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Calls for more concrete action addressing Clark County School District achievement disparities

The Clark County School District Headquarters at Sahara and Decatur in Las Vegas as seen in July 2020
Posted at 3:10 PM, Sep 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-29 22:00:08-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Still a lot of room for improvement. That’s what an education group is saying after hearing Clark County School District Superintendent Jesus Jara testify in front of members of Congress Wednesday morning. During that meeting, he addressed achievement gaps and inequities for students of color within CCSD and what’s being done to close those gaps.

Helping black and brown students succeed in the classroom. It’s been a pressing issue within CCSD for years. Superintendent Jesus Jara testified in front of the House education subcommittee and addressed inequities for students of color. He mentioned focusing on summer acceleration programs and expanding Pre-K opportunities.

“We know that our children, the earlier that we get them in our schools, I would say the better chances we have of eliminating some of the gaps,” he said.

RELATED: Las Vegas area community leaders push for more diversity in school district administration

Those are ideas the Las Vegas Alliance of Black Student Educators agree with but say there needs to be concrete action from the district.

“I feel that the testimony is a longshot of ideas that have not really been put into a sense of urgency and action,” Kamilah Bywaters, president of LVABSE, said.

Data from the Brookings Institution show Black and Hispanic students have a lower high school graduation rate than white and Asian students. Bywaters says one way the district can help is by offering to tutor students who are behind academically, using CCSD teachers. She says federal funding can help.

“They can also get grants and use their learning and their skills to help support students that they know,” she said.

Superintendent Jara told federal lawmakers funding is crucial in moving the district forward.

RELATED: CCSD Supt. Jesus Jara testifies at U.S. House education hearing

Bywaters says if CCSD gets more funding, she wants to see a review of what programs are working and get more input from communities impacted by disparity.

“I have not really seen an aggressive effort to communicate with historic west Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, east Las Vegas,” she said.

Bywaters says addressing the inequities successfully can help lift up all of CCSD.

“That helps everyone. Everyone has access to the resources that come and flow from that,” she said.

CCSD will continue to have virtual town halls on how it’s spending federal money. Details can be found here.