Nevada Schools 40th in Report By Legislators' Group

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Nevada schools were pushed further to the back of the class in a measurement of student achievement by a national organization of conservative state legislators.

The Silver State went from 31st to 40th in the "Report Card on American Education: A State-By-State Analysis," released Monday by the American Legislative Exchange Council.

The findings suggested that increased school funding for K-12 students nationwide has not improved test scores, council officials said.

"No matter how much money goes into it, it's not solving the problem," said Joe Rinzel, spokesman for the group in Washington, D.C. Rinzel said 2,400 legislators belong to bipartisan association for conservative state lawmakers who believe in limited government, free markets, federalism, and individual liberty.

Douglas Thunder, deputy Nevada state superintendent for administrative and fiscal services, said a report card on schools released last week by the National Assessment of Education Progress found a closer relationship between funding and test scores.

"A lot of the schools that were substantially below national average in testing were also substantially below the national average in spending per student," Thunder said of the NAEP study.

The 10th annual American Legislative Exchange Council report was based on 2002 results from fourth- and eighth-grade tests and high school Scholastic Aptitude Tests, Rinzel said.

Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa schools ranked highest in the report. Louisiana, Mississippi and the District of Columbia ranked lowest.

The report said Nevada spent $5,632 per pupil in 2000-01, up 1.1 percent from $5,568 the year earlier but 20 percent below the national average.

Nationally, the amount of money spent per student grew from $4,810 in 1980-81 to $7,079 in 2000-01.

The average combined SAT score for Nevada high school students in 2002 improved slightly, from 1,024 to 1,027, while the national average for SAT scores stayed the same, at 1,019.


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