One thing nearly every Nevadan agrees on is the dismal state of our current education system. Specifically, the Clark County School District (CCSD), which is the 5th largest in the nation and has some of the worst academic outcomes.
The establishment’s favorite talking point is that schools are underfunded — however, this complaint rings hollow given massive increases in funding over the last 7 years, beginning with a massive Republican-led tax increase in 2015. Throughout the years, each funding increase has failed to fix the problem for one simple reason: funding alone isn’t what’s plaguing the system.
Superintendent Jara, in his February 2022 “State of the Schools Address,” set a goal for reading proficiency in third grade to a mere 39 percent. Apparently, getting just over one-third of third graders to an acceptable reading level would be an improvement worthy of celebration for public school administrators — but it’s an absolute travesty for the thousands of families who are being failed by a bigotry of low expectations within the system. With a budget of nearly $3 billion for CCSD, taxpayers are simply not getting much for their money and kids are not getting the education they deserve.
This is one of the many reasons parents have been pushing for educational alternatives in this state for almost a decade. Waitlists on charter schools seem to be getting longer by the day as parents clamor for alternatives, and more than 70 percent of Americans believe families should be allowed to take the public funding for their child’s education elsewhere if their local public school isn’t providing adequate education.
That is why Education Freedom for Nevada PAC filed an appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court last week challenging a lower court's ruling against our proposed ballot measure. The initiative would allow Nevadans to vote for the creation of Education Freedom Accounts, which would permit families to use a portion of the per pupil funding to pay eligible providers for educational services.
The Supreme Court ruled against our appeal. The right to direct democracy by way of petition has been severely limited by this court's decision which has far reaching ramifications beyond this case. Nevadans who believe that the constitution allows the people to “legislate by initiative” should be concerned with the burden that the court has placed to fund future amendments and restrict the legislature's actions.
The constitution authorizes the Legislature to “provide by law for procedures to facilitate” the people’s power to legislate by initiative. Nev. Const. art. 19, § 5.
In all our time working in parental advocacy, one major theme that has emerged is education freedom. Parents are tired of the status quo approach to education. Parents, not lawmakers, should have the freedom to choose the classroom that best meets their child’s needs.
Our efforts to reverse the district courts’ ruling is about making education a primary issue among parents as we go into a crucial election year and the next legislative session.This petition is about creating an educational choice program in Nevada that is directed by parents.
While this is a temporary setback, it only solidifies our resolve to bring educational freedom to Nevada parents. We will never stop fighting for our kids. We are awaiting the hearing in this court for our statutory initiative and look forward to pleading our case once again.
By Erin Phillips - President of Power2Parent and Chairwoman of Education Freedom Nevada PAC
(Warning: Explicit Content)
(Some names in this article have been changed to protect the student who may be seeking criminal and civil complaints against CCSD and the teacher involved in this incident).
Candra Evans’ daughter, “Jessica” is a sophomore at a local Las Vegas high school. She loves her school and is a good student. One morning Candra was going through some school papers Jessica had left behind and was surprised to find a monologue typed on a piece of paper that had fallen out of her binder. The content was completely inappropriate and pornographic. Candra texted a picture to Jessica and asked what this was. She told her mother that her teacher had assigned students in her class to write monologues. First drafts were written, turned in, reviewed and edited by the teacher, Mrs. H. Then the monologues were handed out randomly to the students. The students were instructed to memorize the assigned monologue and act it out in front of the class. This is the actual assignment posted on Canvas.
Jessica memorized the monologue and performed it in front of her class. She told her mother that if Mrs. H. thought it was ok, then it was fine for her to present it to the class. Candra did not agree. The monologue read like this:
“I don’t love you. It’s not you, it’s just (looks down) your d**k. I don’t like your d**k or any d**k in that case. I cheated Joe. We were long distance and I’m in college and me and this girl, my roommate, started having some drinks and you know, I thought it was a one time thing but then we started going out for coffee, and started sleeping in the same bed. I never thought it would get this far but God, it was like fireworks, and made me realize that with you it was always like a pencil sharpener that keeps getting jammed. I’ve tried to look at it from all different perspectives, but the truth is, I’m a f*****g lesbian. I’ll never love you or any man, or any f*****g d**k. I hope you find a nice straight girl because that’s not me, and I’m tired of pretending that it is.”
