The biennial moneygrab is underway

“Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.”
—Will Durant, historian

With Nevada’s legislature in session, the biennial grab for money is underway. Chief among money grubbers is the education monopoly courtesy of newly minted Gov. Jim Gibbons who—anxious to prove he’s not another knuckle-dragging, Neanderthal conservative who hates kids—managed to get said monopoly the first-in-line spot at the trough.

That, of course, helped get him elected Silver State CEO and that also proves with every (albeit) well-meaning compromise, there is a price to be paid. Unfortunately, it’s paid by the productive, vis-a-vis tax dollars. The lazy and stupid get a free pass.

Speaking of which, and in keeping with the aforementioned gluttony, here was the newly minted Assembly Speaker, et al, in the Reno Gazette-Journal: “Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley, D-Las Vegas; Assembly Education Committee Chairwoman Bonnie Parnell, D-Carson City, and Washoe County Superintendent Paul Dugan said if [Governor Jim] Gibbons wants to press his empowerment program … he should use new money and not rob the incentive pool.”

To which I might add, should the superintendent wish to use the term “rob,” he might ask himself how he “robs” those in his district.

Or better yet, why in Washoe County, a teacher with 10 years experience can’t get more than five years credit relative to pay. That seems rather bizarre for anyone interested in creating an incentive for good teachers to come teach here.

But I digress.

“We have to continue the incentives for teachers who go into the hard-to-fill classrooms and the at-risk schools,” Parnell said, according to the RG-J. “We are going to be in a very tough spot to get the teachers we need to staff this state if we don’t have a system in place to recognize those hard-to-fill classes, such as special education, math and science.”

Submitted for your consideration is the latest report titled “Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study” (or TIMSS) published by the American Institute of Physics in 2004 (, which involved some 360,000 students in 49 countries.

It found that fourth-graders in five countries—Singapore, Japan and England being three of them—outperformed American fourth-graders in the sciences.

In math, fourth graders in 11 countries outperformed the same American fourth-graders.

American eighth-graders were outperformed in the sciences by only eight countries.

In math, they were outperformed by 14 countries.

The ninth grade is where it gets interesting.

Japan and Singapore did well in all of these.

The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) found that among 41 countries, American high school freshmen were outperformed by 56 percent of their peers.

The point, lest it be lost here, is that the same loons who advocate full-time day care—sorry—I meant full-time kindergarten—as the panacea to Nevada’s educational woes are the same ones who can’t explain why fourth and eighth grade U.S. kids are on par with their international counterparts and yet can’t seem to cut it by high school.

But full-time kindergarten is somehow the answer. Or something.

OK, perhaps they can explain how the aforementioned assessment had this mind-numbing revelation: “Higher parental education levels were associated with higher student achievement.”

In short, parents who value education foster these values in their kids, which leads to a better economic future for those children. But that doesn’t explain how more money plowed into the educational system will help.

That perhaps brings us back to Durant.