To other cost ineffective uses of education dollars

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to other cost-ineffective uses of education dollars, the $6.6 million Nevadans will spend on this program during the 2013-2015 budget cycle could be used more effectively elsewhere. 140 Reform #20: Stop paying prevailing wages for school construction. Facilities construction and maintenance is a major expense for public school districts and this cost is in fl ated by state regulations that effectively require public contractors to pay union wages on all school-construction projects. 141 In 1997, Ohio lawmakers exempted public-school construction from that state’s prevailing-wage laws with the passage of Senate Bill 102. 142 Five years later, legislative staff reviewed the bill’s fi scal impact on school districts and revealed that the change had reduced construction costs by 10.7 percent with no apparent difference in the quality of construction. As a result, public school districts had saved $487.9 million over the span of fi ve years. 143 An equivalent rate of savings in Nevada would have left public school districts with an additional $72.6 million during the 2009-10 and 2010-11 school years. 144 Reform #21: Redirect premium pay for advanced degrees. Research shows that outside of math and science, teachers who earn advanced degrees are no more effective at educating students than teachers without such degrees. 145 Yet, Nevada’s teacher compensation system awards salary bonuses to teachers who obtain master’s degrees regardless of the quality of the program from which they acquire the degree. This practice simply in fl ates the demand for graduate degrees and promotes a proliferation of graduate programs of questionable quality without conferring additional bene fi ts to students. Scholars agree that full-day kindergarten fails to help students achieve at higher rates over their lifetime. $328 million $81 million $7 million $73 million $161 million $650 million Class-size reduction Full-day kindergarten Preschool Prevailing wage Premium pay for advanced degrees Total Estimated Biennial Savings Available From Elimination of Ineffective Programs
30 Nationwide, 90 percent of teachers who earn master’s degrees do not obtain those degrees in content fi elds such as math or science, but in education. During the 2007-08 school year, 59 percent of Nevada’s teachers received additional compensation for holding a master’s degree, causing school districts to pay an additional $80.4 million in compensation. Over a two-year budget cycle, that cost would reach about $161 million. Education scholars from across the political spectrum agree that offering premium pay to teachers simply for obtaining an advanced degree is an ineffective use of limited education dollars. The left-leaning Center for American Progress, for instance, derides “the disconnect between the goal of improving student achievement and the tradition of paying teachers extra simply for holding post-baccalaureate sheepskin.” 146 Inject market forces into public education The evidence that school choice is among the most cost-effective strategies for elevating student

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