Graduation time: Hold the celebration

High drop-out rate plagues Nevada’s education system

by Patrick R. Gibbons – Nevada Policy Research Institute

High school graduation is a time when families celebrate students’ achievement. Not only does a high school diploma imply an ability to start and complete a lengthy project. It also signals to the adult world and the marketplace that you have at least some ability to learn and be productive.

For this reason, high school graduates earn, on average, at least 38 percent more money per week than do high school dropouts — and, with even more education, income rises substantially. High school graduates also live healthier, longer lives on average, and are less likely to go to jail or live in poverty.

Unfortunately, graduation time in Nevada is not as cheerful as it should be. Sobering data from the National Center for Education Statistics puts the “Average Freshman Graduation Rate” in Nevada at 51.3 percent for the 2007-08 school year — worst in the nation and 23.6 points lower than the national average.

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