Knowing the Politics behind your Success

“Knowing the Politics behind your Success” is a PowerPoint tutorial that provides instructional steps to 1) conveniently access your Nevada Legislature’s meetings during a LIVE INTERNET BROADCAST and 2) easily contact your Legislative Representative and include them into your professional network.

Your Legislatures are voting on legal issues that directly impact your current and future professional success.  Become politically savvy to predict and prepare for future trends, needs, and business opportunities in your society and workplace.

This Screenr PowerPoint tutorial gives an example of how current legislation is impacting Higher Education for those working or studying at a college or university.

Try the two strategies presented in “Knowing the Politics behind your Success” and share your thoughts and/or experiences to this blog.  I appreciate the feedback about how you increase your professional competitiveness through political awareness.



Filed under Higher Education, Leadership

31 responses to “Knowing the Politics behind your Success

  1. C.L.E.M

    “Knowing the Politics Behind Your Success” is essential when crucial decisions of money and curriculum are involved. For example, a funding formula based primarily on output may influence instructors’ classroom grades, and perhaps result in “teaching to the test” techniques (as demonstrated in many K-12 “No Child Left Behind” procedures and test results) and determine higher education’s curriculum standards to obtain necessary dollars to maintain learning institutions’ income flow. Teaching/testing strategy changes have an affect on both students’ love of learning and instructors’ love of teaching. There must be more to funding guidelines than performance based standards which eventually become dictates from those who allocate funds. C.L.E.M.

  2. Kathy

    Living here in Reno it is not a far trip to Carson City to see the legislature live in person. But that is unrealistic for many residents. The live streams online are a great idea for all of Nevada to be able to see what happens during the meetings but with many of them being so early, and a poor planning on legislature’s part not everyone can watch because of work and class. Nevadans should be able to watch meetings no matter what time of day to review them at a time that is convenient to them. That being said, I am unfamiliar with the current funding formula but I do have some interest in the topic. With Nevada being ranked the lowest in Education the state should promote better grades in all Nevada schools. Colleges who have the best scores should get better funding. However for those that are under performing it is not fair to cut their funding because it would most likely cause a greater decrease in performance, due to lack of supplies and teachers. It is also not fair because each Nevada high education institution has different enrollment statuses and conditions.

    • Caitlin Harrison

      I agree with what Kathy has to say about the budget cuts. Sure, schools with better performance deserve a large portion of the budget; but did anyone ever think that maybe the reason other schools are bottoming out with low performance numbers is because they don’t receive enough of the budget cut? All schools, no matter what their performance level is should receive a fair share of the state’s education budget. This tutorial is a great way for grade school kids, college students and caring members of the community to get their voices heard in a simple way.

  3. Violetta Raborn

    I understand that the new funding formula is being created with good intensions. However, some say that the road to Hell is paved with good intensions and that is exactly what it will bring to many students and colleges. The change in focus from input ( # of students enrolled) to output (graduation rate) will make it difficult for a college like Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC) to receive adequate funding, for the reason that they transfer more students to the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) than they graduate. Moreover, many students enroll to take a single course or to obtain a certificate. Therefore, the graduation rate will ultimately be lower than other higher education institutions. In addition, the idea to not provide funds for remedial courses will hurt the enrollment rates of many community colleges whose classrooms are occupied by students who did not excel in high school or haven’t been to school in some time. Under this new funding formula, I would not have been able to enroll in school three years ago. I would have had to pay for two remedial courses that would have made it impossible for me to enroll in school because of my financial circumstances. However, I was privileged to receive the Pell Grant which funded me through two Honor Associate Degrees. Now, I am a testimony that it is not a waste of money to fund education for those who have a low GPA in high school and need to take remedial courses.

    • C.L.E.M

      Extremely valid, realistic example of why graduation and standardized testing before graduation cannot be the primary standards for funding for colleges and universities. Legislators need to read your post. For many students, the goal for higher education is for personal growth, not for their institutions’ ability to receive funding.

      • Jaime M.

