Supplemental: Adam Nagourney strikes again!

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 8, 2014

Timesman does Las Vegas:
Adam Nagourney had been a major reporter at the New York Times for many years.

We’re often puzzled by his work. Yesterday, he did Las Vegas.

Nagourney’s report was the featured piece in yesterday’s National section. Buttressed by a large photograph, it ate the entire top half of page A12, the National section’s first page.

Nagourney was writing about overcrowded schools. Headline included, he started off like this:
NAGOURNEY (10/7/14): Las Vegas Schools Groan From Growing Pains

Schools in this suddenly robust community are so packed these days that 13 of them stay open 12 months a year. Children go to classes and eat lunch in cramped, windowless trailers,
bustling with restless students. Thousands more take online classes at home, and school district administrators, desperate for space, are looking to abandoned strip malls for classrooms.

In one sense, this is good news as the new school year starts for the Clark County School District in southern Nevada: powerful evidence of the economic rebound that is sweeping across Las Vegas after what was, by almost every measure, the worst economic downturn in memory. After years of declining or flat population rates, people are moving back, looking for a place to live and seeking schools for their children.
Later in his report, Nagourney described the gross overcrowding. Once again, he attributed “the enrollment surge” to recent gains in the Las Vegas economy, which are bringing people back into the area.

Why has student enrollment grown? Because “people are moving back” as the economy recovers.

Still, the overcrowding is dire. A photo caption showed lunch being served at “a school that was built for 780 but where enrollment has topped 1,150.”

The negative spinoffs also seem dire. At one point, Nagourney described a stigma surrounding the portable classrooms being used at some schools:
NAGOURNEY: The pale-yellow trailers carry a stigma, as they resemble those used in California to accommodate prisoners. They have given rise to a language of euphemism: Trailers are called “portables,” while online schooling is referred to as “blended education.”
The children think of themselves as prisoners! No wonder they can’t learn!

(Full disclosure: in the 1970s, we taught fifth grade in a portable classroom at a Baltimore City school. It was unbelievably nice. Those classrooms were known as “portables” even back then. This wasn’t seen as “euphemism.”)

It may well be that the Las Vegas schools are badly overcrowded. That said, we were puzzled when Nagourney provided his one basic statistic about the growth in enrollment.

How much has student enrollment grown? Early in his report, Nagourney wrote this:
NAGOURNEY: “I’ve already enrolled seven children today,” said Shawn E. Paquette, principal of Robert L. Forbuss Elementary School, perched at the edge of the desert here. Built for 780 students, the school last month had an enrollment of 1,150—and climbing. On Sept. 19, the Clark County School District reported that enrollment had reached 318,597 in its 357 schools, a record; it was 308,377 in 2012, when the economy was near its worst.
Say what? By our reckoning, enrollment has grown by three percent over the last two years, since the time when the economy was near its worst. If the previous drop in student enrollment tracked the economic slump, that should have been the point when enrollment was somewhere near its lowest.

Clark County schools may be overcrowded, but that doesn’t sound like a massive jump in enrollment. And if that 2012 figure represented a low point in student enrollment, it sounds like enrollment might have been as large as it is today at some point before 2012.

What was enrollment like in 2008, before the collapse? Were the schools overcrowded back then?

We don’t doubt the possibility that Las Vegas (Clark County) schools are overcrowded. We’re just noting the puzzlement which often accompanies Nagourney’s news reports.

Nagourney’s limited data about enrollment don’t quite seem to support his thesis. But then, what else is new?

Mathematics is hard: In theory, Nagourney is describing overcrowding which has resulted from a three percent gain in enrollment.

How does he illustrate this problem? With a photo from the Norbuss school, where student enrollment exceeds capacity by almost fifty percent!

To us, those numbers don’t seem to add up. But then, what else is new?

39 comments:

  1. It is possible that most of the increase is occurring in a subset of the schools, those in neighborhoods where new houses were built during the boom and where people moving back are able to pick up lower cost homes. If growth is uneven across the metropolitan area, it could average to 3% overall while being 50%+ in some schools. I agree that a graph showing changes in enrollment over time would have been more helpful, or showing how enrollments have changed across neighborhoods or districts in So. Nevada, or some such.

    I too went to school in portables, both in the 60s and again in college. I have taught in portables without considering it stigmatizing. They even have air conditioning and all the amenities, so I'm not sure what the big deal is about them.

