Opinion: Gibbons plays politics with Race to the Top school funding

SUBMITTED RELEASE FROM NEVADA STATE DEMOCRATIC PARTY

By Phoebe Sweet

LAS VEGAS–As Nevada deals with a major budget crisis, it is even more important that the state qualify for up to $175 million in Race to the Top funding. But Gov. Jim Gibbons is, as usual, playing politics with the future of our state–leaving the discussion of Race to the Top funding off the agenda for this spring’s special session.

So, will Sue Lowden, Danny Tarkanian and Sharron Angle–Republican candidates for U.S. Senate–pressure the governor to allow a discussion about Race to the Top during the special session? Republicans are always willing to claim that Nevada doesn’t get its fair share of federal funding to score political points. But Gibbons is willing to leave as much as $175 million on the table during a budget crisis. Will they call on him to come to the table and work with lawmakers to ensure our children’s future?

As reported in today’s Las Vegas Sun, the governor had promised to put Race to the Top, which requires states to allow the use of student test scores in teacher evaluations, on the agenda for the session. Nevada does not currently allow the use of student scores to evaluate teachers. The state has already missed out on the first round of Race to the Top funding but could qualify for a second round this summer.

“We’ve come to recognize Gov. Jim Gibbons disingenuous style of dealing with our state’s budget problems, but holding our children’s educational future hostage is a new low, and no way to get what he wants,” said Phoebe Sweet, communications director with the Nevada State Democratic party. “That the governor would hold a substantive discussion over badly-needed Race to the Top funds hostage to play political games is only the latest sign that we need new leadership in the Governor’s Mansion.”

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