Archives for category: Nevada

Good news from Nevada, conveyed by the Rogers Foundation, which supports public schools.

Las Vegas, NV – Beverly Rogers and Rory Reid, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Rogers Foundation, are celebrating a Nevada Supreme Court decision that has once again halted a constitutional initiative attempting to establish an extreme and unprecedented school voucher scheme in Nevada.

“This is a huge win for students and Nevada families,” said Beverly Rogers, “This would have been detrimental for the public schools our community relies on, leading to even bigger class sizes and massive cuts. It’s a shame these groups want to sacrifice our public schools in favor of discriminatory and unaccountable vouchers. We are glad the courts once again ruled in our favor.”

The Nevada Supreme Court held, in Education Freedom PAC v. Reid, that the PAC’s voucher scheme failed in several key ways. It failed to propose a revenue source to fund the scheme’s substantial costs to taxpayers. Its description of effect was “deceptive and misleading,” failing to inform voters of the impact on the state’s budget and underestimating the cost of the scheme. Lastly, the initiative attempted to improperly direct future legislatures to enact certain laws, impeding their authority. The Court enjoined the PAC from moving forward with the initiative.

“It’s clear this group was trying to push its controversial scheme by deceptively mischaracterizing its impact on our public schools,” said Rory Reid, “Nevada’s highest court has halted their effort, rightly finding the public deserved to know the full truth.”

This failed constitutional initiative would have been one of the most extreme voucher measures in the country, putting taxpayers on the hook for at least $300 million to support the wealthy already enrolled in private schools. This would have resulted in a significant tax hike, deep cuts to public district and charter schools, and the reduction of critical community services.

“These groups will never stop and neither can we. There is a clear effort to destroy our public schools, the only system dedicated to serving all students. We cannot let them. We will not let them. And we will continue to fight on behalf of Nevada’s students and their families,” said Mrs. Rogers.

About Educate Nevada Now

The Rogers Foundation, a Nevada leader in support of public education, joined with local, state and national partners to launch Educate Nevada Now (ENN) in 2015. The organization is committed to school finance reform and improved educational opportunities and outcomes for all Nevada public school children, especially English language learners, gifted and talented students, students with disabilities or other special needs, and low-income students.

More information about ENN can be found at

Our mailing address is:
701 S. 9th Street
Las Vegas, NV 89101

Tom Ultican, retired teacher of advanced mathematics and physics in California, is now a significant chronicler of the Destroy Public Education movement. He attended the recent national conference of the Network for Public Education in Philadelphia and recapitulates the excitement we shared at being in person after a 2-year hiatus.

After every conference, attendees say, “This was the best one yet.” They enjoy meeting people who are doing the same work to fight privatization of their public schools. By the end of the conference, attendees say they feel energized, hopeful, and happy to know that they are not alone.

I urge you to read Tom’s post. You will get a sense of the embarrassment of riches available to attendees.

I should add that the Nebraska Save Our Schools group shared the Phyllis Bush Award for Grassroots Activism. Nebraska is one of the few states that has managed to protect its public schools and keep out both charters and vouchers, despite being a Red State.

The Pastors for Texas Children, a co-winner of the award, has repeatedly blocked vouchers in the Texas Legislature and has consistently fought for funding for public schools. PTC has opened chapters in other Red states, where they mobilize clergy to support public schools.

A high point for me was interviewing “Little Stevie” Van Zandt, a legendary rock star and actor (“The Sopranos”), who is dedicated to getting the arts into schools, not as an extra, but across the curriculum. we had a wonderful conversation. He has funded lesson plans based on rock and roll, available free at his website TeachRock.

All of the general sessions were taped. I will post them when they become available.

Watch this short video and learn who is promoting and funding the attacks on “critical race theory.”

Very few of its critics can define CRT. Most seem to think it means teaching about racism today. They prefer to believe that racism ended with slavery. They are wrong.

Numerous states have passed laws banning the teaching of critical race theory, even though they can’t define what it is.

It’s meant to squelch all teaching about racism, past and present.

P.S.: the original post had some grammatical errors. I apologize. I wrote it on my cell phone while traveling in an Amtrak train. Forgive my poor editing.

