By Adam Laxalt
Education is the civil rights issue of our time. There are many important challenges I’ll address if I have the honor of serving as Nevada’s next Governor, but my top priority will be ensuring all of Nevada’s children have access to the quality education they deserve.
I’ve worked with some of Nevada’s best teachers, administrators and policymakers — from the public and private education realms — over the last few months to develop an education plan that will help us deliver on the promise of a great education for every Nevada student, and help ensure our local schools are as effective as possible in accomplishing that goal.
One of the most important things we can do is bring greater transparency and accountability to our education system. We must fund education properly — and I’ve pledged to do so as Governor — but we must also make sure those resources are used as effectively as possible. Today, our education system suffers from an unacceptable lack of transparency. It’s almost impossible for citizens — and many policymakers — to get reliable information on education spending in our local school districts. That’s why I’ll create a first-of-its-kind, online “Education Checkbook,” which will increase accountability and provide Nevadans with complete and accurate information on how and where every education dollar is spent.
Of course, improving education also requires excellent teachers. They’re on the front lines. Unfortunately, Nevada faces teacher shortages in a number of important areas, and I’ll develop new teacher talent through a program I’ve introduced called “Tomorrow’s Teachers.” Under this plan, students receive a scholarship to pursue a degree from a Nevada university or college in areas where we face critical teacher shortages, and agree to then teach for a set number of years in a Nevada district school. This program will go a long way toward addressing our crucial need to attract top teaching talent, especially in our rural communities.
We also must do more to match our education system with the workforce needs of our state’s employers. That’s why I’ve pledged to increase funding for Career and Technical Education programs, which do an incredible job of preparing students for career success and ensuring our employers have access to the skilled workforce they need.
Finally, I want to note something important about education funding. I’ve stated my opposition to the Commerce Tax on our businesses, and some have asked how we’ll be able to properly fund education without that tax’s revenue. It’s important to remember the Commerce Tax produces an extremely small portion of our revenue — just 2.3 percent of the General Fund and less than 1 percent of total state spending. The combination of continuing economic growth, marijuana taxes, and improved efficiency in state government will be more than enough to cover the lost revenue.
Nevada faces many challenges in education policy, but I believe the solutions are within our reach. And I’m confident that my platform will help ensure Nevada’s next chapter in education is our best yet. Our kids deserve nothing less.
Adam Paul Laxalt is Nevada’s Attorney General and a Republican candidate for Governor.