        I agree that many students utilize community college for personal growth or as a stepping stone toward a degree and that students who are lower achieving in high school may not necessarily be lower achieving at the college level. In addition to these things there can be many variables which determine course or degree completion; financial circumstances, family obligations, work schedule, or it could be that the student feels that a lackluster education is being provided. If funding is to be based on accountability then instructors should be held equally accountable. It has been one of my biggest frustrations as an education major that I am to learn the intricacies of instructional delivery such as learning styles, classroom management, making connections, and engagement while my instructors only seem to require knowledge in their field. There have been very few classes that I have taken that really tie instruction into the profession I have chosen and make me feel as if I will be prepared to carry out the duties I will be performing. How many students leave to pursue a better education elsewhere?

  4. Victoria Palmer

    I think it’s great that there is a tutorial for people to understand how to connect with their legislature’s. I for sure did not realize that it was that easy to get in contact with the people that represent me. I always thought that they were something far off that I would never have anything to do with. This tutorial gave me inspiration to go out and find who my legislature is and to spread the word about being involved. I do not have a twitter, or linked in account, and don’t plan on getting either one, so it is nice that their email is located on their page. The only thing I wonder about is whether or not they actually reply. For instance, if I call them, will I actually talk to my legislative representative, or their secretary? If I email them, will they get back to me in a timely manner? On another note, the live viewings of meetings are great. The only problem is I am a full time student with an almost full time job, and none of those meetings are very realistic for me, and I can imagine that the case for everyone. If they could find a way to record the meetings and have them up to watch at a later time that would be so great. Or if we could input into the meetings as they were airing (like you can with football games), then I think people would be more involved. On that note, people SHOULD be involved. I feel as though this new funding plan will greatly impact the ethics of higher education, and people may be passing, but it might not be legitimate. But, I guess we will see.

    • Violetta Raborn

      I understand your frustration to want to get involved but not have the opportunity because of time restraints. Coincidently, that is a common excuse for people throughout the nation. I would have to agree that people would benefit from having Legislative meeting recorded to view another time. This may increase the participation of ordinary citizens getting involved with the legislative process. However, Professor Madden-Dent made a good point about people who don’t get involved; they are easier to control. I am not saying it is a government conspiracy, but we make it easier for Legislatures to get their way when we don’t get involved. Here is an idea: we should all send a respectful email to our Legislatures encouraging the concept of recording legislative meetings for more people to watch at their convenience. It may get our point across.

      • Excellent idea Violetta. Let’s write a letter. I’ll start a shell, others can add to it, and we can all email it out to our representatives. Cool! This is how social media encourages collaboration.

  5. Excellent posts. NV Legislature should be more interactive, transparent, and entertaining. Could you imagine if Nevadans were as excited and involved with the NV Leg meetings as they are with the NFL, American Idle, or Dancing with the Stars?! Isn’t our society interested in the discussions and decisions that rule our lives? Perhaps if the NV Leg meeting times were more accessible and there was more drama and public interaction, our state would be more interested in politics and policy. Here’s a thought: maybe our political leaders prefer us not being as engaged as we could be; aren’t those who don’t care, don’t know, and follow the crowd easier to control?

  6. Erica Chamberlain

    It is nice to know that there is a way to know what is going on in the legislature. This tutorial helps in giving directions on how to access the website and viewing the live meetings. Going to Carson City from Reno is possible, unlike if you live in Las Vegas, but so much happens in peoples daily lives that it is nice to know that there is a place for people to go to and be updated on what is going on in the legislation. A suggestion on how to get the word out about the legislation website and live meetings is to make an advertisement on the local networks. Lots of people watch TV, so it is a great way to reach more people. This tutorial made it simple, that I didn’t even know that it was going to be that easy. The legislation needs to reach out to the community more because lots of people don’t know what is going on in the government and how to get their voices heard. I do agree with another post on this blog that I am afraid that if I email a legislator that they are not even going to reply back or even answer my concern/question. Overall, I like this tutorial; it really made it easy and simple to get in touch with legislation in Nevada.

