NV 12th graders struggling to pass high school exit exam which covers … 9th grade material

Victor Joecks

How do you make Nevada’s stunningly low graduation rate, which Ed Week put at 44.3 percent in 2008, even worse?

Nevada’s high school exit exam, which many seniors have to retake multiple times or fail to pass at all, covers … ninth grade material. From the Las Vegas Sun:

Nevada high school students are given six chances to pass the proficiency exam. The test is first administered in the fall of the sophomore year, twice during the junior year and three times during senior year. The standardized exam tests students on mostly ninth-grade material in reading, writing, math and science. Once a passing score is achieved in each of the four areas, a student no longer must take the exams. But by law, all students must pass the proficiencies to graduate from a Nevada high school.

It breaks your heart to know that over half of Nevada’s students aren’t graduating from high school, but it’s even worse to know that for many students that high school diploma only represents a 9th grade level of learning. (Two questions for another day: How are sophomores, juniors and seniors passing their academic classes and becoming sophomores, juniors and seniors, if they can’t pass a test on ninth grade material? Why is a high school exit exam given in the tenth grade?)

This is why substantial education reforms like ending social promotion, offering educational choice for parents, putting teachers on one-year contracts and repealing collective bargaining are so important for education in general and your child in particular.

The biggest obstacles to these reforms and the improvements they would mean for your child are union bosses. Recently, Nevada State Education Association President Lynn Warne claimed that removing ineffective teachers from the classroom after three years of poor performance is a violation of those teachers’ “human rights.”

What garbage. No one has a “human right” to damage the education of your child. And as you can see by the level of learning in today’s public schools, the damage union bosses have done through protecting bad teachers and blocking reforms is enormous, despite Nevada nearly tripling inflation-adjusted per-pupil spending in the last 50 years.

Students vs. union. Your child vs. union bosses. An effective education for your child or dues for the Nevada State Education Association.

Those are the stakes. Those are the sides.

We stand with students.

Will you stand with us?