Education Reform Blue Ribbon Task Force

On March 15, 2010, Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons signed an Executive Order forming the Nevada Education Reform Blue Ribbon Task Force to guide and oversee Nevada's Race to the Top application—Nevada's Promise: Excellence, Rigor, and Equity—and to facilitate public and private discussion and consensus for overall reform of public education for Nevada's children. Although Nevada's Promise was not selected as a finalist in the federal Race to the Top competition for education funds, the grant program served as a catalyst for unprecedented statewide collaboration. 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 primary directive of the task force is to advance the goals set forth in Nevada's Promise through:

  • Establishing data systems to serve teachers, parents, children and policy makers that link teacher evaluations to the growth in student learning;
  • Adopting a common set of college and career-readiness standards and an assessment system to measure success in learning those standards;
  • Implementing early reading interventions in selected schools;
  • Recruiting and developing great teachers and leaders; and
  • Turning around the lowest achieving schools with a special focus on educating children in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) disciplines

Education Reform Blue Ribbon Task Force Responsibilities

  • Facilitate discussion and consensus among public and private stakeholders in building a knowledge base of "lessons learned" from the Race to the Top grant competition;
  • Encourage public and private involvement in a review of Nevada's education infrastructure and recommend measures designed to ensure that we are providing a fair and appropriate education that will support the future of our state and diversification of our economy;
  • Facilitate a statewide dialogue on reform of our public education delivery system;
  • Consult with relevant stakeholders to develop a plan to improve the results of our state's public education system, from K-12 through higher education; and
  • Develop legislative and regulatory recommendations supporting the mission that may address, among other matters, governance, academic standards, teacher performance and resource allocation

Nevada's Promise: Excellence, Rigor, and Equality

Nevada's Promise represents the first truly tough-minded, bold approach to changing the way we do business in education in Nevada. Nevada has 436,000 students who are depending on us to deliver Nevada's Promise—that every school will be led by an effective principal, every classroom will be led by an effective teacher and every student will graduate. Guiding this work is the Managed Performance/Empowerment (MPE) model, a theory of action based on clear goals and solid accountability that has led to success in educational systems across the country. Managed instruction and earned autonomy are the guiding principles of MPE, which requires:

  • Tightly aligned standards, curriculum, instruction, intervention, assessment, and professional development;
  • Selection and hiring of high-quality staff;
  • Effective and equitable resource allocation based on the needs of students;
  • Supportive state, district, and school structures;
  • Parent/community engagement;
  • Transparent accountability and communication, including holding staff responsible for meeting clear, concrete performance expectations;
  • Reliance upon effective data and monitoring systems to track accountability;
  • Empowerment-orientation, in which increasing levels of autonomy are granted based on increased performance; and
  • Establishment of clear, rigorous goals for students, teachers, principals, schools, districts, higher education, and the state.

Nevada will achieve five specifically-targeted objectives of Nevada's Promise by 2014 (data based on 2009 results):

  • Increase the graduation rate to 85% using the longitudinal cohort model;
  • Reduce the achievement gap by 50% for African American-white and Hispanic-white on National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP);
  • Increase graduates enrolling in post-secondary institutions in- or out-of-state by 50%;
  • Increase student achievement percentage of students proficient or advanced on the NAEP fourth-grade mathematics (from 32% to 50%) and eighth-grade mathematics (from 25% to 50%); and
  • Increase student achievement percentage of students proficient or advanced on the NAEP fourth-grade reading (from 24% to 50%) and eighth-grade reading (from 22% to 50%).

Operating with the principles of MPE at the forefront, Nevada will sustain a tightly aligned instructional system, balancing school and district autonomy with comprehensive state and local accountability systems.

For a copy of the executive summary or full-length version of Nevada’s Promise, please visit the Resources tab.

Education Reform Blue Ribbon Task Force Working Groups

The Education Reform Blue Ribbon Task force will continue its work to implement the long-term education reforms detailed in the agenda, as charged by the governor's executive order. The task force has organized into three working groups—governance, legislation and public will and communication—to advance the goals set forth in Nevada's Promise.

For more information on the Education Reform Blue Ribbon Task Force members and working groups, please visit the Task Force tab.