Angie Sullivan teaches in a Title 1 elementary school in Las Vegas, Nevada (Clark County). She frequently sends letters to every legislator in the state about the need to fund schools like hers adequately and the dismal failure of charter schools.

She responded to a post that featured an interview with Jennifer Berkshire, who predicted that some states would phase out public schools in the next few years.

Sullivan responded:

There would have been a time I would have said this will never happen. Public Schools are such an American Insitution. They are protected by laws.

Now I know charter schools are built to go around the laws. Our Nevada Constitution states one district one county. But charters claim they are not a district. And when necessary they are not even a school. The beauty of the EMO/CMO makes them slippery too. They are often a combination for-profit/non-profit. What law can apply to all of the above: a non-profit, managed by a for-profit management corporation which can then also take advantage of all public school resources and tax advantages, while also applying for all the small business grants and money.

Nevada never got the immediate overnight conversion Elaine Wynn and her reformers wanted. That was too quick and shocking. The ASD grabbing 30 schools at a time did not work. [Elaine Wynn is chair of the state Board of Education and wife of a major casino owner.]

So neoliberals have settled for a slow and steady 5 or 6 charters a year. Along with adding to charter chains by grade level every year – 100 students here and 100 students there.

Jana Wilcox-Lavin uses the $22 million in grant money to grease wheels and find favor. Rebecca Feiden is one of the most powerful women in the state. She grants charters; She refuses charters. Rebecca gives some chance after chance after chance to start their charter business. Others, she stops dead in their tracks. They both inherited a dysfunctional and failing charter business. The Charter Authority is still mired in failing charters – failing financially, failing academically, and failing to enroll diversity. Charters in Nevada are obvious segregation and white flight. There is limited appetite to serve poor students.

Mayors in Clark County seem to think running a school is easy. The pandemic allowed them to use education money to offer micro-charters. This seems to have whet some appetites to own a district of their own.

Mayor Goodman of the City of Las Vegas wants a charter. For some unknown reason she paired up with the EMO TNTP (Michelle Rhee’s Group). She signed on the who’s who of education reform. The City of Las Vegas is now in the school business. Interestingly enough Mayor Goodman was successful at running an expensive private school. She does know education. She has zero experience running a school for diverse poor students. She is about to get a wake-up call. Cedric Creer was only voice of reason when this was discussed. He has the failing Agassi, Rainbow, and 100 Academies in his area – he warned the City Council not to go into the school business. Those charters have had few successes and much more failure. Turnover is constant both teachers and students. Mayor Goodman is about to learn that loads of donations and cash from the City of Las Vegas will not be enough if you let Michelle Rhee’s teaching hating group abuse labor. Interestingly enough, Goodman will retire and the City Council will then run this charter school.

Things I did not think were possible.

Are happening.

I thought our straight forward laws would prevent the Mayors from owning a district through their City Councils.. But charters are not in “districts”. Nor are they schools. Nor are they businesses. They become whatever they need to be to skirt the rules the rest of us live by daily. They claim it is “innovation”. Grifters do it everyday. I do not find it new.

I watched Rebecca Feiden define EMO/CMO very differently to the Nevada Legislature the other day – than she has ever defined it is a Charter Authority Meeting. Perhaps she does not even know or want to know. She was certainly snippy like legislators should already know.

I think this year, The Nevada State Public Charter School Authority will become the second largest district (yes, I know they claim they are not one, but they act like one) in Nevada. It is the size of the Reno/Washoe School District almost. And it serves mainly rich white students inside the middle of Clark County. Yes I know it has a hand full of diverse charters – those are not the norm. Yes I know there are charters in other counties. The bulk of the Nevada charters are serving rich white students inside CCSD. Creating a systematic segregation in Clark County. White Flight is obvious.

Charters segregate by religion, race, and money. They are actually tracking special education, language learning, and free and reduce lunch because those categories earn businesses more pupil center funding dollars. This tracking does not help with Mormon charters, all black or all white charters, and charter locations which are obviously limiting access.

