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Nevada Department of Education: More Accountability Needed At Low-Performing Public Schools

The Nevada Board of Education has said it will "take action" if struggling schools fail to improve.

State leaders are looking at getting more aggressive with nine of the 51 schools around the state identified as “low-performers.”  

The Review-Journal reports:

The state has identified nine “priority schools” on the 51-school list. All but one shared in $34 million in federal School Improvement Grants over the past three years, but none improved their standing in the state’s one-to-five-star accountability system ratings.

“We obviously can’t go back and fix the past,” said board member Allison Serafin, calling for an accounting of how the grant money was spent and any effect it had.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Board President Elaine Wynn wants her fellow board members to send a clear message that they won’t accept the status quo.

The state’s Department of Education and the board does not regularly use their power to micromanage schools, but they can shutdown underperforming schools or turn them over to management organizations.

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Clark County School District Deputy Superintendent for Student Achievement Steve Canavero told KNPR’s State of Nevada the question is: Why is there a lack of significant improvement at these schools.

“What are the barriers to improving the outcomes for kids?” Canavero said.

He gave an example of Desert Pines High School, which has a less 60 percent graduation rate. It has had the lower rate for a long time.

Canavero said leaders have not had a timeline for improvement, but he believes there should be.

“Three years is enough time, under the new terms, to put in a backstop,” Canavero said.

He believes accountability and incentives can help low-performing schools. Accountability for the staff and students already at the school and incentives for good teachers and principals to move into struggling schools.

He also believes moving troubled schools into charter schools can be a viable option.  


Steve Canavero, Deputy Superintendent for Student Achievement, Clark County School District 

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