Nevada in last place again in education survey
January 9, 2014
LAS VEGAS — A student in Nevada has less of a chance to succeed than counterparts in any other state, according to a new report released Thursday by the publication Education Week.
Nevada earned a D grade for "chance of success" in the magazine's annual Quality Counts report, putting the state in 51st place behind New Mexico and Mississippi. It's the fifth year in a row that Nevada has earned the unflattering ranking.
The report, which is in its 18th year, compares states by 13 factors including student performance and school financing. It combines those with demographic data such as parent education level, income and language ability.
"It's a little unfair to put it on the schools," State Superintendent Dale Erquiaga told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, asserting the findings were "a clarion call for the entire community to address, not just schools."
There were some bright spots in the report. Nevada was among the top 10 most-improved states in fourth- and eighth-grade reading scores and eighth-grade math scores, which are based on a national assessment conducted every other year. Eighth-grade reading scores improved at double the national rate, and Nevada was better than the national average at closing the math achievement gap for low-income students.
The state's graduation rate — pegged at 63 percent — weighed down the score. Student achievement ranked 48th in the nation, and per-pupil spending ranked 49th.
The state had the lowest percentage of students with at least one parent holding a college degree. Nevada also has the lowest preschool participation in the nation among 3- and 4-year-olds.
Clark County Schools Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky, who oversees the state's largest school system, called the report disappointing and said reforms are in progress.
"When you're trying to move the state, it's going to take some time," Skorkowsky told the Las Vegas Sun. "We're going to make some significant improvements in the coming year."