By David Thompson, @DJakaDT
CARSON CITY, Nev. – There are 78 public schools in Nevada on the Department of Education’s “watch list” for poor performance.
Nevada law states that failing charter schools are in the state’s hands, whereas failing public schools are under the federal government’s control – that is, until today.
The Nevada Assembly Education Committee passed Assembly Bill 448 on Thursday, creating an Achievement School District. Ten percent of the aforementioned schools would be placed into this new “district” where their future would be decided by the state. If performance metrics aren’t improved within a certain time period, the schools could be converted into charter schools.
In essence, local school districts will relinquish control of failing schools to the state. In a March 27 hearing on this bill, leaders from Clark and Washoe Counties’ school districts spoke in favor of having state support.
As part of AB448, Superintendent Dale Erquiaga will also appoint an executive director of the Achievement School District, whose job will be to work with the local school districts to select those schools with unsatisfactory student achievement.
AB448 is just one of a series of education reform bills proposed by Governor Sandoval, and as expected, are picking up momentum in the last months of the 2015 legislative session.
It took a mere 14 days for AB448 to go from a bill draft request to pass through the Assembly Education Committee.
AB448 is a companion bill to Senate Bill 77, whose language is quite similar.
SB77 was scheduled to be heard at the April 2 Senate Education Committee, but after hours of testimony on other bills, it was skipped. As of this moment, it is not known when it will be up for discussion again.
SB77 calls for the Department of Education to establish a turnaround plan for underperforming schools, which could include closure, becoming a charter school and staff training or changes.