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Public Comment

Public Comment: Joint Interim Committee on Education

NSEA's May 18. 2022 public comments to the Joint Interim Committee on Education
Public Comment Sept 2021
Published: May 18, 2022

The Nevada State Education Association has been the voice of Nevada educators for over 120 years. Today’s agenda is packed with critical items impacting Nevada’s schools—restorative justice and student discipline, mental health, and professional development. Last month, NSEA testified on educator safety in the wake of the horrific event at El Dorado High School. However, none of the issues on today’s agenda can be adequately addressed unless Nevada effectively deals with the staffing crisis impacting school operations across the state.

Unfortunately, there is no sugarcoating it. The state of public education is dire. For decades, Nevada has ranked near the bottom of states in education funding and quality. Now with the additional challenges of the last two years, we have an unprecedented shortage of educators to teach our kids and make our schools run. CCSD alone lists over 2000 vacant positions, with over 1400 of those licensed. Nevada needs bold action to address this crisis. It’s time to adequately fund public education in Nevada. It’s time to respect and retain our experienced educators. It’s Time for 20.

Time for 20 means a 20% increase in educator pay and at least $20/hour for the workers who make our school run. Time for 20 means reaching an average class size of 20 students in core academic subjects.

Let’s consider the severity of the situation for Nevada educators.

  • The Economic Policy Institute reports public school teachers are paid 19.2% less than similar workers in other occupations.

  • According to the National Education Association’s Ranking of the States, Nevada public school teachers make nearly $7500 below the national average and $27,000 less than neighboring California.

  • Nevada has some of the largest class sizes in the country, with some of the highest concentrations of at-risk students and English learners.

  • Meanwhile, a substitute teacher shortage has left countless classrooms with no teacher at all, forcing remaining staff, or even our Lt. Governor, to cover additional classes.

  • A chronic bus driver shortage has caused serious delays, sometimes stranding students for hours. Multiple districts have canceled routes and adjusted schedules to mitigate the issue.

  • Thousands of education support professionals across the state earn significantly below a living wage, with starting salaries as low as $10 to $11 per hour.

  • Inflation data shows prices are climbing at the fastest pace in 40 years, with CPI now at 8.3%. Home and rent prices have skyrocketed across Nevada, with average rents up over 20% over the last year alone.

Time for 20 would address many of the causes of the educator shortage and go a long way to improve school climate and culture, giving Nevada a chance to address the other serious issue impacting our schools. Educators across the state and our students need bold action now.

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NSEA has been the voice of educators for over 120 years. We represent teachers, education support professionals, and other licensed professionals throughout the state of Nevada.