Candra took the copy of the monologue and drove to the school and met with the assistant principal, Mr. H. Candra’s husband, who is currently deployed with the U.S. military, attended the meeting via Signal. In the meeting Mr. H. agreed that the content of the monologue should never have been used for an assignment and that he would talk to the teacher and call the Evans’ back that day to report. Candra requested that he have his female assistant be present when he spoke to Jessica and he agreed. Candra never received a call from the assistant principal and Jessica said that when they talked there was no female present. The Evans’ could see by the lack of response that this situation was going to get swept under the rug.
Candra emailed and requested another meeting, this time with the teacher, the counselor, and Mr. H., the assistant principal. That meeting went poorly. Candra wanted to give this teacher the benefit of the doubt. Maybe she didn’t know what the assignment said. Maybe there was a substitute that day and this monologue got past her. Instead Mrs. H. indicated that she had in fact reviewed the monologue with the student who wrote it and eliminated the “worst parts.” This was very surprising and disappointing to the Evans’ because her explanation confirmed the seriousness of her extremely poor judgment. Candra gave Mrs. H. every opportunity to apologize; to admit that she should have had better judgment when she was reviewing the student monologues. Mrs. H. was Jessica’s favorite teacher and she trusted her teacher’s judgment when it was time to perform the monologue. At the time, Jessica really felt that if Mrs. H. thought the assignment was ok then it probably was even though Jessica didn’t fully understand the meaning of what she was performing. Mrs. H. stood by her assignment and also said that if Jessica was uncomfortable, “she should have said no”. The counselor and assistant principal echoed her sentiment until Candra told them that it is HER job and THEIR job to ensure that obscene material did not end up in front of her daughter. As a parent she should have been notified that this was happening and given her consent for Jessica to participate. Jessica is a minor and should not be expected to judge the appropriateness of an assignment by her adult teacher.
Candra left the meeting that day feeling upset and overwhelmed. She reached out to the region superintendent's office, called and left messages twice on two different days. While awaiting a call back, she searched the internet for parental advocacy. Candra found Power2Parent and reached out to President Erin Phillips, and shared her story. Erin was able to arrange a meeting with a school associate superintendent, and went with Candra as a parent advocate to that meeting. Candra also wanted to testify to the board of trustees to get her story on the record. Deborah Earl, VP of Power2Parent, accompanied Candra to that board meeting and walked her through the process of testifying because she had never attended or testified at a public meeting before. Here is a video of how she was treated at the board meeting:
Candra was not allowed to read the content of the assignment because it was inappropriate. She was chided for using vulgar language and Trustee Morales asked for decorum. Candra asked the obvious question, “How do you think my daughter felt reciting this to her class and yet I’m not allowed to read it here?” Trustees allowed Candra to finish her testimony but was not allowed to share the content of the assignment in her testimony. Trustee Danielle Ford later slandered her on Twitter.
We are so proud of Candra for bravely standing up to elected officials, CCSD administration and this teacher to advocate for her child. Her only agenda is to protect Jessica and she has been vilified for speaking up.
As parents we cannot be silenced by the people who are entrusted with our children. Educators are accountable to parents. Government schools are funded by taxpayers and they exist for families, not the other way around. As parents, we have a serious responsibility to protect the innocence of children and raise them the way we see fit. This is why we work to protect our rights and advocate for our children.
Power2Parent exists to ensure that parents are heard and that their rights are respected and protected. We will continue to work to protect the rights of ALL parents and we will continue to work with Candra until this situation is resolved to her satisfaction.
This story is important because it speaks to a national trend of students in schools being assigned obscene material in class and how parents are treated when they object. The video of Candra's testimony from the school board meeting was ultimately picked up from Libs of TikTok, an account with 1.2M followers. The tweet went viral with over 20K retweets and nearly 60K likes. It has racked up over 2.2M views, and was shared by Donald Trump Jr.
