NV rural schools marked by low incomes, poor college readiness, report says

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enjoyStudents in Nevada rural communities are less college-ready than rural students in any other state, and their family incomes are the second-lowest of all the states, according to a report on U.S. rural schools from the Rural School and Community Trust

Average rural school community incomes in Nevada are 205 percent of the federal poverty line, compared to 268 percent nationally. Only New Mexico, described as an “outlier” in the report, had lower average incomes than Nevada, at 70 percent of the poverty line.

Nevada rural communities also have the nation’s highest percentage of students who have changed residences in the past 12 months, “posing extreme challenges in educational stability for these students and their classmates,” the report said.

Socioeconomic status and mobility, combined with race, render Nevada’s rural school community the nation’s most diverse, the report said.

The report ranks Nevada rural students the least ready for college based on low rates of dual enrollment and advanced placement credits.

Nationally, about 23 percent of rural high school juniors and seniors are in dual enrollment to take courses for college credit. In Nevada, it’s 9.1 percent for females, and 5.7 percent for males.

Rural students nationally are less likely to take advanced placement courses than students in urban or suburban areas. The national average for all U.S. students is 19 percent. For rural students, the national average is 9.1 percent. In Nevada, it’s 1.1 percent.

The report said test scores for Nevada rural students are lower than non-rural Nevada students, but have shown “some of the best improvement in the U.S.” in both math and reading.

Defining “rural” by National Center for Education Statistics “locale codes,” the report effectively looks at towns with populations of 2,500 or less that are also remote enough not to be included in a metropolitan or micropolitan statistical area. As a result, the report includes 7,500 Nevada students, or 1.7 percent of the state’s student population.

Hugh Jackson
Editor | Hugh Jackson has been writing about Nevada policy and politics for more than 20 years. He was editor of the Las Vegas Business Press, senior editor at the Las Vegas CityLife weekly newspaper, daily political commentator on the Las Vegas NBC affiliate, and wrote the then-groundbreaking Las Vegas Gleaner, which among other things was the only independent political blog from Nevada that was credentialed at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. He spent a few years as a senior energy and environmental policy analyst for Public Citizen, and has occasionally worked as a consultant on mining, taxation, education and other issues for Nevada labor and public interest organizations. His freelance work has been published in outlets ranging from the Guardian to Desert Companion to In These Times to the Oil & Gas Journal. For several years he also taught U.S. History courses at UNLV. Prior to moving to Las Vegas, he was a reporter and then assistant managing editor at the Casper Star-Tribune, Wyoming’s largest newspaper.