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Nevada Makes Education Gains Despite Low Ranking (Subscriber Content)

By Bob Conrad
Lockers at Reed High School.
Lockers at Reed High School. Image: Carla O’Day.

Nevada continues to be one of the lowest-rated states in the country for education. Education Week’s annual Quality Counts report, released this week, looks at a number of factors for how states rank — from spending on education to graduation rates and achievement.

Although previously dead last, Nevada is making gains in certain categories, particularly math and reading proficiency and graduation rates.

“We set a goal to become the fastest improving state in the nation and the latest ranking in the Quality Counts report card demonstrates that Nevada is headed in the right direction,” said Jhone Ebert, state superintendent of public instruction. “We are in no way satisfied, and we know we have a long way to go. With education policy changes in place and additional investment in education in recent legislative sessions, I’m confident that our teachers will continue to expand opportunities and improve outcomes for all of Nevada’s students.”

Nevada earned a D- in education spending, with only Idaho placing below the Silver State. Topping the list was Wyoming, which earned an A rating for having the highest percent of taxable resources spent on education. The Education Week report did not include Nevada’s increased education funding from the 2017 and 2019 Legislative sessions, however.

“We are in no way satisfied, and we know we have a long way to go.”

Under “chance for success,” Nevada has an overall rating of 69.7, which is below the national average of 79.

“This year, Nevada finishes 48th out of 49 states receiving overall school finance rankings, with an overall score of 61.8 out of 100 points and a grade of D-minus,” according to the report. “The nation as a whole posts a grade of C. Across the spending indicators, Nevada finishes with an F compared with a national average of D. Nevada ranks 44th in the nation in this area.”

The Silver State received a B rating for funding disbursement, which is 36th in the country.

Nevada improved from recent years with an overall 1.8 percent gain in the ranking, putting it above California and the District of Columbia. The nearly 2% is the largest increase of any state.

Nevada’s graduation rates have increased by 11% since 2014.

It’s important to note that the state ranking did not break down the data by Nevada school districts. Area high schools show higher than national averages for graduation rates.

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