Clark County schools are in the national spotlight after President Barack Obama gave Las Vegas a shout-out during Wednesday's debate. The president talked about a teacher whose troubles are shedding light on a growing number of issues for many schools in the valley.
Claritssa Sanchez is a 10th grade social studies teacher at Canyon Springs High School. She told Obama it's hard for her to teach government when the students' textbooks are from 2003 and make no mention of him.
"It first took awhile to hit me, and I didn't make a big deal about it until my sister, who was next to me, started shouting, saying, 'Claritssa, that's you!'" Sanchez said.
Sanchez had no idea when watching Wednesday's debate she would become a talking point for Obama's campaign.
"The fact that he remembered that I have a lack of textbooks in my classroom impressed me," she said.
Lack of textbooks and large class sizes were among the issues Sanchez and two other teachers discussed with Obama in a meeting back in August before he spoke at Canyon Springs High School.
One grandparent of a student said she's not surprised by the president's remarks.
"Our school system needs a lot of work," said Brenda Owens. "Teachers are underpaid and the books are outdated."
In response, the Clark County School District released a statement saying the district agrees class sizes are too big and that's why they've been fighting to get teachers back into jobs. The district went on to say some schools are on the cutting edge of technology, even using iPads.
Sanchez hopes her few seconds of fame won't be just that but will instead bring change to the education system.
"Hopefully schools like Canyon Springs or whatever school in the school district will get the funding necessary to get these new books to these students," Sanchez said. "These students need them so much to succeed."
Obama told her he would try to get her new textbooks. That hasn't happened yet, but Sanchez and her students are holding out hope since he mentioned her in the debate.
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