  7. Debra Cluff

    I believe that it is important to be informed before voting. I am sure many people including me have gone to a voting booth and seen names that are unfamiliar to them on that page, and they just check the most interesting name. Then that person gets into office and doesn’t do the job or has opposite goals than we do. If we just become an informed society about politics then laws would go for the people. It is wonderful that the capitol has set it up so that we as citizens can participate by viewing the big decisions. However, I do see a big problem. Many of those meetings are during the work day. Since the only time a citizen can watch the meetings is when they are live, there is information that is lost. I think that the capitol should create a link where citizens can watch the meetings that have already happened. In a sense DVR the meeting. That way it is more convenient for society. They watch them on their time. This way voters can be more informed and can make better decisions for their community and country.

  8. Jamie Bitetto

    Funding is a huge issue right now with all schools. Who gets paid? Who gets let go? What is the purpose of school, and higher education? I can see where leaders saw this as a focus for funding. But there are many problems related to this funding formula.
    First of all, higher education and course completion can be valuable information, but it has to be taken with consideration. Students drop classes when they realize they’re going to fail, when their work needs to come first, or when they’ve chosen to change their major. What about when students enroll in a class, than unroll a week later because another course works better for their schedule that semester? How will these choices affect professors? Students may drop out completely from college when they assume the world has something better to offer them, for their personal life goals, and then they let go of college; how will these students effect professor’s jobs?
    Another issue becomes the competitiveness factor. Yes colleges want to consider who they’re taking in because student drop out effects their reputation. But what if this leads to unequal opportunities for others in life? There are students in school whose parents have never completed high school. Maybe the student struggled in high school (so their application isn’t impressive- average maybe below average) because they were working 2 jobs to support their younger siblings. Colleges can’t understand these situations that students have to make, even at these young ages. How can they deny a student an opportunity to better their life, than what was handed to them, because on paper they’re not impressive and may be a risk as to prove to be a student who could potentially not finish- because their cards weren’t in their favor? That’s an opportunity issue.
    The last issue becomes the integrity of professors. Young college students look to their professors as impressive role models because the maturity of the student is beyond high school pettiness. If this becomes a trend, passing students to keep their jobs- rather than students actually working for the grade- the whole system of college becomes broken.
    These are all important issue that have to be considered in this proposed funding formula.

  9. Julie Sauer

    This tutorial on how to access the Nevada Legislature online live stream videos and contact information is important for us to know how to do. If we want to have any say in legislative decisions and policies such as education funding, we need to take an active role in our local politics. We must also accurately educate ourselves on who our legislative representatives are so that we know who to contact as well as information regarding current pieces of legislature. I have seen many people complain about current local policies, such as lack of funding for higher education, but they do not do anything to try to solve the problem. They could be asking questions, contacting their legislative senators and representatives, or writing emails/letters to the Nevada Legislature. The importance of being accurately educated on current policies and information about our current representatives is also important when it comes to voting for future representatives. If we are expected to vote for our state’s politicians, we must know as much as we can about their character and what they represent so that we can make the best decision for who will represent our state.

  10. Jessica Weaver

    I think that it is extremely important for people to be informed about the many changes in legislature and government that are happening constantly. For example, a few years ago, the housing “bubble” was known to many people; however, many people were both ill informed and mislead by banks and did not realize the repercussions that they had for buying a house that they truly could not afford. With that said, if these people had been more in tune with their local government and even national government, in this case, they may not have made the decision to buy a home with no money down and outrageous interest rates. This is not to say that there were not other factors, but misinformed people was a big reason. Unfortunately, I have found out that many people do not understand how the government influences our daily lives. With this new funding formula, college students will be hit head on with the harsh reality that the government is changing our daily lives; and not exactly in a good way. Young people in both high school and college need to be taught how essential it is to be involved in our community and our legislature.

  11. Karalyn H.

    I can see that throughout the comments that the new funding formula isn’t very popular, so I wonder if anyone will actually take this instructional video and become involved with their legislature. It is a trend to ignore this type of action, which makes it seem doubtful. I think that cutting some of the underperforming students is something that Nevada might have to do in order to increase our competitiveness. A jump in graduation rates might not necessarily mean that professors are teaching to the test, but the University is effectively attracting long lasting students. Contacting legislature doesn’t mean that it needs to be an argument. It can be supportive as well!

