The ‘how’ has changed, but our ‘why’ remains the same: Ensure kids stay in school and graduate

By Tami Hance-Lehr

Published in The Nevada Independent

As Nevada students anticipate the start of another school year — in whatever form that may take — much has changed in the usual preparation. But one thing remains the same — our collective goal to ensure every student graduates from high school college-, career-, and community-ready.

It’s no secret that Nevada has long lagged to get beyond 45th amongst other states in our ability to adequately educate all our children. While our overall rank is not one we can proudly claim, there are indicators that demonstrate forward momentum — including our statewide graduation rate.

Over the last decade, Nevada has seen a 14-point increase in its statewide graduation rate, an indicator of success despite the overarching narrative of our dismal aggregate rank. Within these gains, significant  achievement and opportunity gaps still remain for students of color that call us to place equity at the center of every decision. 

Many factors stand as barriers between the desk and the diploma: poverty, adverse childhood events, pressure to seek employment to contribute to household support, mental health challenges, transportation barriers and housing instability. While these aren’t excuses, they are the realities faced by many Nevada children.  

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