Category Archives: university

UC protests

Every Sunday, I take a look at the news to get abreast of what’s happening in the world, and of course, to see if there is anything I can contribute to the Monday Evening discussion of law and schools for my Nevada School Law Course.

Tonight, I flipped on to find that California has raised tuition to all of their public universities by 32%.

My question is:

How in hell are we supposed to get an education if we can’t afford it?

The UC protests are close to home.  It only takes 5 hours to drive from my apartment in Vegas to the campus of UCLA.  If the tuition increase stands in Cali, how are students in Nevada supposed to relax knowing that they just may be next?

What happens in Cali affects us.  When the Northridge Earthquake hit Los Angeles in 1994, we felt the tremors here in Vegas.  I remember being at a friends house when the apartment started to shake.  We turned on the news the next day to find whole sections of the 10 and 5 freeways laying in rubble on the ground.  The movies “Speed” and “Lethal Weapon 3” all had scenes in them that were missing sections of freeway because of the quake.  Almost overnight, the population of Las Vegas went from 620,000 to over 1.2 million.  The city doubled in size because of the quake.  Now tell me that what happens in Cali doesn’t affect Nevada.

UCLA, UC Berkley, etc, they all have tremendous reputations for turning out some of the finest students.  Are they now just reserved for the rich elite that can afford exorbitant tuition fees because of the depth of their parents pocketbooks? 

Now with the rising tuition costs, who says that Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons, the man who loves to gut and cut education in Nevada every chance he can get, won’t do the same?

It’s bad enough that the public education system in Nevada ranks 48th in the nation.  Let’s add a whole new list of problems that will arise from students leaving California schools to go to universities like UNR (Reno) and UNLV so that they can stay close to home, IF they can even afford tuition here at all with the out-of-state tuition fees.  What about Oregon and Arizona as well?  Arizona is the only state who is WORSE than Nevada on the national list for the standard of education, but with rising costs, where else are these students going to go?

What’s worse is how it will affect campuses like UNLV.  Undoubtedly, we will see an increase in enrollment, an increased demand for campus housing and other services provided by the UNLV.  How are we supposed to hold the influx of students that will come from this latest case of bureaucratic idiocy? It’s bad enough we have highway congestion that has resulted from Californians moving 5 hours up the road to Vegas, taking highways that were built for 620,000 that now have to service 2 million.  What about water?  Vegas is in the desert.  It’s bad enough that we have idiots running the Las Vegas Valley Water District, but worst of it all is that we have no rights to the water that runs down the Colorado River.  California took it all, doling out small portions to neighboring states in quantities that we can no longer survive on.  Ranch lands in Northern Nevada are being purchased wholesale, because of the water that lies beneath them, by people who have not a single solitary clue how to run a ranch or know diddly squat about cattle, yet California takes our water, then expects us to house, water and feed their residents because of the deterioration of their state.

It’s not Nevada’s fault that California can’t take care of itself.  Cali only has some of the richest people in the world living there, but they can’t cough up and help out their state?  How self-absorbed and pathetic. 

You know, it appalls me to no end that the U.S. Government wants us to stay on the cutting edge of technology and have the finest minds in the world, but the states forbid us from the education we seek and desire because of their own problems or greed.  It’s not the students fault that California is in a financial bind, so why should THEY have to pay for it?  Those students are trying to obtain an education that will allow them to get out into the workforce to make sure California doesn’t go under, but they can’t do that with rising tuition costs that make it impossible to go to school.

You know, it’s disgusting to think about education in America.  In Nevada, teachers start at $36,000 a year, and with the costs associated with living in Las Vegas, it is impossible to make ends meet on that kind of money.  We, as teachers, affect the world when we teach our students, we’re giving them the tools to succeed and be successful in life, but we are paid close to nothing to do a job that innately ensures the survival of our species.

In the end, this latest round of idiotic behavior by bureaucrats who have no earthly idea what it’s like to live in the real world, are going to end up screwing us ALL once again.  How sad. 

Keep protesting UC students!  I’m with you 100%!  Do NOT let them up your tuition!

Mid-Term today

Well, I spent all weekend reading, re-reading, quizzing myself, then reading some more for my NV School Law mid-term.  Doc McC says it’s going to be hard.  Well, in 3 hours I’ll know whether the course content stuck with me or not.

See, the whole thing about NV school law is that really, it’s the awareness that counts.  It’s valuable to know that law cases like Lemon v. Kurzman and a whole host of others exist.  I mean, they named a test after the Lemon Case, in which, and this is one I had to memorize…the Lemon Test:

  1. secular purpose
  2. doesn’t advance or impede religion
  3. no excessive government entanglement with religion.

