Tag: Nevada Department of Education

Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type bool in /home/dropoutn/public_html/wp-content/themes/ralphkrause/ralphkrause/parts/mjr.php on line 47

This is Dropout Nation: Nevada’s State of Denial

Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type bool in /home/dropoutn/public_html/wp-content/themes/ralphkrause/ralphkrause/parts/mjr.php on line 47

When it comes to America’s high school dropout crisis — and the overall crisis of low educational achievement — there are generally two responses at the state and local levels….

It's all paradise-- except for Nevada students.

When it comes to America’s high school dropout crisis — and the overall crisis of low educational achievement — there are generally two responses at the state and local levels. The first is alarm and acknowledgment from those actively working to reform education. Those folks, no longer rare to be seen, are still in the (much-larger) minority. Those who usually run local school districts and state education agencies are generally unwilling to admit there are problems. They adapt the Officer Barbrady approach to the crisis, denying the statistics, attempting to polk holes in data, and generally behaving with little regard for the children in their care.

The latter typifies what is happening in Nevada, where the state schools superintendent and other defenders of traditional public education were none too pleased with the data from Education Week‘s Diplomas Count report, which proclaimed the state’s graduation rate for its Class of 2007 as the nation’s worst. State Superintendent Keith Rheault complained that the 42 percent graduation rate EdWeek estimates is far below the state’s own 67 percent calculation. He complains, in particular, that the magazine failed to account for student transfers to other states and the state’s own mobility.

This is rather laughable given that the Silver State is one of the nation’s fastest-growing states and has little in the way of out-migration. But even if one disagrees with how EdWeek calculates graduation rates, the reality is that by any measure, the kids aren’t graduating in Nevada and its largest county, Clark County (home to Las Vegas).

As you already know, Dropout Nation uses a simpler measure than that developed by EdWeek research czar (and dropout crisis researcher extraordinaire) Christopher Swanson. The measure compares eighth-grade enrollment against diploma recipients (or in the case of gender and racial measurements, progression to senior year of high school) five years later. Why eighth grade? Students are generally moved on from grade to grade, regardless of their level of academic achievement, until high school, when students must earn credits; this is when the dropout crisis manifests. Through this measure, one can simply (if not always perfectly) smooth out the ninth-grade bulge of freshmen left back from previous years because they because of the educational neglect wrought by schools, districts and teachers through the use of this social promotion.

Dropout Nation's Estimated Graduation Rate for Nevada's Class of 2007

Nevada's Class of 2007. One in two didn't make it.

Based on this calculation, a mere 56 percent of the 20,013 kids who originally made up the Silver State’s Class of 2007 graduated on time. That’s just 16,455 kids, if you are doing the math. What happened to the other 13,000 or so teens in the class? They likely dropped out.

No matter how Rheault tries to square it, Nevada is as likely to have a 67 percent graduation rate as I am likely to win the coming week’s Powerball drawing.

Graduation rates for Nevada’s school districts aren’t exactly overwhelming. Only 63 percent of Carson City’s Class of 2007 garnered their sheepskins, while just 56 percent of Washoe County’s (i.e. Reno and Sparks) freshmen made it to graduation. In tiny Mineral County, a mere 31 percent of the original Class of 2007 — 25 students — made it to graduation. Essentially, Nevada has a dropout crisis of stunning proportions, especially given it is a largely rural state with just one really large city.

That city, of course, is Las Vegas, which is part of Clark County schools, the largest school district in the state by a wide margin. About 9,070 of Clark County’s Class of 2007 likely dropped out; it accounts for about 70 percent of Nevada’s dropouts. It also presents us with one of the most-persistent elements of the dropout crisis in America: The boys aren’t graduating.

Clark County Promoting Power Whites in Class of 2007

No matter how you slice it...

The white males barely trail behind their female peers, with only a 1.3 percent gap in Promoting Power rates. This isn’t so for the black and Latino children. Just 66.5 percent of young black men made it from freshman to senior year of high school versus 75.5 percent of their young black women peers. And while while 75.2 percent of young Latino women made it from freshman to senior year on time, just 64.5 percent of young Latino men made it.

Clark County Promoting Power: Blacks in Class of 2007

...the song...

Clark County Promoting Power: Latinos in Class of 2007

...remains the same.

Considering that the the females have higher levels of promoting power, the heart of the dropout crisis lies with the boys. But this isn’t the only thing that matters. Considering that so many college freshmen end up in remedial ed, the girls may not necessarily be doing better. This is especially true in a giant dropout factory like Clark County. But solving the dropout crisis here, as in other states, will have to start with the boys (and with reading).

Unlike Nevada officials, Clark County’s leaders are acknowledging the problem. They are trying to address one of the symptoms of at-risk behavior among students — chronic truancy (even if some of the methods are among the tried-and-failed used elsewhere) — and looking to engage parents in this discussion (albeit, not perfectly). It is at least a start, and certainly better than what Rheault seems to be doing. He’s failing to fully acknowledge the state’s dropout crisis. He also seems to be ignoring the crisis to come; 43 percent of Nevada’s 4th-graders read Below Basic proficiency, according to the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress.

Either way, Rheault and other education officials in the Silver State needs to stop rationalizing matters and simply admit the problem. Then get to work.

1 Comment on This is Dropout Nation: Nevada’s State of Denial

Type on the field below and hit Enter/Return to search