  12. Jacqueline Sutton

    I thought that this was a great tutorial on how to get involved with the changes that are going on in our community. I never knew how easy it was to get involved and how easy it is to get in contact with our local legislatures. Even though I didn’t care much about it before I think that it is important that you get involved because you know exactly what is going on and you can express your opinion on it. It is good to see the different ideas that they come up with educational funding since I am a future educator. Education is always one of their big topics and as a future teacher I will stay involved with the community.

  13. Adriana V

    I believe that NV Legislature should be more involved in educating the community of what they are ruling in meeting. Yes Carson City is a short way from UNR, but some students do not have transportation. I do understand they made the live stream videos to help with the distance and transportation problems but they still have not considered some conflict errors. I was unable to watch the education based meetings via internet due to being in class at the times they were on live stream. While going over my own schedule conflicts I realized that there are automatic schedule conflicts for teachers and the discussions are mainly directed at them. I believe this is a huge problem, teachers and students should be able to watch the meetings at their convenience and become educated about the legislatures rulings.

  14. kylee spring

    This video was very informative and I like how it took me step by step on how to get to the Nevada Legislature meeting’s but I think the meetings should be up on the website for all do see at any hour because I can’t just go to my principle and say oh hey can you watch my classroom as I watch this Legislature meeting. There meetings are at the same time when people are at work I don’t feel like this is the greatest opportunity for them to reach the most people and get the most impute from the people. Having a legislative representative included in my professional network is a great idea and I had never thought about it so I’ll have to do that. Thank you for informing me!

  15. Brandon Morales

    Keeping informed about what is going on in your Legislature and even getting to know who your Legislative Representatives are is essential not only to be a good citizen, but also for professional competitiveness. What the Legislature is working on today will effect you tomorrow. The power of the vote is key. If you want to make change happen, then you need to be involved. Getting involved means getting to know your representatives, those running for office. The more you know about them, the more you can see if you actually want them to be representing you. Because the fact is they will be determining what laws and policies will be put into place; laws and policies that will effect you in some sort of way. Not only will getting to know your representatives benefit you by knowing who they are, but you can also let them get to know you. Voice your opinion to them. Being informed can keep you up to date and ahead of the game. If you know what is going on and what changes may take place, then you have the power to effect change. Your representatives want you vote, so they will listen. Don’t just sit back and let change happen to you. Be a part of the change. That only happens when you are informed and involved with you Legislature.

  16. Diana

    Although it may seem difficult to make yourself present at legislature meetings or be online during the live web feeds, I honestly feel these are only excuses. If you have a true interest in political changes and procedures that not only affect the community but the country, then you will find a way to make yourself involved. If your will to become involved is greater than your belief in the validity of your excuses, then you will make a change and a difference. You are only as powerful as the extent to which you keep true to your word and promises, so if a change needs to be made, you will find a way to make it happen. There is a huge difference between people who want to make a difference and people who actually do, and it all goes back to the extent you keep your word.

  17. Joshua Rogers

    I believe that we are confusing issue and not seeing the real problem. By focusing on the input vs. output part of the formula and ignoring the past politics in the state, we are debating the trees while missing the forest.
    Ever since Las Vegas surpassed Reno as the most populous area in the state in the late 60’s, Southern Nevadans have become more aware of the discrepancy in power that the North has over the South. This internal conflict is not only represented by football games over cannons but also reflected in our state politics.

    First off, let us look at who introduced this bill. That would be Sen. John Lee of District 1, Clark County, and if you want to see his opinion check out his Op-Ed written for the Las Vegas Review Journal.
    Secondly, review SB 374 focusing not on goals 5 and 6, but on goals 1, 2, and 4. Notice the vagueness that is written into this new committee’s goals.

    Click to access SB374_EN.pdf

    This seems to be an attempt by Southern Nevada to cut large amounts of funding to campuses in the North, such as UNR and TMCC and sending that money to southern schools. Don’t believe me? Here’s a quote from the above article: “Institutions that have used the inequities in the old formula to out-build their underfunded sister institutions cannot be allowed to use past largess to justify claims to future appropriations” (Lee). In other words, we don’t want to share anymore and tough cookies Reno.