    Is Somerby implying that the overcrowding might be the result of underfunding instead of rapid enrollment increases? If so, I think he should look at the funding per pupil (or ask Nagourney to do so) or funding for building -- isn't that partly federal? Has Nevada not agreed to common core which would get it federal dollars? Also implied is a lack of planning -- don't administrators try to estimate future need by examining demographic trends and taking steps to meet them?

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    1. What he is "implying" is that two-year actual growth from 308 thousand to 318 thousand in two years does not seem to match Nagourney's breathless tone. In other words, after hearing his sources say how overcrowded the system is, he should have asked, "If it's so overcrowded, how come enrollment only increased by 3% in two years? Doesn't that suggest only the need to re-draw boundaries?"

      But Nagourney didn't ask that apparently, even though it's about fifth grade math. Why didn't he? Surprise: he had a storyline, and he didn't want facts to weaken it. What other conclusion is there?

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    2. We won't be offering our thanks.

      Our conclusion, urban legend, is that you have adopted a BOB storyline: that invoking the charge of "storyline" is all you need to criticize a reporter.

      Your comment is "lazy, fuzzy, useless, scripted; a perfect" BOBfan. We borrowed that phrase from a previous BOB characterization of a Nagourney article.

      First you "invent a fact" to fit your storyline that Nogourney has a storyline: "actual growth...does not seem to match Nagourney's breathless tone"
      you write.

      We might ask "What breathless tone?" BOB doesn't mention anything about Nagourney's tone. We might also ask "How much growth would it take to match a breathless tone?" We don't know and we suspect neither do you. It is a useless concept. Pure invention.

      Like BOB, you hedged your comment with the ultimate fuzzy verb, "seems." Seems to work for BOB, so we might "guess" you "thought" it might seem to work for you. Two seem fast bull.

      Then you throw in questions you say Nagourney should have asked. Trouble is, you have no way of knowing whether he asked them or not, any more than we have of knowing whether your neck hurts when your head is up your ass.

      We will tell you Clark County's elementary schools are more overcrowded in part because voters rejected a bond proposal two years ago to build new schools. That fact is covered by Nagourney but not you or BOB. They increased from 3 to 13 the number of elementary schools going to a year round schedule. Their 3 % enrollment increase is also strained by their 3.6% vacancy rate in teaching positions according to what you might label as Nagourney's "sources" and others might call "school district officials." You were just too lazy to include those facts.

      "He didn't want facts to weaken it," you write. Let's include some facts which would have weakened Nagourney's storyline had he been as smart as urban legend. They changed 17 school boundary lines between last year and this year. Of course changing boundary lines requires planning when you are already 18% over capacity. When actual enrollment ends up 1500 students higher at those elementary schools than projections indicated, the crowding is a bit worse. Around 70% of the increase in actual enrollment over projected enrollment increases occurred at the elementary level. Damn that Nagourney for leaving that fact out to save his storyline.

      What other conclusion is there? No surprise. BOB is a horse's ass in this instance. And you seem to have the taste of equine posterior on you well puckered lips.

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    3. Sigourney does a scrappy job but Somerby is the culprit?

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    4. Nagourney -- I hate auto-correct!

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    5. No. Somerby did a crappy job because he hates Nagourney and has called for his firing over a decade ago. urban legend did a worse job imitating that which is the worst in Somerby.

      Nagourney did a pedestrian job on a pretty boring topic.

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    6. What do you think pedestrian means? Pedestrian = mediocre. He did a sloppy job and Somerby complained.

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    7. I know what pedestrian means. You just demonstrated you don't. Somerby's complaint's are sloppy and ill founded. Let's look at one small example:

      At one point Somerby writes: "The children think of themselves as prisoners! No wonder they can’t learn!"

      What purpose does that sentence have? Did Nagourney at any point describe children's feeling toward portables? Did he even remotely suggest they felt like prisoners? Did he at any point suggest children can't learn in Las Vegas? No.

      So why is that there? As a segue to BOB describing his happy days in his own portable building in Baltimore? Talk about your Maddowesque invocation of self!

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    8. So, you cannot read figurative language. We already knew that. Not everyone here is similarly impaired.

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    9. Really dumb comment by 10:30.

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    10. So what purpose do the two sentences by Somerby serve 10:14?

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    11. I am not 10:14 but I suggest they serve the purpose of showing that Nagourney's remark about the portables being stigmatizing is stupid.

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    12. By TREVON MILLIARD
      LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL
      August 28, 2014



      There may be fewer students per kindergarten teacher because of a state mandate, but the Clark County School District is struggling to find room for the 167 additional kindergarten classes this creates.

