tv Eye on Washington FOX February 27, 2016 6:30am-7:00am PST
a weekly discussion about the federal issues most important to nevada. and now, from washington, d.c., here's marilee joyce. >> and good day to you. i'm marilee joyce and this is "eye on washington," the only statewide nevada news program produced in washington, d.c. every week here on "eye on washington," we take you straight to capitol hill for a discussion with nevada's delegation and other top leaders about the federal matters that matter to nevadans. today's topic, he wants every student to succeed. we're going to tell you about one nevada leader's work to smarten up nevada's suffering education system. and he is my guest today. he is nevada u.s. congressman joe heck. thanks for being here today. >> thanks, marilee. >> we're dead last for the third year in the row. that's the nevada public education rating according to the most recent annie e. casey foundation report on children's well-being. and today on "eye on washington," we will tell you
the state out of the education cellar. we'll find out education's tie to nevada's doctor shortage as well. now, last december the house passed legislation considered to be a major overhaul of federal education policy. the every student succeeds act would replace the previous version of the elementary and secondary education act, that's also known as no child left behind. with a new law that ends one size fits all accountability requirements included in its predecessor. my guest is a big fan and release about his pro vote, he says he likes it, that it returns more control over education policy to states and to parents and prevents the federal government from what he calls coercing states into adopting common core education standards. in a statement, he says it, quote, will improve education outcomes for our students by taking control from federal bureaucrats and returning it to the people who actually work in our classrooms and
congressman, welcome back to "eye on washington." >> thank you. >> you also say the bill would, quote, empower parents to make education decisions that are best for their children and will improve education in nevada and around the nation. so we've got state control. we've got parental involvement. how does it help nevada's bottom-rated education system? which really is failing. >> sure. well, you know, no child left behind was the first attempt at trying to rewrite longstanding education policy. and many would believe that child left behind was laudable, but the execution was flawed. and so what we found under the one size fits all federal education standard of adequate yearly progress, schools had to have so many federally mandated tests that we were really teaching to the test. so there wasn't enough emphasis on instructional and there was this mandate from the federal government that schools had to meet certain benchmarks and if they failed to do so, the federal government could come in and take over the school.
through the education committee upon which i serve is to say, look, we need to empower the states, the local school districts, the teachers, the parents to really decide how best to educate our students. >> sure. >> so this bill gets rid of that one size fits all adequate yearly progress type standard and returns the responsibility for developing the accountability standards to the states. >> sure. >> not every state is the same. and even in a single state, not every school district is the same. >> and your argument on many issues that you have been here to talk about is the state knows better than the feds what's happening in its own backyard, correct? >> right. so this gives the state the opportunity to decrease the amount of federally mandated testing. we stop or significantly decrease the federal mandates on the number of tests that need to be done. we have also given the states more flexibility over how they utilize the federal education dollars that come to the state. one of the other things the bill does is it takes roughly 50 underperforming or duplicative education programs and does away with them.
those programs and creates a new flexible state grant that says, you know what, we're going to take this money, give it to the state and then allow the state to use it where they think it's best to use to help educate their students. >> how are things in nevada currently? i keep hoping for good news. and we just -- it feels like groundhog day every time you read we're still -- >> yeah. it's unfortunate. nevada has a lot of unique circumstances that many other school districts in many other states don't have. one especially in southern nevada is the high transient nature of our students and how the federal government calculates your dropout numbers. for instance, somebody who moves in to nevada and starts high school in 9th grade, if they move out of nevada in 10th grade, that's counted as a dropout. >> are you saying we're doing better than the numbers say? >> i think we are doing better than what the numbers say. we certainly still could be doing better. i applaud the governor. >> better-better? like instead of dead last, we could be 10 states up than
>> well, i think you can never succeed enough when it comes to educating our children. and i think that's why the governor putting an emphasis on education in the last legislative session was so important and the right thing to do. we have to make sure that our teachers, our schools, our administrators have the resources they need to adequately educate our youth so that they graduate high school, college or career ready. >> i saw in an amendment you authored was included in the house conference report. that would allow schools and school districts to better track the academic performance of military dependent students. are there a lot of military students in nevada? >> there are. when you look at the nellis air force base and the military dependents that actually go to schools within the clark county school district, not on base itself and all across the country, it's important to be able to track those students' educational attainment because they are subjected to so much turbulence. they move every three to four years to a new base. they are changing schools. this will help make sure we are taking care of the
>> and it would track them in the same way it tracks, say, low-income students or english -- >> english language learners. >> yeah. >> it's important to be able to break down certain sub segments of the student population and make sure we are meeting their specific needs. military dependents are one group that have not really had the emphasis that i believe is required when you think about their parents sacrificing so much to protect our nation. we need to make sure we're meeting those students' educational responsibilities. >> sounds great. when we return, we're going to talk about my guest's education solution to nevada's severe doctor shortage. there is a tie. and his bill is going to protect career and technical education funding. we're going to tell you all
>> and welcome back to "eye on washington." our discussion of efforts to improve nevada's failing education system. my guest today is here to tell us how. he is nevada u.s. congressman joe heck. well, let's look now at some recent education legislation my guest has either sponsored or advocated for on nevada's and the nation's behalf. are you having a hard time finding a doctor? you're certainly not alone. nevada is desperately short of both generalists and specialists. congressman and dr. heck is trying to change that.
