LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – Nevada’s governor stopped by a Las Vegas charter school on Thursday to tout his efforts to improve education across the state.
Republican Governor Joe Lombardo introduced the “Acing Accountability” framework, which establishes metrics of performance for districts.
“With this historic funding, however, comes unprecedented accountability,” Lombardo said at a news event at Mater Academy.
Lombardo joined by Nevada Superintendent of Public Instruction Jhone Ebert walked down the halls of Mater, a charter school located near Boulder Highway and Desert Inn Road.
He also sat down in a classroom sitting at eye level with constituents who were not even old enough to vote yet.
Lombardo, who considers himself the education governor, led the effort this latest legislative session to pour an additional $2.6 billion into public education.
“I won’t accept a lack of funding as an excuse for underperformance. I’ll be working with our State Superintendent to ensure our systems of accountability and transparency are robust and enforced,” Lombardo said.
One of the reasons he chose Mater Academy, Lombardo says, is to emphasize his position on school choice and that parents should have options.
Data from the Nevada Department of Education shows last year, for instance, only 27% of fourth to eighth-grade students in Clark County were considered proficient in math.
“It is not acceptable, we need to move now. Our children are phenomenal human beings who have the capacity to learn, and demonstrate their skill set, at a much higher level,” Superintendent Ebert said when I asked about that data point.
The governor also responded.
“It shows you what we’re doing is not working, correct? And then quite often we come up with an excuse as a result of crisis,” Lombardo said.
He said he hopes to pass legislation that holds local school leaders responsible.
“We have full intent. Myself and my administration, to develop some of those measurement tools, and the discipline tools. You know, the negative consequence tools, to present to the next legislative session,” he said.
The Clark County Education Association was present at the event and says it supports the governor’s accountability measures.
“We need to make some serious gains when it comes to our student outcomes,” CCEA President Marie Neisess said. “We’re not afraid of accountability. But my biggest concern is we cannot make those measurable growths without a licensed teacher in every classroom.”
State leaders say they expect improvements in student outcomes within the next two years.
CCSD released a statement regarding the governor’s visit:
“The Clark County School District welcomes the Governor’s effort to provide measures of academic progress across the state. Many of the measures announced Thursday align with goals and expectations outlined in the District’s five-year strategic plan. With funding from the federal government, new math, science, and English Language Arts (ELA) curriculum was purchased District-wide for the first time in a decade. Student performance in mathematics improved by two percentage points in the latest NSPF results.“
CCSD Superintendent Jesus Jara also released a statement:
“We welcome Governor Lombardo’s call for accountability, which we’ve been implementing since launching our Focus 2024 Strategic Plan five years ago when I first arrived. Starting in the classroom, CCSD staff continue to focus on student-centered instruction and outcomes to lift our students out of the pandemic-related declines we–like every school district–have experienced. Those who criticize our results must realize they are criticizing our teachers who deal with unprecedented issues to educate our kids, including the ongoing effects of a worldwide pandemic.
Now that the state has established metrics, we will continue rebounding our students to produce improved outcomes. The District increased academic rigor and pacing to combat educational impacts following the pandemic and expects to show improvement on these standards in the current school year.
While the Board and Superintendent are ultimately accountable for results, accountability expectations must exist at every level, and the District will work with bargaining units to ensure that every employee understands the expectations outlined in state law and District policies.“