By: Jared Fisher
With four kids in the Nevada education system, as governor I will make Nevada’s education a top priority. It is simply unacceptable 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.
I am concerned that our education system is focused too heavily on narrowing curriculums, blaming teachers and instituting high stakes testing. Nevada can—and should—have one of the best education systems in the country. We need to support our schools and educators so they can be empowered to give every student in Nevada the opportunity to succeed. This will be my top priority as Nevada’s governor.
My plan to improve Nevada’s schools:
1. Empower families to engage in their child’s education
The family is the fundamental unit of society. I will help support school districts’ efforts to expand programs that involve families and support their engagement in our schools.
2. Implement “two generation” learning opportunities for parents through after-school classes
This will include instruction in ESL, GED, personal finance and technology.
3. Offer hands-on apprenticeships, trades training and internship programs
Nevada has a highly-trained union workforce and I will seek to instill 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 classes, career readiness courses and the CTE programs.
4. Provide support for students outside of the classroom
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.
5. Ensure fair pay and support services for teachers and principals
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 have witnessed first hand, the debilitating effects of ineffective policy in my mother’s classroom with regards to administration and student accountability. When a teacher is not allowed to enforce his/her own parameters, it’s the student who ultimately suffers. As governor, I will personally visit school classrooms all over Nevada to talk with students about health, motivation and accountability. I will host an annual principal/dean retreat to first-hand address the need for more teacher support. And I will create a task force of teachers, principals, students, deans and parents dedicated to addressing ineffective policy and the need for more teacher support.
6. Encourage school competition
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. The benefits of public schools include such motivating programs as athletics, music, and magnet programs. New school choices should complement, not detract from, existing school services, and as governor, I will require they address transportation, economic disparity and accountability. Every student is different, so if done right, healthy competition helps strengthen our education system, overall.
7. Promote ESA school vouchers with equality and accountability
ESA school vouchers will help further facilitate a competitive school program. I will support ESAs so long as we have a strategic long-term plan to improve our public schools.
8. Reorganize larger school districts and reinforce smaller school districts
The reorganization of the state’s two largest school districts, 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. I will also ensure that our smaller school districts get the support they need.
9. Re-evaluate budgets and weed out inefficiencies with my statewide SWEEP program
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.
10. Introduce a Sports, Arts and Music (SAM) Program for Health and Creativity
Children need a source of motivation. Too often, health, exercise, and creativity is taken out of school in order to make room for more testing. This is counterintuitive and counterproductive. A healthy Nevada education system starts with a healthy student. The mind works best when the body is healthy and happy. My wife’s proposed First Lady SAM Program (Sports, Arts, Music) addresses the issue of student motivation by inspiring kids to succeed in education with life lessons learned through Sports, Arts, and Music. Internal skills of self-discipline, self-motivation, and self-confidence provide students with keys to success in all areas. This will be her first priority as first lady, and a student-centered education focused on efficiency and results will be my first priority as governor.
Education solutions are complex. They are as much of a moral issue as they are a government issue. As a state, we must place education at the top of all our priority lists.
To learn more about Jared’s Nevada education plan, visit our K-12 Education Reform page. School safety plan coming soon.
About Jared Fisher: Jared Fisher is running for governor of Nevada. In addition to strengthening the education system, Jared’s platform includes a focus on diversifying the economy and investing in clean, renewable energy. Once in office, Jared will use his 25+ years as a CEO and business leader in Southern Nevada to help Nevada’s government become more effective and efficient.