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Nevada has once again been ranked worst in the nation in a highly regarded report card for state education systems.
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It’s the second consecutive year that Nevada ranked 51st out of 50 states and the District of Columbiain Education Week’s annual Quality Counts report, which grades states on school finances, K 12 achievement and a student’s chance for success.
Map: Quality Counts reports for each state
Chart: State top to bottom rankings
Last year was the first time Nevada had been ranked in the lowest spot.
But Nevada education officials say the ratings are based on outdated data, most of which is from 2015.
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Education Week, a Washington based nonprofit, is a national publication covering education. It haspublishedQuality Counts rankings for more than 20 years.
The report card gave Nevada a 65 percent, or “D” grade, the same as the state’s 2017 ranking. The nation as a whole earned a74.5 percent”C” average in 2018.
New Jersey and Vermont held the top three spots in 2017 and 2018.
Nevada ranked consistently low across all threecategories ranking 50th in the chance for success category, 47th in the school finance category and 37th in K 12 achievement.
Nevada education officials were quick to point out that the 2018 Quality Counts rankings rely heavily on old data.
“I understand our performance must improve,” State Superintendent of Instruction Steve Canavero told reporterson a Tuesday evening conference call. “But I don’t believe this shows where we are; it shows where we’ve been.”
Education Week uses nationally available data in its rankings. Those figures usually lag by several years.
Much of the data used in this year’s rankings, including all the finance and testing data, is from 2015.
This means the 2018 rankings don’t reflect the heavy monetary investments into education that happened during the 2015 and 2017 legislative sessions, which pumped nearly $500 million in additional funds into education spending over the past two bienniums.
Much of that funding is earmarked for specific state mandated programs, like the Read By Grade 3 program and Victory Schools, which get additional funding to help students in poverty.
Canavero said those investments and new programswill likely begin to show in next year’s Quality Counts rankings. He predicted Nevada will see a bump in the 2019 rankings,
specifically in the school finance category.