bills, one that creates a federal grant program to create new residency programs or increase slots in existing ones. the other may be even bigger for nevada. focuses on increasing access to medical school for students at hispanic service institutions. doctors and researchers say a dearth of residency programs is a big reason nevadan doctors don't stay to practice in nevada. another heck effort is his career and technical education equity act. it prevents future career and technical education funding cuts of more than 10% a year. and, congressman, i saw that nevada, arizona and some other states face drastic underfunding of these cte programs. >> yeah. career technical education programs are so critically important to our state. you know, it helps prepare a student to be college or career ready upon graduating from high school. the great thing about career technical education is that
to changing workplace requirements and change curriculums to make sure a graduating student is ready to go to work in a specific career. and the clark county school district does a great job with their career and technical academies in this regard. the other thing about cte is that the students are energized and passionate about their career choice. so they are more likely to stay engaged in school, not drop out and do well. and in fact, over 90% of those in cte programs graduate and actually go on to more education. so they have a better demographic. what we have seen is there's been a move to try to decrease federal cte funding. and there was one proposal not long ago that would take $100 million out of federal cte funding. that $100 million from cte funding nationally would result in almost a $10 million cut to nevada, $4 million coming from the clark county school district alone. so we want to make sure that every school district has a fair and equitable portion of
education dollars. >> why would they cut something that's technology? where was it going? >> well, it was an attempt to just decrease budgetary numbers within the department of education. >> in general. >> the president proposed taking $100 million from the cte budget and using it for another educational program. but because of what they called a hold harmless provision that was calculated almost 20 years ago, it would take that $100 million coming from the cte budget and would result in nevada losing over half of its cte funding, $4 million from the clark county school district alone. and so we wanted to make sure that every school district across the country, regardless of how big it is or how fast their population has grown, has an equitable say in the amount of federal cte dollars that they receive. >> and to the doctor shortage, quickly. i know it is related to this. nevada has 12 medical students per 100,000 of the population. the national average is 37 per.
legislation is going to get the nevada numbers up. >> so two different ways. first, the first bill actually allows dollars that are now already given to colleges that are hispanic serving institutions to help prepare those hispanic students to go on to medical school. and that's important because we want physicians that are culturally competent and aware to take care of people within the community. and so we want more hispanic doctors to take care of the growing hispanic community within southern nevada. the second bill, the creating access to residency education act actually increases the number of residency slots. it's not just enough to graduate from medical school. you have to be able to go and complete your residency before you can practice. and we know that over 60% of those who complete a residency will stay in the area where they do their residency. and so it's not just enough to have a medical school that graduates students in nevada. >> they've got to stay. >> we want those postgraduate training opportunities to be in our state as well. that's how we're going to get those doctors to stay and take care of more nevadans. >> you know, just to emphasize -- we have talked about this before together on
talked about your bill. you know, the state is 46th lowest for pediatricians, 51st lowest for orthopedic surgeons, 48th for ophthalmologists, 40th for ob-gyns, 50th for registered nurses. on and on. couple that with the fact that many doctors don't take new patients, especially medicare ones, and nevada is really in a spot. >> well, it is. look, we have two medical schools in nevada now, toro in henderson and the school of medicine up in reno. we have the new medical school coming online at the university of nevada las vegas. and roseman university is starting another medical school. so i think we'll be able to hit our medical student numbers. but if we don't have an opportunity for them to complete their residency in nevada, they are going to have to leave the state to get that training. and odds are they are not going to come back. >> okay. when we return, a bottom ranked education system needs help from a top-level house committee. we're going to tell you about somebody who is on it. hint. we're going to tell you more
break. >> and welcome back to "eye on washington." our discussion of work on the hill to help your child succeed in school and beyond. we have been visiting with nevada u.s. congressman joe heck. well, lucky for a state that desperately needs someone to help the nevada public school system, congressman heck serves on the house committee that oversees education. that's the education and workforce committee. and it oversees the programs that affect hundreds of millions of americans from schoolteachers and small business owners to students and retirees. for our purposes today, we'll just talk about the education side. on the congressman's site he explains that his priorities on the committee are to build on reforms set in motion during the past decade. these include, he says, pressing for parental empowerment and local control in education and modernizing of outdated federal rules that, quote, stifle liberty
the committee has two standing education subcommittees, higher education, lifelong learning and competitiveness, and early childhood, elementary and secondary education. now, congressman, even one of the workforce sides of the committee work impacts education. you told us right here how big an advocate you are of training american workers. and you authored a bill to ensure those s.t.e.m. courses. but we really need that worker skill both for today and tomorrow, don't we? >> oh, we do. and we certainly need it in nevada. and education is so critically important to me. i think about i am who i am today because of the teachers that i have had over the 26 years that i have spent in the classroom, whether it was k-12, college, medical school or my master's degree. my three children are graduates of the clark county school district. all three of them have gone to a different school of higher education within nevada. one is a graduate of unlv. one is currently enrolled up in reno. and one is at the college of southern nevada.
