Today, NSEA is publicly releasing our legislative priorities for the upcoming 2023 Legislative Session. In addition to Time for 20 to address Nevada’s record educator shortage and the Respect Educators Act to prioritize educator safety and voice, NSEA has proposals on school finance, protecting the institution of public education, streamlining student assessments, and worker rights.
For months, NSEA has testified to this Board and others about Nevada’s dire educator shortage. Now with students back in school, we still have near record shortages of teachers, other licensed professionals, and education support professionals. NSEA has been tracking vacant positions across Nevada school districts. CCSD still lists nearly 2000 vacant positions, about the same number as a month ago, and there are still hundreds of additional vacancies across Nevada. Earlier this month, the Economic Policy Institute released their report on teacher pay in 2021. They found that the pay gap between teachers and other college-educated profession reached an all-time high. In Nevada, that gap is 20.4%.
NSEA has been calling for bold action to address this crisis— to adequately fund public education in Nevada and to respect and retain our experienced educators. It’s Time for 20. That means a 20% increase in educator pay and at least $20/hour for the workers who make our school run. We believe this is the right-sized response to our educator shortage.
Lack of competitive pay is a big cause of our vexing educator shortage, but poor working conditions are another major factor. With some of the largest class sizes in the country, Time for 20 calls for reaching an average class size of 20 students in core academic subjects. And with an uptick in high-profile acts of violence against educators, NSEA has unveiled the Respect Educators Act to elevate the safety, well- being, and autonomy of educators in their work. This includes real accountability for any violence committed against educators and providing educators the tools necessary to deal with disruptive behavior. The Respect Educators Act proposes a monitoring committee comprised of educators from across the state, legislators, and NDE to gain a clear understanding of the impact of the restorative justice law, ensure consistent implementation, and secure protection for all students and educators.
Educator voice in the classroom and at the worksite is also a key component of the Respect Educators Act. This includes guaranteeing educators have their professional judgment and discretion respected by school and district administrators; are treated with civility and respect; are not required to complete excessively burdensome paperwork; are afforded adequate time during the work week for lesson planning and collaboration with other teachers; have greater autonomy regarding student grading; are able to better enforce student attendance requirements; and have fair work evaluations.