Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Dean Metcalf Writes Article for the Las Vegas Sun

Dean Kim Metcalf of UNLV COE

Recently,  Dr. Kim Metcalf, Dean of the College of Education, wrote an editorial for the  Las Vegas Sun newspaper entitled  "Who is Really the 'Worst' in Education?"  The article was published on February 9th, 2014 in response to the "Quality Counts" national study released by Education Week.  According to this study, Nevada comes in dead last as a quality place to raise a child in the United States.  Dean Metcalf responds with a different perspective on the report. 

In response to the results of this national study, Dean Metalf declares:
"To that final and most fundamental question, my response is twofold and straightforward.
One, the report is a damning indictment of the extent of Nevada’s commitment to its children and of the level of support we provide them to achieve adult success.
Two, and despite the headline of the article, the results of the report present a comparatively and surprisingly positive picture of the quality and impact of public education and educators in the state." ( Las Vegas Sun)
Dean Metcalf goes on to analyze the results of the study and report on what those results really mean.  He determines that, while we may be ranked 51st, that is not a clear representation of all of the data reported.  Nevada ranks above average in the school production of student achievement growth, on establishing standards for assessing accountability and quality of teaching, for having processes for allocating incentives for educator effectiveness, and we rank highly in the equality of educational funding.  
Unfortunately, Dean Metcalf uncovers a disturbing problem about that last point:
"Among our highest ratings, Nevada is sixth in terms of equality of educational funding. Unfortunately, this high ranking indicates that per pupil funding ($8,454) in Nevada is distributed in ways that are virtually unrelated to students’ educational needs or community characteristics...We don’t invest very much in educating our children, and what we do invest is spent with no distinction among students, schools or communities of greater or lesser need."  ( Las Vegas Sun)
Dean Metcalf summarizes his findings by concluding:
"We are among the very worst performing states in addressing nonschool factors that are highly related to student achievement and adult success, and we provide little support to schools and to educators compared with most states. In contrast, we have comparatively highly ranked accountability and incentive measures in place for our schools and teachers, and the student achievement growth that our schools produce is in the top 10... we may actually be getting a surprisingly high (though far less than “top level”) rate of return given the size of our investment."  ( Las Vegas Sun)


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