    Lee has crafted and passed a bill with just the right amount of vagueness for there to be huge changes to the funding formula while putting in two small changes about grad rates to confuse the issue and keep the North preoccupied. All of this will happen while the South sees it’s budgets expand. I say it’s high time for our politicians representing the Northern half of the state to wake up and keep a sharp eye on what type of suggestions this committee comes up with. Don’t let Vegas’ power grab redistribute state funds, because this is “an unfair money grab” (Lee).

  18. Zach Malia

    I definitely felt that after watching this video, it gave me a better understanding of the importance we as citizens have in the areas in which we live. There are so many issues that we face on a daily basis, but how many of us can actually say that we are going to do something about it but never actually do? I know for one that I would love to make an impact in my own profession, and luckily as a future educator, it definitely is possible. However, the job market today is as competitive as ever, and when it comes down to it, it’s all about who you know and what you know. Being informed about current legal issues that each of us deal with will not only help us become more involved in the community, but it helps give each of us a voice as to what we believe in. I feel that most people are very timid or shy to become advocates in their own rights because they feel that the events that are going on are way too complicated and they believe that their opinion really doesn’t matter. From watching this video and taking this course, it is safe to say that we can have a tremendous impact on the future changes that go on in our state, or even country. Getting to know the legislators in where we live is a huge resource, because by getting them involved in what we do as educators, they can have a better understanding of what we are pushing for, and why it is so important. The majority of legislators probably don’t even know much about the educational systems in schools, so it is important to have them come into classrooms and get a sense of the importance a teacher plays in the classroom community.

    As I’ve read some of the other comments left by students, I can agree with the problems that the legislature website provides. The idea of live streaming works great, but constricting it to live streaming only really limits the amount of viewers that can watch the videos. They also want us to be more involved, but for the majority of the issues they present, we have no idea what they are talking about, so it makes following their meetings very hard to do. As citizens, we definitely need to be aware of all the issues that are being brought up relating towards our educational systems, and why they are relevant, because these issues will not only impact us when we become educators, but it will also impact the children later on in their schooling lives. There definitely is a lot of work that needs to be done as far as gaining awareness and increasing success, but that means we need to do our parts as well to help spread this awareness to others who do not know as much as we do. In our society, we are fortunate enough to have a plethora of modes of technology that can help to inform each one of us of everything that occurs on a daily basis. By utilizing the resources we have available in where we live, it can definitely help increase awareness and success in not only students, but for everyone else as well.

  19. Aimee K

    Several different points were raised in the presentation, but I think the most important aspects can be summed up with “be informed”. By keeping up to date on current legislative issues, such as budgeting changes, state- wide statistics, and alterations in Nevada legislature, one can be ahead of the curve, regardless of their profession. Anticipating future change in the state is easier than ever before, thanks to the state’s online information database ( On that site, one may view legislature meetings live, and can view information on the politicians in their state. Both of these features may impact the future actions of citizens, especially during voting season. By utilizing the technological resources available, a person can easily stay up to date on everyday developments, and consequently improve their chances in professional success.

  20. Collette Witt

    This is a great video that will hopefully allow more people in the community better understand how to watch and become involved in our legislature meetings and actions. I feel like so many people in society complain about what our government is doing, but they complain after the decisions have been made. If the public voiced their opinion before an issue is decided on, the public could possibly win. Involvement is the key.

    The video also mentioned how higher educations success rates are low, and we need to bring them up if we’d like to receive more funding. Tara mentioned that this could perhaps effect the way professors pass their students now. Will they pass someone that doesn’t deserve it? Granted as a student, that at first sounded nice to me. I could just brush on through college and earn my degree easily. But in the long run, that would really effect me. Going into career that I have had really no training on, I would struggle and be unable to do what I was supposed to learn how to do in four or so years of training. So how will they increase pass rates in a way that helps both the teacher and student? I wonder if maybe a standardized state-wide test will be created for each class that is given. Then the state would grade the test and we would need to pass that test in order to pass the class; the professor would train us for this test just like teachers do in high school. Or will there just be heavy supervision ensuring that the professor does not pass someone that doesn’t deserve it? It will be interesting to see how much the classroom structure is going to change in the next few years; anything is really possible.

