Nevada graduation rate down

A detailed "report card" on Nevada's public schools shows a slight increase in the student dropout rate and a slight decline in the graduation rate, state schools chief Keith Rheault said today.

In releasing the accountability report on K-12 schools, Rheault also said Nevada "continues to significantly reduce" the percentage of core academic classes that aren't being taught by highly qualified teachers.

Rheault said the 4.8 percent dropout rate "remains near the historic low of 4.6 percent achieved last year." He added that the graduation rate of 67.4 percent is down only a tenth of 1 percent from last year.

The study also shows that over a three-year period the percent of classes not taught by highly qualified teachers has dropped by nearly 24 percent in math and about 23 percent in science.

"We're in the top 10 as far as reporting school information and the number of categories that we report on," Rheault said. "We're one of the better states in terms of detailed information on tests, teachers, you name it."

Rheault said the information may not always be the best news, but "the data are all there for people who want to know more about the schools that their sons or daughters attend, and that was the intent of the report card."

The document's release follows a report earlier this month on Nevada's 654 public elementary and secondary schools and programs that showed an increase over last year's total of schools that got low marks.

A breakdown of the 654 schools showed that 249 were designated as "in need of improvement" or on a "watch list." That's up from 198 a year ago.

Rheault has said this year has been "extremely challenging" because school districts and the state Department of Education faced budget cuts imposed because of a slump in projected revenues. He also said performance expectations went up.

Of the 249 schools that didn't meet the standard, 118 are on the "watch list" which gives them a year to improve before they're designated in need of improvement.

That's up from 67 a year ago. The report also shows that six public schools have "exemplary" ratings, down from 23 last year, and 57 have "high achieving" ratings, down from 96 last year.


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