Breaking down the push to break up Nevada’s higher education system

As Gov. Steve Sisolak delivered his second-ever State of the State address last month — one delivered in the shadow of a yearlong pandemic and a grinding economic recovery — there came something of a higher education policy surprise, tucked roughly halfway through the 30-minute speech.

“We need to recognize that our community colleges will play an even bigger role in workforce training,” Sisolak said. “That’s why I will be asking the Legislature to work with the Nevada System of Higher Education over the next two years to develop a framework to transition Nevada’s community colleges to a new independent authority that will focus on making Nevadans job ready. Community colleges, together with union apprenticeship programs, are critical elements in building Nevada’s workforce and economic future.”

Those three lines — just 80 words in all — were the only mention of community colleges in the governor’s 18-page-long speech. But in the time since, they’ve triggered a flurry of questions with no apparent answers, all centered, theoretically, on a simple idea: transition Nevada’s four community colleges out from underneath the Nevada System of Higher Education.

Read more from The Nevada Independent.

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