National and local media reports on Candra’s story:
Nevada mom goes viral after school board cuts her mic during meeting
CCSD responds after mom sharing daughter's assignment goes viral
Nevada school board cuts off mother after exposing graphic book.
(Fox 5 News Local Las Vegas)
Fox and Friends
(Some details in this report are incorrect because Fox indicated that the assignment was an excerpt from a book rather than a student-generated assignment).
Matt Walsh discusses the sexualization of children in schools
Mom reads aloud purported assignment given to her daughter. School board cuts her mic because it’s too obscene.
The Review Journal
Victor Joecks: School Board scolds mom for violating "decorum".
The Epoch Times
Las Vegas Mother Reads Obscene Content From Daughters Assignment, School Board Mutes Her Mic
We want to recognize the news outlet that proved to be the most unreliable. Newsweek picked up Candra’s story and based it on a CCSD tweet that was later pulled down. Reporters never reached out to Candra or Power2Parent for comment or clarification and got the story completely wrong. Please see their “fact checked” summary.
Fact Check: Was Clark County mom silenced over "graphic" school assignment
By Deborah Earl, VP Power2Parent
For years, sex education in Nevada has been a lightening rod between the Clark County School District Board of Trustees and parents. In fact, the fight for science-based reproductive education is what students were offered until April 28th, 2022 when the trustees voted for a series of lessons for middle and high school students developed by Advocates for Youth. Before the vote, the majority of parents in attendance testified against this curriculum because it is explicit in nature. Many other parents, who could not attend in person, emailed explaining why they did not appreciate the addition of lessons that included role play exercises so students could learn how to appropriately ask for sex. The only value taught is consent, because after all - it’s just a hookup, just sex, what’s the big deal?
Thousands of parents have shown up to trustee meetings and asked our elected officials not to approve Comprehensive Sexuality Education since at least 2014. Thursday evening’s swift approval with no discussion or acknowledgement of how parents feel speaks volumes about how our elected officials view their constituencies; they don’t care. Their vote illustrated their opinion that parents do not know what is best for their children and must abdicate their right to decide what is best for their child to government schools that shepherd them through social-engineered, activist “education.”
These lessons alter established societal norms relative to gender, encourage early sexual debut, promote abortion, and downplay the seriousness of STD’s on health outcomes. Additionally, these lessons are ideologically driven and political in nature. The Advocates for Youth website reads:
“Young people understand that reproductive and sexual health and rights are inextricably tied to social justice and the fight for liberation. Join thousands of youth activists and adult allies as we build a better and more equitable world.”
What does “social justice” and “the fight for liberation” and a “more equitable world” have to do with the science of reproduction? Parents have rejected this radical turn in sex ed that does not serve our students. Parents expect accountability in reading, writing, math and science. They want their children to be principally grounded in honesty, kindness, understanding of personal responsibility and love the gift of freedom. Our future depends on a well educated workforce to be competitive in a global market and in Nevada we are failing miserably in this metric.
Power2Parent has been on the front line raising awareness for parents so they can make informed choices about their child’s education and protecting their right to parent their children as they see fit. After all, parents are the experts on their children and know best when more information relating to sex is appropriate for their child. We are disappointed that Trustees Cepeda, Brooks, Garcia-Morales, and Guzman chose to foist this on parents but, in spite of their lack of judgment and inability to listen to the parents who elected them, we are the parents and we do have empowering choices. What can we do to help build a strong educational foundation in Nevada so every parent can choose the educational situation that best fits their child’s needs.
1. Vote for candidates who support funding students instead of failing systems like CCSD . The current makeup of the legislature is not a friend to choice. In fact, in the 2019 session, lawmakers gutted the Opportunity Scholarship program created to help low-income students get scholarships to private schools. Thousands of needy kids lost their scholarships and were forced back into their failing public school. Teachers unions do not want you to have choice so they pour money into campaigns that will bend to their wishes and keep Nevada taxpayers on the hook for billions.