Ok, basically, all it means is that if you’re teaching and you run into a sticky religious topic, you should really avoid it or if you’re going to tread on that ground, you have to make sure that you don’t violate any one of the 3 parts of the Lemon Test.  It’s really supreme court fodder, but it’s there just in case someone steps on their whatevers.

I’ve gone over fancy schmantzy vocabulary words like “Certiorari” which I turned into a mental cue called “Sure we’ll hear ya”, all it means is that you’re granted a hearing by a higher court.  Then there’s “Stare Decisis” which I call “Stare at the Decision”…it literally means “Let the decision stand”.  Then there’s Per Curium and that one, hell…I can’t make a mental cue about it no matter how hard I try…and it’s not sticking well, that’s the one that means that it’s an opinon of the entire court as opposed to an opinion rendered by a single justice.  How the heck do you make a mental cue out of that?  Well, I’m going to have to take my chances with that one and thank the gods that it’s a multiple choice and true/false test, hoping I’ll know it when I see it.

My school law class often makes me think about my pal Kathy.  She’s a paralegal along with being my surrogate mom.  How she knows this stuff day in and day out is beyond me.  But the one thing I find so peculiar about the whole “Law” thing is that it’s really all about common sense and simply lawyers get into the mix when someone’s common sense flies out the window.  I mean some of the stuff I’ve heard about in my school law class has been enough to make me absolutely blanche.  Some teachers just have their heads fly clean up their own asses.  Take for example this one lady teacher who made lewd comments to her student.  I mean what the hell was she thinking!!!  I would have not only thrown the book at her, I’d have smashed it over her head a couple of times.  The finding in that case?  “You have to maintain a distance from your students to remain impartial”.  No shit, ya think?  Oy veh.  But that’s the thing about common sense, it isn’t all that common.

Doc McC says that teaching is all about decision making, that we make more decisions in 20 minutes worth of class time than a principal or any other school administrator makes in their entire day.  Somehow I think that’s really true.  Teachers are at the front lines and we get paid like shit to make sure that the greater good is served, creating an educated society.

But over the last week, I’ve done nothing but go over constitutional amendments, fancy schmantzy words, been aghast at cases like Plessy v. Ferguson…oh and that one is just evil.   But then there are the ones that give you hope…like Brown v. Board of Education that finally integrated the schools.  Now to me, Brown v. Board is another common sense one.  I don’t give a shit if you are blue, green or aquamarine, we are all HUMAN.  H-U-M-A-N.  This means that if you’re a breathing human being, you deserve an education.  Separate yet equal?  Holy Lordy…that’s just ugh!!!  You can’t have separate yet equal as the courts found in Brown, that’s so violating the 14th amendment, it’s just common sense that everyone should get equal everything.  Tell me I can’t teach a child because of their skin color, religion or whathaveyou and you’ll see me get into Mother Bear mode and I’ll rip someone’s fool head off!   Every single child born should be given the best possible education.  That’s putting tools in their hands to create a great life, to find happiness and all the other good stuff that the founding fathers put in the Constitution…

What REALLY chaps my ass about the whole thing is the pay. As a teacher, I’m charged with having the responsibility to provide the best education I can.  I’m shaping the future, one student, one hour, one class at a time and that kind of dedication in Southern Nevada will get me $36k a year.  $36K for a job that money can’t even begin to possibly measure its effects on humanity.  I don’t get it.  Instead of a lawyer or even a valet parker here in Vegas making 100’s of thousands of dollars a year when they really don’t come close to how much impact they make on humanity as a teacher does…oh come on!  Then we’re expected to pay for all of our teaching supplies?  We pay to be a teacher while some valet parker just parks a car and makes 10 times what we do.  THEN if you want to move up the pay scale, you have to keep going to school.  Now I can understand the need to go and take more classes or workshops or clinics to stay current with the materials, new teaching techniques and whathaveyou, but it’s ludicrous to have to pay over $1000 a year just to make sure you move up the pay scale.  The retirement benefits are nice, but whew, you sure do have to be dedicated and love what you do to be a teacher. 

Personally, I think we’re worth a hell of a lot more than they pay us, but….there is a small matter of quality.  Now there are some teachers out there that suck.  Let’s face it, they are awful.  But, then for those who know me, know how good I am in a classroom.  I teach to the triple threat, the auditory, visual and tactile student.   I capture imaginations and make them work!  I teach with laughter…because if you’re not laughing you’re not learning.  If I can get a 60 year old to learn Photoshop and be proficient in it or if I can take an ADD disabled student and give them a better life, hell man, I’m further ahead of the game than most others.  But to be able to do what I do with no training at all, then ice the cake with the degree that will give me a license to teach and all of that knowledge put on top of my natural gifts?


But, gotta jet, I’ll be back after the mid-term to tell how it went.