Friday, December 15, 2017

VETTE’S VEGAS VOICE: On SB178 Promises $36 Million to Address Growing Proficiency Gap

September 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Community

Yvette Williams

BY YVETTE WILLIAMS

In previous articles, I’ve written about the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which was passed in December 2015. Federal law requires Nevada’s Education Plan to include a priority for schools or subgroups of students that are least proficient. Beginning with this school year, the Nevada Department of Education (NDE) requires each school district in Nevada to comply through the ESSA plan approved by U.S. Department of Education.

While many Black students meet or exceed academic standards, a large percentage do not meet grade-level proficiencies. In my 10 years as a volunteer education advocate, this is the first time that the stars have truly aligned to provide much-needed resources to Black students whose educational needs have gone unmet. Although the number of native English speakers ranking in the lowest 25% proficiency is approximately the same English as a second language learners, too much policy and media focus remains on the latter.

The New Nevada Education Funding Plan ($36 million) is appropriated each fiscal year. The NDE is charged with determining the number of pupils in each public school who are English learners or eligible for a free or reduced lunch — and who score in the bottom 25th percentile in proficiency, are not enrolled in a Zoom or Victory school, and do not have an individualized education plan (IEP). NDE shall provide an additional per pupil amount of $1,200 to serve identified students at identified schools. You can find the list of allocated funds for each participating school at www.CCBlackCaucus.com.

Before using the funds, the public school must consult with staff, parents, legal guardians, and school organization team (if one exists) on which permissible uses of funds the school will dedicate the funding toward. Together they are to create a plan for the use of the funds and the goals to be achieved. The NDE shall also prescribe annual measurable objectives — and track pupils’ performance targets — to ensure a high return on investment for eligible students.

This is a huge opportunity to significantly reduce the growing proficiency gap in Nevada schools — regardless of race, zip code, or language. By participating in development of the school plan, parents, students, educators, and community stakeholders can ensure no children are left out.

Yvette Williams is a community advocate and Chair/Founder of the Clark County Black Caucus, a non-partisan community organization driven 100% by volunteer members registered to vote. Follow her Blog at www.YvetteBWilliams.com and on twitter @YvetteBWilliams or contact her at ClarkCountyBlackCaucus@gmail.com for more information.

 

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