CARSON CITY — Nevada’s K-12 education system, which is facing budget cuts, got a D-plus average grade on a national report card released Wednesday by an industry publication. The grade was slightly below the national C average.
The Education Week’s “Quality Counts 2008” report showed Maryland, Massachusetts and New York leading all states with B averages. Nevada’s D-plus average gave the state a ranking of 46th among the states and Washington, D.C.
The report also gave states marks in six individual categories. Nevada did best for standards, assessment and accountability, earning a C for the way it lets students know what’s expected of them and for testing to see if they achieve those goals.
In other categories, Nevada got a D-minus for K-12 achievement, a C-minus for ensuring accountability and support for teachers, and D-pluses for opportunities for student success during and after school years, school finances and student transitions through schools and into the work force.
The report’s release coincides with word that Nevada K-12 education officials may target new programs, including all-day kindergarten and school empowerment initiatives, in making budget cuts sought by Gov. Jim Gibbons.
Jim Wells, deputy superintendent for finance at the state Department of Education says such a move would protect existing programs and basic school support.
Educators from Washoe, Clark and other districts also say reducing or eliminating new programs would be a less painful way to take $96 million out of K-12 budgets statewide than cutting existing programs.
Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley, D-Las Vegas, doesn’t think cuts are needed and says the state’s “rainy day” fund for fiscal emergencies can be tapped. There’s about $267 million in the fund now.
Gibbons already has proposed using $126 million of the fund to make up the shortfall in expected tax revenues.