A growing number of local residents are spending much time educating the community about what's wrong with our Washoe County public schools. I'm one of them.
Our group consists of pretty normal folks, just like you. We're parents, grandparents and singles. We're business owners and employees, blue collar and white collar, retirees and full-time workers. We're veterans, native Nevadans and transplants. What do we all have in common?
- We care about our children's futures.
- We're convinced that something's terribly wrong with our schools.
- We know that immediate changes must be made.
You don't have to be a weatherman to tell which way the wind's blowing.
Most of our group has no experience as public schoolteachers or administrators, but the problems in our schools are obvious to anyone. When we question Superintendent Kristen McNeill and School Board President Angela Taylor about the following issues, we're lied to or ignored.
► Why do superintendent McNeill and the school board refuse to explain — or even admit — that 65-85% of our 4th and 8th grade students rank at or below the functional illiteracy level on national tests; while 90% of our 12th grade graduates don't qualify to pass college-level classes?
► Why did the superintendent and school board approve a sex education curriculum for the entire community that focuses exclusively on the philosophy of the extreme Left? It hyper-sexualizes children, and says little or nothing about moral values, marriage, and the law. It virtually ignores the important role of parents and traditional religious values in encouraging responsible sexual behavior.
► Why are McNeill and the Board considering using social studies and English curricula that experts of all colors acknowledge as historically false and distorted? Indoctrinating our children in critical race theory and social justice teachings is educational malpractice. They teach students a racist, divisive, politicized, anti-democracy and anti-law-enforcement perspective of America and its history.
► Why did the superintendent not develop a consistent, fact-based COVID-related plan this year for our schools? It would have prevented the chaos and lost year of learning that resulted.
► WCSD consistently operates with budget deficits of tens of millions of dollars. Why does superintendent McNeill need five extra "area superintendents" to manage 62,000 children and 100 schools, when the Los Angeles Unified Schools superintendent only uses six area superintendents to manage 640,000 students and 1,000 schools?
► When funding is scarce, why aren't the superintendent and Board privatizing non-instructional services, like more than one-third of other school districts? The potential savings from this move alone could eliminate their budget deficit.
► Superintendent McNeill identifies two of WCSD's primary goals as "transparency" and a strong relationship with the community. Then why do she and Board President Taylor do everything possible to restrict public attendance and participation at board meetings? Why do they refuse to allow parents, the community, and even elected Board members to make unannounced visits to school campuses?
You and I both know that what's wrong with our schools is a lack of competent leadership.
We both know what needs to be done to fix that problem.
If we commit to fighting together to solve this problem, we will.
Joey Gilbert practices law in Reno and is the father of a school-age daughter. He is a former WBC-USNBC middleweight boxing champion. He welcomes feedback at joeygilbert.com/saveourschools.