Rebecca Feiden is focused on trying to get more free and reduced lunch children into charters. The Charter Authority is sending the charters a letter, inviting them to participate in “Weighted Lotteries” to help correct their diversity issues. All the charters are getting a “Weighted Lottery” and the Charter Authority is claiming this is a tool to diversify. Weighted Lotteries do not help at all. Especially with new charter enrollment which required diversity by law. Weighted Lotteries only go into affect if charters are full. Technically if a charter has even one spot open – the lottery is not triggered.

The irony of all this is not lost on me. CCSD is one of the most diverse districts in the United States. Yet our Nevada Charters which are predominantly EMO’d For-Profit Academica – serve the rich and white. Now Nevada Charters are spending money to attract diversity to their charters – advertising, flyers, walking door-to-door, or so they claim they tried to find a diverse child to enroll. The Tax Payer has to pay these businesses to admit a few IEP, language learners or poor children. For some perspective, my public school is 100% diverse on every and all levels – we do not try at all to add diversity. In fact

Nevada never closes a failing charter. Even charters that cannot fill out the application or meet the requirements just sue until they are finally allowed to do whatever they want. There is not remedy to stop this. $950 million in Nevada Charters and not a single soul can tell you where it is or what it was spent on.

This is why I think Jennifer Berkshire is correct. Eventually, there will be no place called public schools. There will be a selection list and rich people will be able to pay to have a teacher and school. Others will accept cash and their children will not receive anything and that will be fine because it is their “choice”. And most will meet in a charter warehouse somewhere to sit in front of a device with software teaching them. The poor will be used to privatized and receive the lesser quality of the lists.

It will be slow. CCSD has a parasite. At this rate, the Charter Authority will just keep growing and making more messes which use up more education dollars. It takes from some to give to others. And folx are just fine with allowing a corporation take everything from the disadvantaged so their own children can get ahead. The so called “progressives” are leading the charge.

It is wrong and I hope we fight it. I believe in our imperfect public schools. I see nothing the charters offer that is new. I do not see them being a remedy at all. There is some limited liability advantages for businesses – is that good use of tax dollars?

I hope I am wrong.

Logically I am just afraid Jennifer Berkshire is right.

She followed up with another comment:

Sadly CCSD and Nevada “Leadership” are TFA. They are here to stay. Having catapaulted themselves above everyone.

An example is the very powerful Rebecca Feiden who control $950 million in Nevada Education Dollars which go to Nevada Charters.

Another is Jana Wilcox-Lavin in Opportunity 180 which spreads charters and gives “grants” to them.

No one wants to be a teacher – seems there will always be an appetite to make six figures and control everyone and everything for an eduphilantrophist like Elaine Wynn.

Back in the early days of charter schools, their advocates imagined that most would be run by teachers or local educators with a passion to run their own school. The charters would be innovative and accountable, working closely with public schools to share good ideas.

That was then, this is now.

No one back in the late 1980s envisioned huge charter chains like KIPP.

Nor did they imagine the emergence of for-profit chains owned by entrepreneurs.

Nor did they imagine that a state like Nevada would have most of its charter school students in schools managed by Academica, a Florida-based for-profit chain.

Academica’s politically connected owners have amassed over $100 million in Florida real estate. Real estate: that’s where the profit is. Running charters schools is a lucrative business, especially if you have influential friends and family in the legislature.


State argues that only real requirement is one school per district and that state standards are simply “aspirational” and cannot be a basis to measure students’ right to a basic education


On Monday, December 6, attorneys representing several parents made their case to the Nevada Supreme Court on behalf of public-school students throughout the state. The oral arguments stem from a complaint filed on March 4, 2020, Shea v. Nevada, challenging the constitutionality of Nevada’s chronically under-resourced public education system. A lower court had previously determined that the case presented issues that are nonjusticiable, or not for courts to decide, leading to Monday’s appeal before the Court. 

Parents argued that this case is in fact justiciable and that Nevada courts have a critical role to play in determining whether the public education system is constitutionally adequate and if students have been denied their right to a quality education. Without court intervention, the condition and quality of our schools will continue to decline, as they have for years. 

