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OPINION: How education excellence for all closes achievement gaps


by Alexander Cooper – Nevada Policy Research Institute

Even a cursory look at education statistics in Nevada and around the country shows a startling achievement gap between Hispanic and African-American students and white students. Understandably, this gap has been the focus of countless news articles, columns and studies. NPRI’s analysis of Clark County high schools reveals, however, that as the scores of white students rise, the scores of minority students also climb.

One common explanation offered by scholars to explain this gap is poverty — that is, minorities tend to come from less wealthy families than do white students.

This inspired a comprehensive analysis of every CCSD high school and their pass rates on the Math High School Proficiency Examination from the 2009-2010 school year. An examination of the pass rates of students qualifying for Free and Reduced Lunch (FRL) and their non-FRL peers shows that, as the scores of non-FRL students rose at individual high schools, the scores of FRL students at those same schools rose, as well.

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