LOVELOCK - The American public schools education system is centuries old and had a full plate at its inception focusing on the 3 Rs-Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic. However, over the years, and, particularly in the twentieth century, the emphasis has grown way beyond the 3 Rs. There are many, many more elements to public education than ever before, and they only continue to increase. Awareness of these elements is a key to understanding some of the issues facing public schools today.

Jamie Vollmer, businessman turned public school advocate, has researched the increasing responsibilities placed on America's public schools and addresses them in his book, SCHOOLS CANNOT DO IT ALONE.

His presentations to Nevada educators and school board members evidenced what he calls the "increasing burden" placed on our public schools. He has developed a list of 80+ subjects that "by law" our schools have added since the early 1900s.

Some topics included in his list that are generally known include: health, physical education, vocational and business education, the arts, speech/drama, half-day kindergarten, food programs, safety, foreign language, advanced placement, Head Start, Title I, adult education, consumer education, career education, special education, drug/alcohol abuse education, keyboarding/computer education and mandated school transportation.

But, however, did you know of these subjects that are also on his list--global education, multicultural/ethnic education, parenting, behavior adjustment classes, environmental education, Title IX programs, women's studies, character education, nonsexist education, English-as-a-second language, teen pregnancy awareness, early childhood, Jump Start, Early Start, Even Start, and Prime Start, full-day kindergarten, after-school programs, alternative education, stranger/danger education, antismoking education, expanded health and psychological services, child abuse monitoring, conflict resolution/peer mediation, HIV/AIDS education, CPR training, death education, inclusion, distance learning, at-risk and dropout prevention, homeless education, gang education, service learning, bus/bicycle/gun/water safety education, No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top? The list goes on and more continue to be added-i.e., Race to the Top Waivers and Common Core State Standards.

A few years ago, I asked a prominent state legislator to consider a bill that would require eliminating two laws for every new one that was passed because it seemed the number of laws was becoming excessive. "Just try it for one session," I suggested! Obviously, that did not happen as evidenced by the ever-increasing statutes passed session after session, which has a direct correlation to public education.

The statutes have increased our "plate" to overflowing, and now we must use a "platter." Will now the platter become full? Most likely it will unless items are removed as new ones are added. The public school system is becoming saturated with duties and responsibilities while in comparison resources remain stagnate.

Dan Fox is the Pershing County School District superintendent.