      To make room, the district will ask the state for $3.92 million to buy 60 portable classrooms, according to a unanimous School Board vote on Thursday. State lawmakers set aside money for portable classrooms in legislation requiring that schools reduce kindergarten classes to 21 students each.

      Clark County schools, which are pressed for space, received a waiver to make that 25 students, at most, per classroom, which is still an improvement considering some kindergarten teachers previously had 38 students, Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky said Monday during a visit to elementary schools.

      Since the 38 kindergarteners per teacher were put in permanent clarrooms, and the older kids relegated to the windowless trailers, nobody was a prisoner and lots of learning went on!

      Shame on Nagourney.

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    13. Hooray for Somerby
      Down with Nagourney

      Portables are the way to go! These trailers may not have windows, but some of them have ramps!

      There is absolutely no stigma at all in having your school campus recreation space filled with trailers
      in which you cram so many of your older students in a classroom that the teachers don't have desks!

      http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2013/oct/15/1663-and-counting-portable-classrooms-fact-life-cc/

      We strongly recommend you view the photo gallery.

      These facilities are so inviting that, coupled with the wonderful instruction going on inside, the number of Non Hispanic white kids in Clark County Schools is actually declining.

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  2. Another reason why the student population might have grown could be illegal immigration. In particular, a few months ago there was a mysterious influx of illegal immigrant children, who were distributed throughout the country. I wonder how many would up in Las Vegas.

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    Replies
    1. I don't know, David. Why don't you tell us? Or do you always shoot your mouth off without anything to back it up?

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    2. Illegal immigration is encompassed by the explanation of "more kids moving into the area."

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    3. Next: Those burgeoning gaps in burgeoning Clark County schools explained.

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    4. It could also be an invasion of space aliens from Area 51. Since we're into "could be" territory here, why not pull out whatever trollish bullshit that crosses our generally empty minds?

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    5. Respected New York Times reporter Adam Nagourney provided a "could be" explanation, so I am in good company.

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  3. I too am puzzled. It has been eleven long years since TDH told the New York Times it was time for Adam Nagourney to go. Yet here he is.

    We need a cult of aggression that seeks the elimination of all purveyors of gross journalistic miscounduct.

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  4. In April 2014, the Las Vegas Sun reported the Clark County schools were overcrowded because people were returning because of the economic recovery, and the county does not have money for new schools.

    "The Clark County School District faces record enrollment growth, but dwindling money for new schools.


    As a result, officials say school campuses are brimming with students and class sizes are ballooning. Officials say that without more capital funding, the nation’s fifth-largest school district won’t have enough space for the influx of new students, whose families are flocking back to Las Vegas in the economic recovery."
    http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2014/apr/25/five-things-you-should-know-about-school-overcrowd/.
    Nagourney is behind the curve, but he isn't saying more sky is falling than the local press.

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    Replies
    1. The local press is discussing the lack of funds not just the increase in kids.

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    2. The NYT was as well. You just get work filtered by the Bobster who, like all entertainment media types, has a storyline. He forgot to tell you, and so did Bill Clinton, what is evident from the fine work of urban legend. Sometimes to advance your storyline you don't shoehorn facts in. You leave facts out.

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    3. You ought to know.

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    4. A bit of second wave inteliigence displayed here.

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    5. I don't think KZ is a feminist.

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    6. I don't know what views KZ has. I suspect the person commenting at 9:55 PM was the same one dissing black people in the name of the white sisterhood and Hillary Clinton at the same time last night.

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    7. It is dissing black people just about as much as striving for equal rights for women constitutes dissing men. Everyone will benefit from more equality for women and all societies have progress to make. It is a FACT that racial realities were part of Obama's strategizing during his campaign and that does not diss any black people, not even Obama. We live in the world we live in. If people refuse to address possibilities for change because it implies criticism of the current situation, we might as well all live in the dark ages.

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    8. "African Americans have no interest in examining much less addressing the misogyny in the African American community..... black men, from Obama to teens in school, have to control women to be considered manly....black women place race ahead of gender... gender equity is non-normative for (African Americans)"

      Anonymous "striving for equal rights"

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    9. This is why there can be no discussion of race in this country.

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  5. I want to testify that my wife is back after a Divorce !!!

