Nevada Grad Rate Improves, but Still Trails Nation

LAS VEGAS  -- New data from the U.S. Department of Education show Nevada's graduation rate is up, but is still last in the nation.

Preliminary figures released Tuesday show the state had a 57.8 percent graduation rate in the 2009-10 school year, which is well below the national rate of 78.2 percent.

But Nevada's rate is up from the previous school year, when it registered at 56.3 percent.

The Clark County School District is grappling with overcrowded schools, budgetary issues and low SAT scores.

Clark County schools have several initiatives to help students earn their high school diplomas. One such initiative, called "Reclaim Your Future" has school leaders reaching out to absent students by going door-to-door to encourage them to finish their studies.

"I really think it's a matter of awareness and dedication of resources and leadership," said Susie Lee, board president of Communities In Schools of Nevada. "The No. 1 teacher of a child is a parent."

The report also showed Nevada's dropout rate was 4.5 percent in 2009-10. That's higher than the national rate of 3.4 percent, and it's not the highest in the nation.

Officials warn that graduation rates are estimates, and don't always account for students who transfer to other schools. States also have different definitions of a graduate, which can inflate some states' numbers and lower others'.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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