Nevada imported a woman named Jana Wilcox Lavin to run its “Achievement School District.” She is not an educator. She has a degree in marketing. The Nevada ASD is modeled on Tennessee’s failed ASD, which took over the state’s lowest performing schools and promised to vault them to the state’s top 25% in only five years and failed to do so (most are still in the bottom 5%). Lavin is employed by the United Way at the same time that she plans for the Nevada ASD. She ran charters in the Tennessee ASD and holds it up as a model. Is this what is called an “urban myth” or is it just a hoax? How many teachers and principals will be fired, how many charters will scoop up millions of dollars, and how many will succeed or fail? Place your bets, folks, it is Nevada.
Angie Sullivan, who teaches in a low-income school in Clark County (Las Vegas) writes:
The unfairness of the Achievement School District law became crystal clear during a discussion with Jana Wilcox Lavin.
The law requires a list which includes the under-performing schools in the bottom 5%.
It is apparent that Nevada’s under-performing schools are mainly charters and rural schools. 70% of the under-performing Nevada schools are charters and rural schools.
However the law ONLY allows a public school to be selected for charter take-over.
Severely underperforming charters are not allowed to be taken over by the Achievement School District.
This law is a direct attack on public schools while obviously ignoring the cancerous and tragic Nevada charters.
Also, rural schools which fill the under-performing list will most likely never be selected because there simply is zero appetite by charter schools to take over a rural school. This made me laugh inside to learn -having grown up in the rural communities of Lovelock, Winnemucca, and McDermitt. I would love to see an outsider go into those places and take over the school. I picture the community chasing the outsider out of town with a shotgun.
We also had a frank discussion about the alternative schools – 3 are on the list. These schools fill a specific need in our communities. Desert Oasis for instance is actually a school which serves a unique community of high school students and adult students. Teachers there teach could teach a 90 year old adult student in the same classroom as a 16 year old student. While the data looks terrible for this school, the school is likely to be the most effective we have at actually graduating students. Literally no other school serves the communities Desert Oasis takes on. The Desert Oasis teacher who attended the BEC meeting spoke about helping a student graduate who lied about his age to serve in the American Military during World War II.
For obvious reasons, Jana Wilcox Lavin will be looking into the possibility of the Nevada State School Board moving the Alternative Schools onto a different system because it is not appropriate to grade them as we currently do or include them on this list.
We had a frank discussion about the lists.
Apparently the multiple failure lists which caused 6,000 teachers to panic were produced by CCSD. I’m not exactly sure who or why this destruction and disruption occurs year after year. I would like to investigate this further and ask for the resignation of whomever takes on this task of scaring 140 school staffs – unnecessarily. Media needs to be aware of this scare tactic. Next year, when these lists are published, we all need to ask frankly if it is a “real” list or a scare tactic by the district. If it is not the “real” list – teachers need to stand against this harassment.
Frankly, CCSD blames the Nevada State School Board, I have asked during multiple interviews. Jana Wilcox Lavin stated the only list she has created is the under-performing 5% as required by legislators. And a Nevada State School Board member claims their hands are tied by the legislators.
Everyone blames someone else while public school teachers are bullied and threatened.
Bottom line: There is a list of 47 underperforming schools but the only schools seriously being considered are the 17 regular public schools in Vegas within the urban core. 30% of the schools are targeted. And it will most likely be Limited English Language students who will have their schools taken over.
Nothing will be done about the numerous charters which have extreme failing track records.
Nothing will be done about failing rural schools.
It will be brown children in Vegas with limited English who will be experimented on by the Achievement School District.
Jana Wilcox Lavin claimed the Achievement School District has been successful other places. I have read thousands of pages of University research which refute those claims. I regularly communicate with activist teachers all over the nation who refute those claims.
I follow this unfair and wasteful charter movement very closely – the success of charters nationwide has been very, very limited. The success of charters in Nevada is almost zero. As I have noted, Nevada charters are best at segregation by race, money, and religion.
This is the most blatantly unfair privatization legislation ever implemented. It targets ONLY public schools in urban Vegas and blatantly ignores all the other school failures in the state.
This law is not about helping Nevada kids. It is about public school privatization.
And a very wise BEC Meeting attendee stated: No one ever considers how many bodies will be damaged as we make these changes.
I am tired of being one of the bodies.
No one in power listens to the people directly affected. Teachers, Parents, and Students have zero voice.
Communities which do not want their neighborhood school to participate in this unfair take-over need to stand up for their schools – like West Prep and Tom Williams.