Fourth Grade Proficiency
% of students meeting standard (2)
#49 Spending per student
#40 Chances for success
#50 in ACT scores with an average of 19.8
#1 for largest class size.
When I first ran for office, education was my top priority. As a classroom teacher I saw the realities that our
students and staff face on a daily basis and decided enough was enough. I was tired of the running jokes about Nevada
education being the top of every bad list and the bottom of every good list. Our children and our community deserved
better. Ever since I announced my candidacy in 2021, fixing our public school system has been my guiding star. That
work is certainly not finished, but we are making important strides in that direction.
One of the most important things we can do to support public education is to increase funding to our schools. Nevada has traditionally ranked at the bottom of national education funding and it shows in our dilapidated schools and overcrowded classrooms. During the 82nd Session I made investing in our public schools a top priority and I was proud to help pass the largest increase in the education budget in Nevada history. We allocated a record $2.6 billion more in education funding last session! This has translated into a 26% increase in the Washoe County School District budget and a 20% increase in pay for our hard working teachers and education support professionals across the county. In addition to that investment, we also secured a record $140 million for early childhood education, which is critical in setting our children on a path to success. Our work is far from over and we absolutely need to keep investing in our schools so we can reach optimal funding, but I am proud of what we accomplished on behalf of our public schools last session.
Just as importantly, I helped to stop a reckless scheme by the Governor to siphon away $500 million from our public schools to finance a private school voucher scheme. I have said from the very beginning that I will always defend our public schools and I have done just that. We cannot invest $2.6B more in public education, and then remove $500M from public education to give to private institutions in the same Session. Taking public money out of our already underfunded public schools and handing it to unaccountable private schools hurts our communities. Public education is the great equalizer and the cornerstone of our democracy. I will proudly fight against these voucher schemes every Session, no matter what clever name they may be using at the moment.
In addition to these investments in our schools, I also helped pass legislation to make our schools safer and more welcoming spaces for both educators and students. This included bills meant to protect our students and staff from violent and severely disruptive students by removing those students and providing them with the specialized support they clearly need. Other bills included allowing students to wear cultural regalia at their high school graduation, opting all students into more rigorous curriculum standards, reducing redundant testing, and ensuring staff, students, and families are updated regularly during an emergency event at a school.
I personally sponsored several bills meant to make our teachers more effective and our diplomas more meaningful. These included bills to:
- Address overcrowded classrooms by reducing class size.
- Make our high school exit exam a true reflection of the skills students need to be successful.
- Remove bureaucratic burdens from teachers’ workload and eliminate redundant paperwork.
- Ensure our curriculum is providing real world skills to our students.
Not all of these bills made it through the legislative process, but I remain committed to improving our schools and will absolutely continue to advocate for all of these critical issues next session.
Whether you have children in Nevada schools or not, this is an issue that affects all of us. A society cannot continue to function without well-educated citizens to keep it running. We need workers, doctors, teachers, and leaders who are ready to take on the challenges of the future and lead our community into a bright future. That all starts in the classroom and I will continue to fight to ensure they have the resources they need to help our children and our community thrive.
What have I done?
In my first session I introduced and supported legislation to:
- Implement hard caps on class sizes to ensure our children are getting the one-on-one instruction they deserve.
- Ensure that Nevada diplomas mean something and stop the practice of passing students along regardless of whether they are prepared for success in life.
- Increase education funding by 26% in Washoe County.
- Ensure that all education personnel — from teachers to bus drivers — are paid a living wage in line with their training and education.
- Take bureaucratic paperwork off the plates of our teachers so they can focus on helping our children learn and thrive.
What do we still need to do?
Since not every education bill that was introduced was passed into law, we still have more work to do.
- Increase funding to the national average. Even with our increased budgets we still have a ways to go to get to the optimal funding as recommended by the Commission on School Funding.
- Lower our class sizes, which are still the largest in the nation.
- Continue to ensure our diplomas are meaningful and our students are learning the critical skills they need for real-world success.
- Take more unnecessary paperwork off the plates of our teachers and increase the time they have for our children.
- Defend our public schools from schemes to siphon away public money to unaccountable private schools.
1. Education outcomes: https://doe.nv.gov/uploadedFiles/ndedoenvgov/content/Boards_Commissions_Councils/State_Board_of_Education/2022/July/Guinn_Center_Nevada_Education_Rankings_Phase_I_and_II_Report_June_2022.pdf
2. K-12 Education in Nevada: Overview and Statistics, Legislative Council Bureau
3. Average ACT Scores by State. https://worldpopulationreview.com/state-rankings/average-act-score-by-state
4. Study: Average class sizes in Nevada are largest in the US. https://apnews.com/article/191224822bff477c927c05efa11da0df
It's time we elect a teacher to fix our schools!
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