and i want my children and all children of nevada to be able to succeed and get a quality education which is why i asked to actually be a member of the education workforce committee when i was first elected. >> that's what i was going to ask you next. i have in my notes you really wanted to serve on education and workforce and you asked for it. why is it important that we have someone on a committee that kind of gets the ball rolling on education bills and on job creating bills, etc.? >> well, when you think about it, the clark county school district is the fifth largest school district in the country. over 335,000 students. so any educational policy that's developed inside the beltway in washington, d.c. is going to have an outsized impact in nevada just because of the sheer size of our school district. i thought it critically important that nevada have somebody on the education committee advocating for education policies that would be to the betterment of our state and our students. >> you know, one of the subcommittees in part focuses on competitiveness. and, you know, today's child has to be really prepared for tomorrow's rapidly changing world.
are a big part of this, something you pushed for since coming to the hill. >> certainly, our students when they graduate now aren't just competing with other students from nevada or other students across the country. they are competing on a global stage. and so we have to make sure that they are adequately trained and equipped upon graduation to go on college or career ready so they can have a positive impact on our communities and get the type of job or career that they want to be able to support themselves and their families. and we can no longer lag behind our east asian or european counterparts in education. we want our kids to be just as successful as we were and have the same opportunities that we had upon graduation, to make sure that they get a good-paying job for the future. >> you know, we have discussed -- in fact, we discussed it in a couple of segments ago. you have a big problem with the feds nosing in on state matters, especially state education policies as we're discussing here. so we've got what you call -- many people call a federal overreach. help us understand. you are serving on a federal
state guy. so how do you work on the house committee to make sure nevada is getting kind of the control? >> sure. great question. because, look, very little money comes from the federal government to the states for education to begin with. but what money does come has so many strings attached that school districts where they have to spend that money, whether or not they need it there. so that's one of the areas where there's federal overreach. i believe there is a role for the federal government to ensure that every child has equal access to a quality education. but they shouldn't get into the weeds about how that education should be delivered. and common core was one example. >> anything else about the committee you want to add? >> well, i think that the education committee currently under the leadership of chairman john klein of minnesota has done a great job. and the fact that we were able to get the every student succeeds act out of the house, through the senate and signed into law shows that there is
communications website. we read it right on the air and we ask our guest to respond to you right here. and, congressman, we have a letter to you today from jasper t. he writes, dear congressman heck, i've seen a lot about the section 179 deduction for small businesses. how does that help them? what do you say to jasper? >> yeah, jasper, that's a great question because we just worked on that very provision. the section 179 deduction allows a business to expense or write off 100% of a certain amount of equipment or real estate or something that they need to help run their business. so it's a tax write-off for businesses. for many years, that was set at a certain level. and it was recently increased as part of the stimulus package. but it was only increased for a one-year period. so every year businesses would be wondering if they wanted to buy something in july, whether or not they'd be able to write it off because the decision wasn't being made by the federal government until december. and so what we recently did
part 179 deduction permanent at the higher level. so now businesses have predictability, they have stability. and the thing is every time a business goes out and buys a big-ticket item, that helps increase the economy throughout the community. helps create more jobs. it's money being invested in our local area. so this is a win-win not just for that business owner who gets the tax write-off and then gets to reinvest that money. >> make a better plan as well, right? >> give another job or another employer a pay raise, but also helps create more jobs throughout the community. >> and they can better plan because now they -- >> they will know. they want to decide -- they see a sale on a piece of equipment in july, they can buy it knowing they will get that tax write-off. today. >> appreciate it. see you soon. "eye on washington." time as we discuss more important federal matters and you can visit joycecommunications.com or go to our facebook page for more news that impacts you in nevada. and watch any shows you have missed on the youtube page of our site. thanks for joining us today on
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