The Role of Unions in Public Education

The Clark County School District has been locked in a bitter battle with the county teachers union over contract stipulations this year. Earlier this summer an arbitrator ruled the district had the money to pay for pay increases to teachers. That decision forced the district to issue more than 400 pink slips.

The Libertarian Nevada Policy Research Institute has also tried to drive a wedge between teachers and the unions by urging teachers to opt out of their union contracts. As the district struggles to keep classroom sizes from getting bigger, what role does the union play in making sure teachers are protected? We talk with Clark County Education Association President, Ruben Murillo.

Correction: The 59.37 percent graduation rate figure cited for Clark County Schools in the program is a four year cohort graduation rate. The measurement accounts for movement of all students entering high school in a given year and determines how many graduate with a regular high school diploma in four years, adjusting for the students who transfer in and out. Program Host Luis Hernandez cited this figure as the graduation rate for the 2011-2012 school year and said there was a discrepancy between the state and county figures. Clark County School District has made a preliminary estimate that the graduation rate for 2011-2012 is 65 percent. There is, in fact, no discrepancy between graduation rates calculated by the State of Nevada and the Clark County School District.

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Ruben Murillo, President, Clark County Education Association

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