NSEA is Nevada’s state affiliate of the National Education Association. Leading to the passage of the American Rescue Plan, the NEA was a leading voice for significant federal investment in public education to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our schools. NEA members wrote hundreds of thousands of messages and placed thousands of calls to their representatives advocating for Congress to pass this package containing the largest investments ever in education.
Earlier this month, NSEA submitted the attached public comment on Nevada’s ARP ESSER State Plan. NSEA is in general agreement with the top issues identified in Nevada’s draft state plan— supporting social, emotional and mental health, addressing interrupted learning, and recruiting, supporting, and retaining effective educators. In terms of plan details, NSEA continues to have concerns about reliance on standardized testing and the toll of these tests on students and educators, especially during these pandemic years. NSEA made additional comments related to social and racial equity, the comprehensive needs assessment, guidance given to local education agencies, and educator recruitment and retention. As plan development continues, we remind leaders the American Rescue Plan requires state education agencies to engage with educators and their unions in plan development.
As Nevada students and educators head back to school, the safe reopening and operations of schools is foremost on our mind. NSEA appreciates Governor Sisolak’s Emergency Directive related to mask requirements in K12 education settings. However, given the impact of the Delta variant across the state, we believe there should be additional guidance on this issue to all Nevada school districts.
Meanwhile, we are increasingly concerned for the safety of students, educators, and even school board members, not only from the COVID virus, but from groups of people who have become agitated over masking mandates, vaccinations, and COVID-related exclusions.
Just in the last month, numerous school boards have been shouted down, educators have had their masks pulled off and have been spat on, and some people have shown up to school protests armed with assault rifles. We’ve even seen multiple school board resignations over these issues.
We would ask state leaders to take a closer look at these most concerning issues and work together to ensure the safety and well-being of all our students and educators facing these unprecedented threats.