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LETTER: Academics come last in the Clark County School District

As a junior attending Clark High School, I frequently have the opportunity to tutor others. Recently, I encountered a fellow junior who needed help with Algebra I. And yet I found a far greater problem than one of just x’s and y’s. This particular junior could not even reliably add double-digit numbers such as 17 + 34. Nor could he say the alphabet in order after the letter “g.”

Recently, the Review Journal reported that the Clark County School District class of 2021 had a graduation rate of 80.94 percent. This means that 20 percent of our students — one out of every five who enters our schools — fails to learn the basic skills that they will need for life. How will they know when others are using their illiteracy to force them into signing harmful contracts? How will they know when they are being cheated out of their rightful pay?

For too long we have ignored this problem in our school district. Rather than attempt to ensure these students have the skills they need to thrive, the leaders of the district have allowed these students to advance through courses even if they have not learned the essentials. And, more recently, our leaders have chosen to reform how grades are measured instead of truly improving the education of students.

It is time that we come together as a community to hold our leaders accountable for our students’ education and to help all students acquire the basic skills they need so that, truly, “No Child is Left Behind.”

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