Nevada ranked dead last, 51 out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, with an overall score of 65 out of 100 points and a grade of D. The United States averages a C grade. Categories in the report include school finance, chance for success and K-12 achievement.
School district officials wasted no time voicing their opinion on the ranking.
“I will be the first to say that Nevada’s academic achievement performance must improve, but this is an out-of-date snapshot of where we are as a state,” said Steve Canavero, Ph.D., Superintendent of Public Instruction. “I said last year when this report came out and I’ll say it again, this report tells us where Nevada was, not where we are going. The Governor and our Legislature have made education in our state a priority and we have pledged to become the fastest improving state in the nation.”
Canavero may have a point, the data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) on math and reading is from 2015 and the school finance data is also from 2015, which doesn’t account for nearly $500 million the legislature has invested in K-12 education during the last two years.
Officials sent out a statement highlighting a few areas that have improved since 2015.
Nevada’s graduation rate has exceeded the Every Student Succeeds Act goal of 2020 with a graduation rate of 80.55 percent, an increase of seven percentage points over last year.
Early Childhood Education exceeded its goal of 12 four- or five-star rated early childhood centers this year with 19.
Schools in Nevada have increased the number of preschool students with disabilities participating in regular classrooms 3.2 percentage points to 33 percent and are on track to increase that inclusion rate to 40 percent in the current year.
Career and Technical Education certificate program completers increased from 1,275 to 9,697.
For two years running, Nevada students led the nation in the rate at which they improved their performance on AP exams with an increase of 10.8 percent scoring a 3, 4, or 5 indicating college readiness. A score of 3 projects a C in a college freshman class, a 4 is a B and a 5 is an A.
Education has long been a hot-button issue for Nevada residents, so it comes as no surprise that these rankings would worry the public. It's also important to note that state officials took the initiative to get in front of the issue and detail how the state plans to change these results.
The true test will be where the state stands after the statistics reflecting these recent changes are gathered.