USA/July 27, 2020/by Kelsey Penrose/Source: https://www.carsonnow.org/
Multiple groups were in front of the legislature Saturday, with the regular every-Saturday Black Lives Matter protest along with the counter “All lives matter” protesters, but this week a new group showed up to have their voices heard in the form of education advocates.
During the special session, education funding was cut yet again, leaving Nevadans angered as we stay near the bottom of Education within the U.S.
According to the online Facebook event page it states:
While Nevada is a bottom dweller in education we are once again cutting from the education budget.
Please come on out and protest against budget cuts and against the school-to-prison pipeline here in Nevada. Where we are number 6 in the nation in police spending but last in the nation in education. We are the perfect poster child for the school-to-prison pipeline.
Here is a letter from a local educator regarding education.
“I would like to share with you my thoughts regarding two upcoming bills The bills are SB543: The State Education Funds Distributive School Account, and SB242: The Nevada Police Officers Bill of Rights. Not surprisingly, I believe that these bills are metaphorically two sides of the same coin.
Let me give you some background with regards to my credentials. Last Oct. I determined that the 2019-2020 school year would be my last. I resigned my position with the Carson City School District, having worked in Nevada as a dedicated teacher for 22 years. Therefore, the issues with Covid did not factor into my choice to leave the teaching profession. I honestly could have continued for at least another five years, if conditions were better. I do not want to go into all of the reasons I left teaching right now; but I will share one of the main ones, as it is relevant to the conversation at hand. Specifically, the problem has to do with student behavior which has become increasingly bizarre, disrespectful, violent, and dangerous. Schools are no longer academic campuses of enlightenment towards life-long learning; they are mental health institutions. Now a microcosm of a society where behavior is demonstrated through the foundation of poverty, drug & alcohol abuse in families, neglect, FAS, hunger, divorce, instability, racism, language barriers, and great trauma. I would say that I was able to actually teach 60% of the time, because I had to constantly balance every lesson in light of a potential behavioral explosion from any number of students. And now, with Covid, I cannot even imagine how this is going to affect student’s and teacher’s ability to focus on mastering academic standards. As a result, I feel that we, as a state, are at a crossroads. If we do not deal with the mental health issues of our students, and families, in the K-12 system, I fear we will soon see even more devastating effects than we have already witnessed. These outcomes clearly play out as previous students enter adulthood to face the same issues, they did in school along with the added threat of encounters with law enforcement. Therefore, I feel that it is important to have any redistribution of funds going towards social services to provide more support to teachers, students, and families in our schools.
With the understanding that the mental health of individuals is developed early-on in life, SB242, the Nevada Police Officers Bill of Rights, and its protection for police brutality, are most certainly connected. If people were given the opportunity to develop appropriate coping techniques and self-regulation strategies at a young age, they would be much less likely to fall into the criminal justice system to begin with. I do not believe in defunding the police. It is the redistribution of funds that is paramount. Monies allocated to schools, and social services, etc., so that police are not needed for every altercation.
There must be a fundamental change in how we create a new Nevada. Schools should become communities where law enforcement, social services, educators, child care, and health care providers use financial resources to assist families as a support system to uphold human needs at the age of 6 years old, rather than at 26 and in prison. In the long term, this is an attempt to deescalate confrontations with the police to begin with. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could end police brutality before it happens, rather than trying to protect police officers after the fact?! We are putting the money at one end of the spectrum or the other. It is up to you to decide where the funding would be most beneficial.
To recap, I do not support SB242, and believe that we most continue to fund education with SB543 in order to deal with the many critical needs in our public schools. Thank you for your consideration,
Some BLM protesters joined forces with the education advocates with signs reading “Teachers should be paid more than cops.”
Docente - Investigadora Educativa.
Doctora en Cs. de la Educación, Magíster en Desarrollo Curricular y Licenciada en Relaciones Industriales.