The Nevada Succeeds Charter, and its accompanying bylaws, provide guidance and structure for Nevada Succeeds as we evaluate and consider individual projects while ensuring our organization’s mission does not stray over time. It guides what we do and directs our focus, and that is especially true during Nevada’s Biennial Legislative Session. Occurring for 4 months once every two years, the Legislative Session is an intense time as ideas are debated and policies are assessed for their potential. During the Session we maintain a full-time presence in Carson City and act as a clearinghouse for information relating to education policy. We provide high quality research and policy information to elected officials as we keep them focused on improving student outcomes and doing what is best for kids in Nevada.
While we track a wide swath of legislative issues during the session, below are the pieces of legislation that we are actively advocating on and why we think they are so critical to ensuring better student outcomes for Nevada’s kids:
Ensuring that all students have the support to Read by Grade 3
This bill sets up a strong intervention system to ensure that every student in Nevada has the necessary support in school so that he or she can read on grade level by the end of 3rd grade. Retention would be set up as a last resort starting in the 2019-20 school year once all Nevadans would have access to full-day Kindergarten. This policy has attracted bipartisan support and $27.5 million in funding from the Governor’s budget.
After the defeat of a similar policy in 2013, Nevada Succeeds began organizing the community around this issue. In March of 2014 we hosted a literacy summit at UNLV with experts from across the country to talk about the importance of reading proficiently by 3rd grade, an event attended by over 200 community leaders. We spent much of the 2014 interim-legislative period working with legislators to understand and build further support for the policy, and in February of 2015 we hosted a legislative academy on literacy that attracted 40 of Nevada’s 63 legislators. During the bill’s hearings in legislative committee Nevada Succeeds has been very vocal in our support of this policy and are working hard to see it passed and promptly signed into law by the end of this session.
The Great Teaching and Leading Fund
This bill is based on research that Nevada Succeeds conducted with the Kenny Guinn Center for Policy Priorities on professional development in the summer of 2014. It would increase professional development funding by $9.8 million over the biennium and allow stakeholders to compete for funding under the direction of the Nevada State Board of Education. It would also create a strong evaluation system for professional development in Nevada, a feature that is currently lacking in the current system. By transforming the culture and systems of professional development in our state, we believe that we can improve the quality of Nevada’s teachers and leaders and thereby improve student outcomes.
Defeated the repeal of Nevada’s Academic Content Standards (Common Core)
These bills, which would have repealed the Nevada Academic Content Standards, would have undermined the great work that is currently occurring in Nevada’s classrooms as our teachers raise the rigor and expectations for all students. Nevada Succeeds lead a coalition of stakeholders including teachers, parents, students, districts, charter schools, business leaders, and other community members to successfully defeat these bills and maintain Nevada’s high standards.
We want to ensure that every school is set up with conditions to succeed in an accountable, efficient manner. In CCSD, we have been helping lead their Return on Investment Committee to ensure that dollars are well spent in the district. With charter schools, we have been working on SB509, which makes changes to ensure that charter schools are operating efficiently and in the best interest of Nevada’s students.