NV Graduation Rates Still Among Lowest in U.S. - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

NV Graduation Rates Still Among Lowest in U.S.

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New numbers from the US Department of Education place Nevada at the bottom of the list for high school graduation rates.

According to the report, released Tuesday, just 62 percent of Nevada's high school seniors graduated in the 2010-2011 school year. That puts Nevada dead last on the list of states, with only the District of Columbia and the Bureau of Indian Education coming in lower.

Nevada's 62 percent is more than 25 percent lower than Iowa, which ranks first on the list, at 88 percent graduating.

However, the graduation data they used in the rankings is from two years ago, and Washoe County administrators said the numbers have gone up since then.

"It was disappointing to see those results for '10-'11," WCSD Superintendent Pedro Martinez said, "but I also know that reforms are underway across the entire state, and that we're going to see some gains, especially when the new numbers come out next year."

Martinez said those gains are largely because in Clark County, where most of the state's students are, reform programs already boosted the graduation rates several percent last year. That will help Nevada's total overall next year.

Martinez added that Nevada is currently playing catch-up with education reforms. Many of the top states implemented them a decade ago, while most of the Silver State started them just a few years ago.

In Washoe County, the picture is actually a lot more positive. Washoe County's graduation rate hovers around 70 percent, which would place the county in the middle of the list, if it were its own state.

That aside, Martinez said there's still a lot of work to do, and a key part of that is securing more funding from the legislature.

"It's not all about money," Martinez said, "but when I have children that are struggling in reading and math, and I can't give them additional support, it's tied to resources."

Martinez said some of the top states spend more than twice what Nevada spends per pupil, so convincing the legislature to increase education funding is one of his top priorities. The legislative session begins on February 4.

Written by Arianna Bennett
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