    • Ryan Gardner

      While watching this video it became apparent that technology is the future and that there are two options: one can learn the new way of doing business or be left behind. An example of this is how the presentation itself was preformed as a voice over to a slide show. The second example is the way to contact one’s local and state representative. Before people honestly knew there representative and were able to have dinner with and be able write a personal letter as though writing a letter to a friend. Now in today’s age, one connects through twitter or Facebook. The reality of it is that the world is changing. If the future educators of this world are not in contact with those that represent them then the possibility of poor funding or poor curriculum will be made and the educators will be ineffective in the class room. It all stems from understand how to use technology and actually going out and being an active member to society.

  21. Maddie

    I found that the video was helpful in that it presented information on how to not only contact our representatives but also it helped by showing us how to watch and learn more about the issues that they are under discussion. Something that I feel I knew but didn’t recognize is that our representatives have social media such as Facebook. I feel like by following them on Facebook one can gain a lot of knowledge about them and their platform. Something else that I really liked was the over all message of staying informed and involved with the issues.

  22. Jessee

    This video wants to me to drive o Cason right now and start a change. There are so many people in our university that are so much smarter than our numbers show. I think the people who are involved are those who are more efficient and who know the resources. This video shows how easy it is to become involved and I can’t believe that so many people are no involved when the website makes it so easy to make your voice heard

  23. Shawn Finn

    Unfortunately, I couldn’t view the tutorial in its entirety. The audio was unable to sync with the video and it made for a choppy experience. From what I was able to view and from reading the posted comments, this was a very informative video. It made me consider the plethora of opportunities that every citizen has to become involved in their communities. It made me consider how I had personally contributed to the situation, or more accurately how I had failed to contribute. While I can also think of a dozen excuses for why I failed to contribute to this situation, or even more accurately how I had contributed with silent obedience, I know that they are only that- excuses. If I could say that I was unavailable due to other community involvement, I would have an excuse I could stand behind.
    I don’t. I was only involved in Shawn’s life and those immediately attached to it. My remorse forced some research out of me. I hope you appreciate it because my weakness is strong.

    First, I found graduation rates for the schools featured in the presentation. This proved to be difficult for some of the institutions. The National Center for Education Statistics compile data on elementary, secondary and post-secondary education. These statistics are obviously biased. There does not seem to be data representing institutions that do not offer baccalaureate degrees. Any two-year college or vocational school data is not collected, despite these institutions having demonstrated their services enhance employability and increase enrollment in other academic courses and institutions. Additionally, only first-time, full-time students are recorded in an institution’s graduation rates. Again this discredits the smaller institutions that deal with second-time students and students that are continuing their education while continuing their employment. Also, it does not include transfer students. There is another obvious attack on smaller, two-year institutions. Common sense proves true in this case, as big money is making all the rules.

    The research only confirmed what we are all aware of. Big schools command big money and big money commands politicians and committees. It happens all the time. The outcomes are also glaringly obvious. Students that do not excel in high school will have no way to compete in college and they will be cut out of higher education. While this up for discussion as well, it makes me think of what people expect from public schools. If public schools aren’t producing graduates that are prepared for state college, than what is the public buying? Where is the accountability? I have no problem paying to educate students, but if those schools fail to produce competent students, those schools can give me my money back. If I’m a student that graduates high school, but has to take remedial courses in order to attend college, I have been short changed. The high school that graduated me has clearly failed to uphold its end of the bargain. The school has acted negligently in its duty.

  24. Katie

    I agree with a lot of comments on here about how when we do become teachers, or even now, it is was too difficult to be present at the legislature meetings. I really like the idea of having an email account that we could send for during the meetings that asks the questions that we all want answered. Also, I believe it would be way easier for people to go back and watch if we could pause in order to think of questions or write a paper on the subject the legislature is going over.

  25. Kathy

    My main concern with the new funding formaula is if it will work. The formula must also keep budgets fair. Schools will obviously want more money for themselves and it will be difficult to determine which schools will recieve more than others. Schools cannot all receive the same because different ares have different demands. The many different levels of education will also effect the budget because there are multiple demands for each level. The screenr was very helpful in understanding the formula, however. It gave details into how the budget would be calculated and gave advice, you could say, for how the community can be involved in deciding the bidget.

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