To the shock of the parent plaintiffs and their attorneys, the State argued that the court’s hands would be tied even if third grade classrooms were filled with 60 students. The State argued that their only obligation under the Constitution is to have at least one school in each district. Nevada has long been ranked as the state with the largest class sizes in the country.

From The Hearing

: If there are classes in our high schools that have 50 or 60 students is that a basis to challenge whether in fact it is a basic education that is being provided? 

State: As someone who went to a college where I attended classes with hundreds of  students I personally would say no.                                                                             

Justice: I would hope that my 3rd grader wouldn’t be in one of those classes though.

State: I do agree with that. The issue is that those are not constitutionally provided.   

Justice: So it would be constitutional if 3rd graders were 50 or 60 students in a            class?                                                                                                                               

State: I do believe so, yes.                                                                                           

“We could not disagree more than we do,” said pro bono attorney representing the plaintiffs,  Bradley Shrager . “We find (educational standards) to be a positive right of the people of Nevada and school children — a right to a meaningful opportunity to a suitable education because when you say suitable, the point is suitable for what? Suitable for the rest of your life.”

As part of their duty under the constitution, our state has set standards to ensure our students are prepared to enter the adult world and even determined what resources are needed to meet those standards. Unfortunately, the State has wholly failed to provide those essential resources. To come before our courts and argue that 60 third graders in a classroom is basic or sufficient for our students shows how desperately our courts need to intervene and why our schools are in such a crisis. 

There are already 60 students packed in high school classrooms throughout Nevada schools, despite numerous State commissioned studies identifying small class sizes as essential to students meeting state  academic standards.  The state itself has set class size requirements for grades K-3, but 98% of schools do not meet these requirements, with insufficient funding often cited as the primary reason.   

As written in the complaint, “Plaintiffs ask this Court to determine and find that Nevada public education has fallen short of the requirements of the Nevada Constitution in providing the resources necessary to ensure a basic, uniform, and sufficient education for the schoolchildren of this state.” 

Nevada students have a constitutional right to a quality education, but the State has consistently failed in its responsibility to foster a system that delivers on that right. They have an obligation to our students, and they have failed.

Since the original filing more than a year ago, achievement results for students have dropped significantly, teachers continue to struggle in the largest class sizes in the country, and the pandemic has only exacerbated long standing resource issues. Nevada’s deficient education system has deteriorated further, with no clear path out of this ongoing crisis.

“Without the court’s intervention, I see no solution for our students. I’ve spent years of my children’s education advocating on their behalf and the behalf of all students to no avail, and in that time, resources have actually depleted rather than improved,” said Caryne Shea, one of the parent plaintiffs, “I am shocked and outraged at the state’s arguments which undermines and almost belittles the hard work of our educators and students. What our state leadership has done so far has not been effective and now our only hope for significant change lies in the hands of the court.”
Prior to the original filing, Nevada was one of only three states that had not been sued for failure to provide adequate K-12 resources. States like Wyoming, New Jersey, and many others have seen significant improvements in resources and achievement since victories in their lawsuits. 

As the representative for the state said “words do have meaning” and the words from the state made it more clear why the best hope for students is for courts to intervene. 
About Educate Nevada Now

The Rogers Foundation, a Nevada leader in support of public education, joined with local, state and national partners to launch Educate Nevada Now (ENN) in 2015. The organization is committed to school finance reform and improved educational opportunities and outcomes for all Nevada public school children, especially English language learners, gifted and talented students, students with disabilities or other special needs, and low-income students.

More information about ENN can be found at P O W E R E D   B YCopyright © *2016, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
701 S. 9th Street
Las Vegas, NV 89101

Angie Sullivan teaches first-grade students in a Title I school in Las Vegas. She writes regularly to every member of the legislature and to journalists to tell them what it is like from a teacher’s perspective.

She wrote this missive:

Shannon Bilbray-Axelrod should recuse herself from charter school legislation.  It is unethical for her to line her lobbying pocket and then work on charter legislation.  Scott Hammond and Carrie Buck should also recuse themselves from working on charter language having made millions in the business.  Unethical.  

