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Nevada Schools, Like Arizona's, Could Lose Teachers, Staff

Principals and teachers are losing jobs because students aren't earning scores the state wants. This week, Arizona took over almost a dozen public schools that failed No Child Left Behind standards. Some Nevada schools have had trouble meeting the same standards since 2002. Kids First's Kendall Tenney found out those schools could now also lose teachers and principals, just like in Arizona.

Many of Brynn Songer's students at Ruby Thomas Elementary have difficulty with the No Child Left Behind tests. In order to catch up, she says test subjects have taken over her curriculum. "I can't say that I've spent as much time as I want to spend on it, that the kids know what I want them to know because I'm too busy worrying about that test."

There's a reason to worry. Last year, Kids First showed you the impact scores have on schools, like McCall Elementary. After two years of failing scores, the title one school had to give parents the option to pull kids off campus and put them in nearby schools.

Kids First obtained documents showing how serious the problem is in Arizona. Schools there are replacing principals, putting others on probation and replacing teachers. Nevada has similar options for restructuring. Our state board could fire staff members, turn campuses over to private companies, create charter schools or even turn the schools over to the state if student scores remain too low for too long.

"If everyone went to a perfect school, and lived in a perfect home then this plan might work." It's a dream world Brynn says doesn't exist on her campus, leaving teachers like her responsible for the reality.

Title one schools, which the state evaluates differently, could face takeovers in 2006. It would only happen if they remained on the "needs improvement" list for five years because of low scores. All other Clark County campuses wouldn't be at risk until 2008.



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