The Pros and Cons of Schooling in Las Vegas

Deciding where to send your child to school is an important decision and one that requires thorough consideration. Read on to find out the advantages and disadvantages of schooling your child in Las Vegas…

[Guest Post]

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Unfortunately, the state of Nevada ranks relatively low when comparing education results to other US states, but that’s not to say there aren’t some highly coveted schools. Clark County School District (CCSD) is one of the largest and most diverse districts in the US. So, it’s no surprise that your child will have a number of institutes to choose from.  

From Technical High Schools to Academies of Performing Arts, Las Vegas has several schools that specialize in different subjects. No matter if your child is anticipating a sports scholarship or requires special educational needs, it’s important to consider all options to ensure you’re making a decision in their best interests. 

But before making that all-important decision, here are a few factors to bear in mind when placing your child in a school in Las Vegas…

The Pros of Schooling in Las Vegas

Las Vegas Is One of the Most Diverse Places to Go to School 

Due to a growing population and mass migration, the sheer volume of schools in Las Vegas is vast. In fact, in a state that has nearly 700 schools, the Las Vegas Valley region has nearly 400 of those schools, making it the most diverse school district in Nevada.

The U.S. Census Bureau said Nevada’s diversity index was 68.8 percent — the third highest in the US after Hawaii and California. The diversity index predicts that if two people in the state were chosen at random, they would almost certainly be from different racial and ethnic groups.

This diversity can benefit children in schools in many ways. It teaches children from a young age to socialize with other children of all different races and nationalities and is likely to instill a mindset that favors equality.

The Neighbourhoods with the Best Middle and Elementary Schools

Although the state of Nevada doesn’t rank very highly overall, Las Vegas as a city is still home to several high-quality schools, including public, private, and charter. 

Niche ranked the top schools in the Clark County School District (CCSD), and the top neighborhoods appeared to be:

  • Henderson
  • Anthem
  • Green Valley Ranch
  • Summerlin
  • Centennial Hills

Most notably, Somerset Academy of Las Vegas in Henderson was ranked the best public elementary and middle school in Nevada, and it has multiple locations throughout town.

Distance Learning for Special Needs Education Continues to Thrive

Last year, it was announced that Clark County School District teachers will work with parents of special needs students to create individualized education plans for full-time distance learning.

Though many schools have returned to teaching in classrooms, it is slightly more complex for students who have special needs. Often, there are stricter regulations in place for individuals who are in care or under supervision. It is, therefore, imperative that plans for distance learning continue to develop.

Nevada Educational Advocacy and Tutoring, or NEAT Services, has in-person or at-home learning options with instructors who have backgrounds in special education. Their Homeschool Help Program has already benefited hundreds of children and is an excellent alternative to public or private education.

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The Cons of Schooling in Las Vegas

Nevada Is Ranked as One of the Worst States to Go to School

According to several reports, Nevada schools consistently rank among the worst in the nation. For years, more than 100 district schools received failing grades from the state, including at least one school where an incomprehensible 99 percent of students are below grade level in math.

The Nevada State Education Association, for example, advocates limiting the use of student data in teacher evaluations and has pledged to make the existing system even weaker. While reducing this metric from 40 to 15 percent gives the employees a better chance at passing clearly, it cannot be seriously argued that such a policy disadvantages the interests of students.

High Crime Rate in Las Vegas is Well Above the National Average

Though it’s not directly related to education, looking at the crime rates in certain cities is important due to the increasing number of high school shootings, amongst other concerns. 

In Las Vegas, the crime rate is well above the national average. Neighborhood Scout claims that the city is only 12 percent safer than other US cities, and despite most annual crimes in the city related being to property, 3,574 are of a more sinister, violent nature.

Since 2009, at least 177 of America’s schools have experienced a shooting. In 2018, an 18-year-old student was shot and killed on school grounds at Canyon Springs High School, and just a few days ago police investigated a shooting at Desert Oasis High School.

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The City’s Large Population Means That Classes Are Often at Maximum Capacity

Due to the city’s incredibly large population, classrooms in Las Vegas are often overcrowded and teachers are stretched for resources. 

In 2018, data from the National Education Association showed that Nevada classrooms have added an average of seven students over three years, with some classes known to have over 50 students. 

The increasing number of students in classrooms has left the district in a budget crisis, with cuts continuing to be made without consideration for the growing population. Although having an effective educator, no matter the class size should be beneficial to students, it’s no wonder rankings are low when the capability is unable to meet capacity.   

Get Involved in the Legislation Process to Make a Real Change

Talking to your child about what school they’d like to go to, as well as attending open days and doing your own research, will ensure you make the right decision for your child. 

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records, but also gives parents certain rights concerning their children’s education records.

To make real change, parents must try to stay involved in their child’s education, such as regularly talking to teachers, and checking their legislative rights.