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David F. Damore, William E. Brown, Jr., Robert E. Lang

Published: David F. Damore, William E. Brown, Jr., Robert E. Lang

May 24, 2018

David F. Damore, William E. Brown, Jr., and Robert E. Lang wrote a new policy brief for The Lincy Institute, "The 2017 Session of the Nevada Legislature and the Failure of Higher Education Reform."

In the piece, the authors analyze 11 bills introduced during the 79th Session of the Nevada Legislature that proposed to reorganize, reform, and realign various aspects of the state’s higher education system. The analysis reveals the following: Despite bipartisan support for higher education reform, nearly all of the reform bills failed, including two bills vetoed by Governor Brian Sandoval; the failure to enact meaningful reform stands in contrast to the implementation of bills appropriating more resources for higher education; and opposition to reform legislation was strongest among those most invested in legitimizing and perpetuating current arrangements. The report also considers the institutional and cultural factors that reinforce these outcomes. These factors include the mismatch between legislative capacity and the demand for policy reform, the selective manner in which higher education officials engaged in the Legislature, and misconceptions about the components of the state’s land-grant institution and the Board of Regents’ constitutional carve out prohibiting legislative action. The authors conclude with policy recommendations for the Nevada Legislature, moving into the 2019 session and beyond.

Robert E. Lang is the executive director of Brookings Mountain West and the Lincy Institute at UNLV. He is also a professor in the Greenspun College of Urban Affairs and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. David F. Damore is a professor of political science at UNLV and a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. William E. Brown Jr. is the UNLV director of Brookings Mountain West.