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Education task force continues to implement reform agenda



CARSON CITY — The Governor’s Education Reform Blue Ribbon Task Force will meet in September to continue working toward implementing its education reform agenda—Nevada’s Promise: Excellence, Rigor, and Equity—with the collaboration of opinion leaders and representatives of the public, private and nonprofit sectors in Nevada. Nevada was not selected as a finalist by the U.S. Department of Education to receive federal Race to the Top funds.

“We appreciate the opportunity the Race to the Top competition gave us to take a long, hard and much overdue look at educating Nevada’s children,” Governor Gibbons said. “The time is now to modernize the way we deliver education in our schools, both to secure the future of our children and grandchildren and to develop an educated and skilled workforce necessary to diversify our economy and generate economic recovery and prosperity. Education is the intellectual infrastructure for Nevada’s future.”

“The Race to the Top program was the catalyst for creating this reform agenda, and though we did not receive the much-needed funds, we must find a way to move ahead with the plan,” commented Task Force Co-chair Dan Klaich. “Nevada’s Promise contains a promise to achieve significant, positive and transformative changes for education in Nevada—every school will be led by effective principals, every classroom will be led by effective teachers and every student will graduate.”

“Although we are disappointed at not being chosen in this round, we are proud of the unprecedented statewide collaboration in creating Nevada’s Promise, which has produced more reform in six months than we have seen in the last decade,” commented Task Force Co-chair Elaine Wynn. “Nevada’s Promise is not only a blueprint for education reform in the state, but also a call to action for the continued support of all sectors in implementing this agenda. The future economic health of Nevada is reliant on our ability to produce young people with the knowledge, skills and abilities to succeed.”

The Education Reform Blue Ribbon Task Force was commissioned by Governor Gibbons to collaborate with other stakeholders to develop Nevada’s Race to the Top application and to recommend long-term reform designed to improve student achievement.

Among the recommendations set forth in Nevada’s Promise are five specifically-targeted objectives to be accomplished by 2014: increasing the graduation rate to 85 percent using the longitudinal cohort model; reducing the achievement gap by 50 percent for African American-white and Hispanic-white on National Assessments of Educational Progress (“NAEP”); increasing the number of graduates enrolling in post-secondary institutions both in-state or out-of-state by 50 percent; increasing student achievement percentages of students proficient or advanced on the NAEP fourth-grade mathematics (from 32 percent to 50 percent) and eighth-grade mathematics (from 25 percent to 50 percent); and increasing student achievement percentages of students proficient or advanced on the NAEP fourth-grade reading (from 24 percent to 50 percent) and eighth-grade reading (from 22 percent to 50 percent).

The reform agenda is available at www.nevadaracetothetop.org and outlines a comprehensive plan for reform in six key areas: state success factors, standards and assessments, data systems to support instruction, great teachers and leaders, turning around the lowest achieving schools and general selection criteria.

The federal Race to the Top Fund is a competitive grant program designed to encourage and reward states that are creating the conditions for education innovation and reform, achieving significant improvement in student outcomes, including making substantial gains in student achievement, closing achievement gaps, improving high school graduation rates, and ensuring student preparation for success in college and careers, and implementing ambitious plans in core education reform area.

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