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We don’t need no education, Part XII
by Andrew Barbano
Oct 17, 2012 | 3116 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I made the supreme sacrifice for the children on Monday night, forsaking the Giants-Cardinals game for a Washoe County school board debate. UNR Prof. Howard Rosenberg and Reno City Councilman Dave Aiazzi were the unquestioned alpha dogs.

Former university regent Rosenberg said he is running because nine of 10 Washoe students admitted to UNR need to take bonehead remedial courses and three in 10 drop out freshman year.

I asked how many supported the Nevada teachers union business tax petition to fund education. None answered.

I queried the two incumbents present about the contradiction in Superintendent Pedro Martinez’s statement to the Reno Gazette-Journal last Sunday. He announced that about half of current seniors would be forced to take another in an endless series of tests to assess college readiness.

“Standardized testing is mediocrity,” Rosenberg raged.

“It’s what the district has to do as graduation rates rise but post-graduation statistics paint a poor picture of what happened in high school,” RGJ reporter Siobahn McAndrew summarized Martinez’s dilemma.

More grads, lower skills. What’s wrong with that picture?

I noted that the school district’s vaunted graduation statistics stand contradicted by its own submissions to the Nevada Department of Education. (See “The Mythological Morrison Miracle”, April 22 Barbwire.)

Unopposed trustee Barbara McLaury responded but failed to answer. School board president Ken Grein, Rosenberg’s opponent, would not say a word.

As I predicted last spring, the district’s nationally astounding graduation rate increase could not be sustained for a third year, which explains why former superintendent Heath Morrison blew town.

Former Nevada Assembly Speaker Bill Bilyeu, R-Elko, asked why the district “rewards” successful principals by transferring them to unsuccessful schools? Dr. McLaury said that resulted from chasing federal money.

Aiazzi would not commit to serving a full four years rather than running for Reno mayor in 2014. He also advocated diverting “money for roads we don’t need and floods that only come once in a hundred years.”

That would not only take legislative action but is also astounding coming from him. Aiazzi is the lone defender of road construction tax funds against looting by greedy developers (Sept. 27 Barbwire) led by Perry DiLoreto who, ironically, just started a business group to raise money for schools. Smart PR.

Sparks-Reno has suffered at least three “hundred year floods” in the past 60 years.

Organized labor has endorsed Rosenberg, McLaury and Dale Richardson over his opponent Lisa Ruggerio. Amazingly, the Reno paper endorsed Grein while admitting that Rosenberg would shake up an institution that sorely needs it. They can be so damned corporate over there. Aiazzi’s opponent is Dr. Diane Nicolet.

The Monday forum was produced by a moms’ group, Parent Leaders for Education. A faith-based organization called ACTIONN drew over 600 to its formative meeting last week. That’s three education newbies in one month.

Alas, only the legislature can stop the bleeding.

Be well. Raise hell.

Andrew Barbano is a 43-year Nevadan and editor of NevadaLabor.com. E-mail barbano@frontpage.reno.nv.us. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988.
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