Jared Fisher’s Education Plan for Nevada
Engaging the Community and Making Our Schools More Equitable
As governor I will make education Nevada’s top priority. It is not acceptable that Nevada ranks as the second-most policy friendly environment for small businesses in the country while K-12 education continually ranks in last place.
Every citizen, business, organization, and community leader must make education a personal and organizational commitment.
I am concerned that our education system is focused too heavily on instituting high stakes testing, narrowing curriculums and blaming teachers. Nevada can—and should—have one of the best education systems in the country; one that matches our state’s great progress. We need to support our schools and educators so they can give every student in Nevada the opportunity to succeed. This will be my top priority as Nevada’s governor.
Great public schools are the only way to ensure that our state’s progress impacts everyone. However, I see too many Nevada companies go out of state to fill their high-paying jobs because we aren’t preparing our students for the demands of today’s workforce. I want all of Nevada’s children, regardless of background, to receive the skills and education they need so that they can secure the great jobs our state is creating. As a small business owner and a father of four children in public schools in Las Vegas, I know first hand the talent I need to hire a good employee and the education my kids need to be one of those good employees. This gap must be closed.
We are leaving some of Nevada’s children behind, especially the ones that need us most. Nevada currently has significant achievement gaps. 29 percent of Nevada fourth graders scored at or above proficient in reading and only 26 percent of Nevada eighth graders scored at or above proficient in math. For African-American students, those proficiency scores drop to 14 percent in reading at fourth grade and eight percent in math at eighth grade. For Hispanic students, those proficiency scores averaged 19 percent in reading at fourth grade and 16 percent in math at eighth grade. Our students of color are performing well below their white classmates. I want all of our students, regardless of background, to attain the skills and education they need to succeed.
What happens outside of the classroom impacts the performance of our students and contributes to the inequities in Nevada’s schools. Ensuring every Nevada student is ready for higher education, a career, or both includes solutions beyond the classroom.
My education plan will include:
- Empowering families to engage in their child’s education: I will help support school districts’ efforts to expand programs that involve families and support their engagement in our schools.
- It’s how you spend the money that matters. School budgets are probably the most talked about issues surrounding the topic of education. Analyzing the Nevada Plan and Weighted Student Funding will be my first priority. I will first look at the efficiency of the education budgets for the state by employing my proposed SWEEP Program—Statewide Executive Efficiency Program. Based on this analysis we can begin to look at the way to better fund schools. You cannot say “if I put in x more dollars, I’ll get y results” if we don’t know if the current dollars are earning a positive return on investment. If we keep doing more of the same, we will get more of the same.
- ESA school vouchers will help facilitate a competitive school program and I will support ESAs so long as we have a strategic long-term plan to improve our public schools.
- The reorganization of the state’s largest school district, Clark County, has my full support. Budget allocations, School Performance Plans, hiring and curriculum decisions are best made at the closest point to the student. I would like to explore this decentralization further with smaller school districts, such as organizing our municipalities with Ward or Commission districts.
- Offering two-generation learning opportunities for parents through after-school classes—including ESL, GED, personal finance and technology classes.
- Hands-on apprenticeships, trades training and internships should be core to the educational experience. Nevada has a highly-trained union workforce and I will seek programs that unite the unions with schools to implement trades training. Investing in technical and trade education will trigger interest in the STEM fields. I will continue to support dual enrollment opportunities that allow high school students to participate in college courses, career readiness courses and the CTE programs.
- Support Students: Each student enters school with a diverse and unique set of challenges and strengths. From food insecurity to social-emotional health, Nevada students face a number of barriers. We need to support our school districts to ensure families and children in their community can access the wraparound services they need. Providing access to services that address out-of-classroom factors will help students and teachers focus on learning.
- Support Teachers: Teachers are the driving force in our education system. I will look at salaries, personal development and accountability in the treatment of our teachers. As a businessman, I need to understand why a consultant or central administrator earns more than a teacher.
- I support school competition. Public schools should be competing to be the best in their neighborhood. Charter schools and private schools should also be striving to be the best. But with school choice we must address the supply and demand of choice. Nevada has 492,416 students statewide, 664 public schools, 175 private schools and 38 charter schools. Our public schools must be competitive and on par with the other school choices to accommodate an effective school choice program.
Education solutions are complex, and they are as much a moral issue as they are a government issue. As a state, we must place education at the top of all our priority lists.