The three E’s

We’ve long heard about the ungrammatical three R’s of school: reading, ’riting and ’rithmetic.

We’d like to put a new spin on it and put forth the idea that there’s a more fundamental and grammatically correct way to understand how school works. We call it the three E’s: elections, economy and education.

Right now, Northern Nevada is in a battle to “win” a bid for a Tesla lithium ion battery factory worth some $5 billion. We’re up against states like Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. Other media sources, like the Las Vegas Weekly,, have reported that we’re unlikely to get the factory, despite the fact that Northern Nevada has easy access to transportation infrastructure like freeways and railways, lithium mines and other amenities.

But there seems to be a booger in the punch bowl, at least according to the Las Vegas Weekly story and other sources: Our education system is substandard.

The newspaper noted, “As Rep. Dina Titus always used to say, we’re on the bottom of the good lists—No. 43 in per-pupil spending; No. 49 in higher education spending—and, with that stratospheric dropout rate, the top of the bad ones.”

You know why our dropout rate is so high? Simplest explanation. It’s because our culture—familial and political—doesn’t value education. People can make a good living here without much education; it’s part of our mining and casino legacy.

If Tesla chooses to go somewhere else—especially in light of our recommendations—we’ll probably never know the company’s specific reasons. Other states have a lot more money for “incentives.” We shot our wad on Apple.

But just the subsurface speculation should be enough to illustrate some things. For example, skilled and educated people of the sort that Tesla will need for its manufacturing plant won’t move to Nevada—even with a good job at the end of the road—because there is something missing here. That something may just be that they don’t believe they can get a good education for their children.

This is where the three E’s come together. If we want to improve our economy, we’ve got to improve our education system, and we’ve got to stop electing people who don’t have enough respect for education to bother to get one.

As we progress to Nov. 11, expect to see a lot of false education and disinformation about the Margins Tax. Expect people to try to tell you that a better education system will actually hurt our economy. But when your child moves out of state because the financial prospects are better elsewhere—even for raising your grandchildren on a factory job income—remember the short-sighted, uneducated people you didn’t vote against.

Prosperity requires investment, and not just in plant equipment or tax giveaways. Until the people of the state of Nevada can get their three E’s in order, we can expect our three R’s to suffer, and that will likely leave us all F’d.