It is my belief, and the belief of most people who approach education with common sense, that federal education funding should follow the students. It is fundamentally unfair for states that experience declining populations to hold on to the money that is meant to educate the children that have moved to states like ours. Senators Ted Kennedy and John Kerry, from Massachusetts, and their colleagues from similarly situated states, have propounded this theory of education funding; so as to politicize the funding levels those states receive. Obviously, this poses a great burden to us in Southern Nevada as we attempt to provide the educational facilities and opportunities for the children for whom other states receive funding. Through the hard work of Senator John Ensign, the census data that is used to determine education funding has been upgraded to reflect more accurately the yearly growth of school districts. I was able to provide the funding for this much-needed adjustment through my work with the Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor-Health and Human Services-and Education. Now, our high growth school districts receive the funding that they need. The theory behind hold harmless threatens this equalizing measure, as the money would fail to follow the children, and instead would benefit no one but the school administrators and faculty of low-growth states.
The other aspect of our population growth that poses a very real threat to our ability to effectively and safely educate our children is the huge number of out-of-state teachers that we must hire. Unfortunately, the cliché of a few bad apples spoiling the harvest holds true in this scenario. The malicious and abusive actions of a few have forced parents, elected officials, and administrators to question the integrity of all untested teachers. This becomes increasingly important as we hire huge numbers of teachers new to Nevada and the Las Vegas Valley. There must exist some means of determining whether our children will be free of any threat in the classroom and school yard. There currently exists a forum for the sharing of this information. This compact, however, has only been ratified by 21 states, including Nevada. This lack of information sharing from a majority of states has created a scenario where school districts can not feel completely comfortable that their prospective employees are free from past violent and abusive actions. I have introduced H.R. 2649, the Schools Safely Acquiring Faculty Excellence Act of 2003. My legislation would levy penalties on states who fail to share this information with the rest of the nation. It seems to be a matter of common sense that states would have to share information on potentially.