Letter to the editor:

We are letting our kids down

Inadequate resources lead to neglect and abuse in our public schools. The vast majority of states devote dramatically more resources per pupil than Nevada does. Nevada overcrowds children into confined spaces and requires them to perform tasks without adequate support.

Nevada has the largest class sizes in the nation. We all can see the impact of an overcrowded restaurant. We wait to get in, to order food, and to get our meals. There can be more tension, stress, conflicts and mistakes.

Students have mental, physical, social and emotional needs, just like adults. Imagine being forced to sit at the DMV for seven hours a day, five days a week.

Public school employees are overwhelmed. Our schools feed, clothe, supply, support, counsel, motivate, socialize, coach, mentor, chaperone, protect, apply tourniquets and allergy shots, and educate Nevada’s children.

Nevada also has a teacher shortage and high teacher turnover because of inadequate pay and health care, overburdened working conditions, a decade of lip service and a lack of respect. This burdens employees trying to support substitute teachers and acclimate new teachers.

We often hear about how competition and choice can drive quality, but wouldn’t raising school employee pay create competition for these jobs? The most important factor in student achievement that we can control is the quality of their teachers. Until Nevada addresses the past decade of underfunding and overcrowding of students, our communities will suffer.