While you are in AB420, you should amend the Charter Authority requirements.   

To sit on the 9 member board, you should have not earned money from a for-profit school.   

The number of recusals from Charter Authority board members while trying to do business is ridiculous. 

Oftentimes decisions are made with a questionable quorum because too many folks on the dais are making money from the business and have to recuse. 

If you are a charter lawyer, charter consultant, charter owner – not the time to sit on the decisions making board.  It is unethical.   

You should have to wait 3 years after profiting from charters before being allowed to sit on the board.  
The chair of the Charter Authority should not run a charter.   

This leads to awkward business.   

The Chair leaves the dais to go to the table to have the board give her permission and/or money.  I have seen Chair Melissa Mackedon who runs a charter in Fallon do this several times.   

It is like insider trading – benefitting their business and themselves.  Then popping back up into positions to hand out money and favors to other charters.  Charter Board Members should not be on both sides (giving and receiving) routinely in meetings.  Unethical.  

Former or current legislators should not sit on the Charter Authority Board.  It appears that they legislated to make millions.  Pat Hickey and Randy Kirner are examples of folks who recently left their positions and then became part of the Charter Authority Board.

Lawyers like Jason Guinasso who have chaired the board should not be able to come back a few years later to manipulate charter language or the board.   He addressed them as friends trying to take advantage of his connections.  Recently Guinasso approached the board from the table on behalf of a charter he most likely set-up for failure while he was chair.  The theft and lawsuits cost Nevadans.

New EMOs/For-Profit Service Providers should not be allowed in the state.  No more new for-profit campuses under their umbrellas either.  They have made a huge mess.   Academica basically has a weird monopoly with different branches.   They are posed for rapid expansion.  Folks outside the state watching Academica in Nevada are very concerned.  

For-profit corporations like Academica take advantage of states like Nevada.  Language should be included to prevent rapid expansion and the ability to siphon money into side businesses.   This robs students and gives millions to side businesses.   Folks like Gulenist Soner Tarim should not be able to come into Nevada and apply for a charter – with language in the contract that gives them 12% off the top and ability to rapidly expand by being a EMO/Service Provider.  These should be two different things – EMO/Service Provider and Charter Applicant.  These administrators and side businesses are making a ridiculous amount of money and do not have to bid out their services.  The public should be able to see these contracts since the taxpayer is paying.  Folks should not be handing contracts out to their friends and family.

EMOS/Service Providers should not be allowed to break the charter diversity laws like Academica did intentionally when opening the Northern Pinecrest.  Academica should be closed for that.

PPP loans were given to both the charter campuses and the management corporations and all the side businesses.   How much money did a for-profit charter really get during the pandemic?   They got money for the EMO/Service Providers/Campus/Friends/Family etc?  Then held an informational meetings to warn everyone “not to say anything”.  

125 Florida charter schools already funded by taxpayers received $50 million in PPP loans

I hope the FBI comes and arrests everyone involved in this mess and lining their pockets. 

$350+ Million in education money annually and not one person knows what it is spent on.

And seems like legislators are just fine with that?

The Teacher,

Angie Sullivan

Angie Sullivan is a teacher in a Title 1 elementary school in Las Vegas, a city with free-flowing funds for casinos and entertainment but underfunded schools. She frequently writes members of the legislature about their distorted priorities.

Angie writes:

Remember when the world mocked us because Nevada gave away the family farm to TESLA and RAIDERS?  
Raise your hand if you rushed to Carson City in a Special Session to create those deals?  Regressive on STEROIDS! 

Now the world can mock us for innovation zones.  
Nevada Democrats called the Teacher’s Union petitions regressive?   A few cents a week is nothing compared to large cash subsidies Nevada gives to attract businesses.   Billions given away for a few jobs.  

Tax Credits cashed in at the whim of TESLA/Casinos directly rob Nevadans and their children of hundreds of million of dollars.  The South gets ZERO TESLA benefit.  
There is a reason the accounting practice examined during #SB543 found CCSD was short $10 Billion dollars.

