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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Education performance in Nevada

The George Bush Institute recently released a great new website called The Global Report Card which was assembled by Dr. Jay P. Greene, University of Arkansas and Joshua B. McGee. The database compares thousands of U.S. school districts with national results and the combined education results more than two dozen of the world's most developed nations.

Greene and McGee followed up the website with "When the Best is Mediocre" highlighting some of their findings. Greene and McGee find that many of America's most affluent suburban white school district's in the nation can only achieve mediocre results compared to the global average.  This is interesting because the average American is about 33 percent more affluent than the average European but performs below average on math and reading compared to their European counterparts. In other words, American public education is so bad, compared to other nations, there really is very little refuge from poor performing school districts.

The United States has a higher GDP per capita than the vast majority of nations on the planet yet only ranks 25th on education achievement out of 34 of the world's most developed countries. Interestingly, Nevada has an above average GDP per capita but below average national results.

Not surprisingly, Nevada performs poorly compared to the rest of the U.S. and considerably worse than highly developed nations. The results vary widely with Mineral County School District and Pershing County School District typing for worst worst on math (23 percent of students would tie or beat the global average) and Eureka County School District performing the best (54 percent of students would tie or beat the global average).

The following tables measure the number of students in each county school district which would score as high as, or beat the national/world average.

2007 Math
County vs. Nation vs. World
Clark 38% 27%
Washoe 44% 32%
Carson City 43% 31%
Churchill 47% 35%
Douglas 54% 42%
Elko 44% 32%
Esmeralda 48% 36%
Eureka 66% 54%
Humbodlt 51% 38%
Lander 41% 29%
Lincoln 49% 36%
Lyon 42% 30%
Mineral 33% 23%
Nye 38% 27%
Pershing 34% 23%
Storey 43% 31%
White Pines 37% 26%

2007 Reading
County vs. Nation vs. World
Clark 38% 36%
Washoe 45% 43%
Carson City 45% 43%
Churchill 51% 48%
Douglas 61% 59%
Elko 47% 45%
Esmeralda 48% 45%
Eureka 72% 70%
Humboldt 50% 48%
Lander 51% 48%
Lincoln 51% 48%
Lyon 48% 46%
Mineral 33% 31%
Nye 44% 42%
Pershing 33% 31%
Storey 59% 47%
White Pines 42% 40%


  1. What percentage of a district's budget is spent on students with special needs? This matters. As many of the conservative authors you read note (Finn, Petrilli, Hess), a third to half a district's budget is spent students with IEPs. The Federal government has made it clear that there will be no spending cap for this population. Can the same be said of other countries?

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