    Hello to every one out here, am here to share the unexpected miracle that happened to me three days ago, My name is Jeffrey Dowling,i live in Texas,USA.and I`m happily married to a lovely and caring wife,with two kids A very big problem occurred in my family seven months ago,between me and my wife so terrible that she took the case to court for a divorce she said that she never wanted to stay with me again,and that she did not love me anymore So she packed out of my house and made me and my children passed through severe pain. I tried all my possible means to get her back,after much begging,but all to no avail and she confirmed it that she has made her decision,and she never wanted to see me again. So on one evening,as i was coming back from work,i met an old friend of mine who asked of my wife So i explained every thing to her,so she told me that the only way i can get my wife back,is to visit a spell caster,because it has really worked for her too So i never believed in spell,but i had no other choice,than to follow her advice. Then she gave me the email address of the spell caster whom she visited.(bravespellcaster@gmail.com}, So the next morning,i sent a mail to the address she gave to me,and the spell caster assured me that i will get my wife back the next day what an amazing statement!! I never believed,so he spoke with me,and told me everything that i need to do. Then the next morning, So surprisingly, my wife who did not call me for the past seven {7}months,gave me a call to inform me that she was coming back So Amazing!! So that was how she came back that same day,with lots of love and joy,and she apologized for her mistake,and for the pain she caused me and my children. Then from that day,our relationship was now stronger than how it were before,by the help of a spell caster . So, was now stronger than how it were before,by the help of a spell caster . So, i will advice you out there to kindly visit the same website http://bravespellcaster.yolasite.com,if you are in any condition like this,or you have any problem related to “bringing your ex back. So thanks to Dr Brave for bringing back my wife,and brought great joy to my family once again.{bravespellcaster@gmail.com} , Thanks.

    ReplyDelete

  6. Thanks to Dr great for bringing back my wife,and brought great joy to my family?

    Hello to every one out here, am here to share the unexpected miracle that happened to me three days ago, My name is Success Story,i live in TEXAS,USA.and I`m happily married to a lovely and caring wife,with two kids A very big problem occurred in my family seven months ago,between me and my wife so terrible that she took the case to court for a divorce she said that she never wanted to stay with me again,and that she did not love me anymore So she packed out of my house and made me and my children passed through severe pain. I tried all my possible means to get her back,after much begging,but all to no avail and she confirmed it that she has made her decision,and she never wanted to see me again. So on one evening,as i was coming back from work,i met an old friend of mine who asked of my wife So i explained every thing to her,so she told me that the only way i can get my wife back,is to visit a spell caster,because it has really worked for her too So i never believed in spell,but i had no other choice,than to follow her advice. Then she gave me the email address of the spell caster whom she visited.(greatpowerspelltemple@gmail.com}, So the next morning,i sent a mail to the address she gave to me,and the spell caster assured me that i will get my wife back the next day what an amazing statement!! I never believed,so he spoke with me,and told me everything that i need to do. Then the next morning, So surprisingly, my wife who did not call me for the past seven {7}months,gave me a call to inform me that she was coming back So Amazing!! So that was how she came back that same day,with lots of love and joy,and she apologized for her mistake,and for the pain she caused me and my children. Then from that day,our relationship was now stronger than how it were before,by the help of a spell caster . So, was now stronger than how it were before,by the help of a spell caster . So, i will advice you out there to kindly visit the same website http://greatpowerspelltemple@gmail.com, if you are in any condition like this,or you have any problem related to “bringing your ex back. So thanks to Dr great for bringing back my wife,and brought great joy to my family once again.{greatpowerspelltemple@gmail.com} , Thanks.


    Are you passing through any of these problems,

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    I will advice you out there to kindly visit the same website http://greatpowerspelltemple@gmail.com,if you are in any condition like this,or you have any problem related to “bringing your ex back. So thanks to Dr great for bringing back my wife,and brought great joy to my family once again.{greatpowerspelltemple@gmail.com} , Thanks.

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  8. yes your husband will come back to you that is sure once i make the sacrifice remember i toed you that the items needed to do it will cost you 200usd and you toed me that you are sending husband and i call i friend of my who toed me that he is going to give me the 100usd to make it 200usd just because i love you so much and i want the best for you so that was why i wanted to borrow the 100usd from him but he toed me that he can only give me 40usd which he borrow me the 40usd is with me now we are now looking for just 60usd to make the money 100usd so that all can be done once and for all because i toed you that the river mothers is the great god,s in life so they you can like everything now that the solution to what you have be looking for is here so we are now looking for just 60usd to make it 100usd so that all can be done for once and so that you lover can come back by on Monday morning okay because this most work for you this time if i am to lose my own life just for your lover to come back to you i will do it because i love you so much and i will never let you down my child i know that you may be thinking that this is more money but i want you to know that this is the only thing that need's to be done now i only need just 60usd so that all can be done for your own problem to be solve okay

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