 80 Clark County elementary, middle and high schools still ranked at one or two stars in students performance, Duncan says he wants to see more commitment from the district to raise achievement.

"We either invest in the front end or end up locking many of them up in the back end," Duncan said.

For principals like Tim Adams, who over the past year boosted Martinez Elementary from a one to a three-star school, funding helps but he also has another weapon.

"The secret is good teachers, quality teachers with high expectation for all students," Adams said.

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