We have various business tax credit scams sucking the Distributive School Account dry.   Add the Nevada Plan on top and no education money flows south from Carson City.   
Creating such huge inequity – northern folks scream Nevada cannot begin to adjust the money because no one in the state wants to educate students for the low per pupil amount forced on Clark County for decades.  

Attracting businesses by providing excessive bribes  or giving them deals so loose the world laughs – is not good business.  

And it steals from Vegas Kids who then need to pay Nevada’s bills.  

Southern Caucus you need to keep an eye on the money.  These lopsided business deals will cost your children.  The state has the right to negotiate a fair deal instead of sign onto a bad one because the business seems cool.  

Teachers want to pay for schools.  Anything we suggest cannot be called regressive next to this scamming business welfare project.  

Anything.   We.  Suggest.  Is.  Not.  As.  Regressive.  
Education needs stable money.   You have to fix it.  If you do not like our ideas – come up with something.  

The Teacher, 


Last spring, you may recall, the CARES Act included $13.2 billion for public and charter schools. In addition, $660 billion was allocated to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for small businesses and nonprofits that were struggling to survive due to the pandemic. Public schools were not allowed to apply for PPP. However, many charter schools learned through their lobbyists that they could apply for PPP. In other words, they double-dipped. They took the $134,500 or so that was available in the initial allotment for each public school. Then they went to the PPP and took another bite, which was far bigger than the funding allowed to public schools.

Which raises the interesting question: Are charter schools “public schools” or are they small businesses or private nonprofits? After all, public schools were not allowed to ask for PPP money, but over a thousand charter schools struck gold.

Nevada has a reputation for some of the worst charter schools in the country, but that doesn’t matter. Some of its charters really hit the big time with PPP funding. In 2015, CREDO investigator Margaret Raymond said to charter leaders in Ohio: “Be very glad that you have Nevada, so you are not the worst.”

PPP awards ranged from $168,500 to the online charter Leadership Academy of Nevada to $4.6 million to Doral Academy to support its five brick-and-mortar campuses in Southern Nevada. Many of the forgivable loans were coordinated and handled by the same entity, Academica Nevada, a regional branch of the Florida-based for-profit company that manages some 200 charter schools nationwide and has a strong presence in Nevada.

The charters that qualified for PPP money did so because they are incorporated as nonprofits, something Nevada law allows them to do. Even pre-pandemic, being a nonprofit is often financially beneficial because it opens up additional funding opportunities, such as grants through the federal Charter School Program.

Scan the list in the article: Democracy Prep received $1 million; Odyssey Charter Schools, $2.28 million; Pinecrest Academy, $4.6 million; Sports Leadership and Management Academy (SLAM), $800,000. Pinecrest and SLAM are part of the for-profit Academica chain; SLAM was started by rapper Pitbull, widely celebrated for his misogynistic lyrics.

Amber Phillips explains in the Washington Post why Trump will continue holding indoor rallies to mostly maskless people, despite the warnings of public health officials.

The president held an indoor rally Sunday in Nevada and a large indoor event in Phoenix on Monday. More could be coming.

And reporting indicates that he thinks flouting public health advice is the right way to rally his base.

But that probably comes at the expense of picking up moderates. Polls show a majority of Americans support wearing masks and taking precautions against the virus. Not to mention hat this indoor-rally-practice creates the very real risk that the president is helping spread coronavirus in key swing states rather than slow it. But it’s what Trump wants, so it looks like it will continue. The Post’s Anne Gearan and Josh Dawsey report:

“Many around the president are acutely aware that a potential surge in coronavirus cases and deaths close to the election could be disastrous, according to campaign and White House aides, but they are mostly bowing to Trump’s desire to pack the house.”

In other words, he is endangering the lives of his most ardent supporters because he wants to impress them with his heroics. He is removed feom the crowd and is not in danger. They are in danger, not him. He doesn’t press the flesh. Their exhalations do not reach him. His friend Herman Cain died of coronavirus shortly after attending Trump’s rally in Tulsa. Coincidence? Tulsa exoerienced a surge in cases two weeks after the rally.

Trump may be a one-man super spreader.

Not a good look after 200,000 Americans have died.

But maybe this bravado impresses his MAGA base.