2. Stay involved and informed by signing up to be a member of our Power2Parent Union at www.power2parent.org. We will keep you informed through email and text alerts for important information and calls to action.
3. Inform family and friends in your communities about issues facing families and parental rights. If you do not want your child to be present for these lessons, you can talk to their counselor about alternative ways to take health or just opt out of sex education during those lessons.
Our goal is to strengthen parental rights especially in education. We are building a parent army for the thousands of Nevadans who are desperate for educational alternatives. Parents are the new special interest group in town. Join us!
CCSD to have students role-play asking for sex. Las Vegas Review Journal
We are parents fighting for our kids. NY Post
Deborah Earl, VP Power2Parent
In the uncertainty of covid-19, there’s one thing we can all be certain of: this is not normal. A grocery store with totally empty aisles is not normal. Staying 6 feet away from the closest person is not normal. Wearing a mask in public is not our normal, and schooling at home during a pandemic is not normal. Even parents who homeschool their children are normally able to attend parks & museums, make use of play-dates and co-ops, and include their children in a normal out of the house routine.
As we struggle to adapt to the changes involved with school and being isolated at home we should keep the emphasis on doing what is best and what works best for our families. Daily learning in traditional public school is regimented, scripted, measured, and scored. This regimented system cannot possibly be replicated in our homes and challenges associated with working from home, working out of the home and working with several children at different levels is a lot of pressure to put on a parent in a “not normal” situation. Attempting to replicate a traditional classroom, would only add stress to an overly stressful time.
So, how can we teach our kids now that school has been canceled? The answer is, there is no “one right answer” and only you can decide what works best for you and your family. If you have the mental moxy to take on a daily schedule of learning, find a curriculum that suits you. You don’t need to use the same textbooks or methods used in your child’s classroom. There are lots of different ways to learn the same information. There are a lot of different online curriculums that teach standard requirements in different ways with different learning methods. Find what works for you and your family.
If traditional curricula doesn’t work for you and your schedule, find ways to teach your kids life skills as you go throughout your day.
Involve your kids in making your budget. Have them help you plan and prepare your meals. Show them how to reconcile your bank statements. Teach them to take out the trash, wash the windows, clean the bathroom, wash the dishes, and sweep the floor. Anything and everything you do can be turned into a learning opportunity.
Learning can be a game of Monopoly for math or Bananagrams for spelling. It can be baking cookies and doubling the recipe to learn measurements. It never hurts to have more than one great cook in the house! Learning can be reading a good book together instead of watching TV. Take turns reading a page and look up new words to increase vocabulary. Learning can be the physics of flying a kite on a windy day.
Hilary Hughes and Stephanie Jones, Professors at the University of Georgia explain that “what is happening is not homeschooling. It is not distance learning. It is not online schooling,” and “we have a collective opportunity to answer the call of our unprecedented time and make today’s education as humane, generous, caring, and yes, even as joyful as we possibly can.”
Not only will you be teaching academics in a fun way, you’ll be teaching life skills your children will need when they are out on their own, which is equally as important as the book skills they learn in school.
We at Power2Parent believe that parents are their children’s best educators and that education does not have to be measured by academic achievement. We have so many lessons we can impart to our children while we are home together. The possibilities are endless and the benefits are too. Discovering how to be together, how to be kinder, how to strengthen our relationships, play, learn and create are life skills that will have lasting benefits that will effectively compensate for the lost days of the school year.
"We are trying to protect people who don't understand they are in danger and who know more about technology than we do."
-Detective Sean Taylor
LVMPD Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force
Did you miss the class? Here are some highlights:
Who is most at risk for being preyed upon?
-Prolonged/Frequent use of technology
-No standards or expectations set by the parents
-No limitations set by the parents
What are the hazardous characteristics of apps that prey on children:
-Chat and/or Video Chat Feature
-Interactive with Other Apps
For more information on keeping your kids safe online visit:
POWER2PARENT PARENTING TOOLS
"Play is often talked about as if were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning."