NSEA opposes SB76 and has strong concerns regarding proposals to eliminate the Council to Establish Academic Standards and the governing bodies of the Regional Professional Development Programs. In addition, with proposed cuts to class size reduction, we feel it sends the wrong message to relax reporting requirements on variances to pupil-teacher ratios at this time.
For more than 20 years, the Academic Standards Council has worked to ensure high, measurable standards in English language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, computer and technology education, the arts, and health and physical education. These standards are designed to help improve the academic achievement of Nevada students. The ongoing existence of the council is important to make sure deliberations about academic standards are public, with representation on the council that includes active educators.
Regional Professional Development Programs (RPDPs) have been a lifeline for educators across the state of Nevada. RPDPs develop curriculum resources, professional learning, individual and small group coaching along with support for teachers in grades K-12, that include all areas covered by the Nevada Academic Content Standards. RPDP has played a key role in developing the state-mandated parental involvement professional learning credits, learning and support for the newly adopted computer science standards, and extensive training and support for math, ELA, and Next Generation Science standards. RPDPs have also been a great resource for teachers working toward their National Board Certification. Elimination of the RPDP regional governing bodies and statewide council could jeopardize the work of the RPDPs and would eliminate the voice of active educators on these bodies.
Finally, we all know Nevada has the largest class sizes in the country. This problem has been an ongoing focus of the legislature. With a proposed $156M cut to class size reduction in the next biennium, Nevada could see ballooning class sizes. Given this, right now may not be the best time to relax reporting requirements on variances granted to pupil-teacher ratios. While class size variances can seem like just a formality, NSEA encourages decision-makers to better appreciate the impact of these variances on the teaching and learning experience in the classroom.