I was at the ERC Board Meeting this morning when someone on the Board mentioned that the ERC should be selling the quality of Nevada County schools to potential companies who might consider Nevada County as their new location. Eight or nine years ago that might have been a good idea, but should be approached with some caution now.
1) California schools across the board are in the tank. Twenty-two percent of California’s eighth-graders tested on a national science test passed, ranking among the worst in the nation. California students continue to score near the bottom among other states in math and reading, according to results of national tests. The states fourth-graders ranked 47th in the nation in both math and reading. Eighth-graders ranked 45th in math and 42nd in reading.
2) Nevada County Schools are no longer near the stop, with academic rankings sliding for past highs. Nevada County seventh grade math students are ranked 37th, tied with Napa County. On the upside third grade readers are ranked 7th, tied with Alameda and Contra Costa. Another positive is that Nevada County has the highest graduation rate, ranked as #1 in the state. The problem is these students are ranked against other students in California which are not performing well when compared to the national averages, in fact they are at the bottom of the barrel.
3) The 2013 STAR testing standard is from 200 to 1000. Schools scoring less than 800 are required to come up with a correction plan to get back to 800. Eleven out of 18 of Nevada County K-8 schools have STAR scores of less than 800. More than half of the Nevada County K-8 schools are not performing. Some schools have been on the list for three years, and could be closed for poor performance. Nothing to be bragging about to families thinking about moving to Nevada County.
It does not seem to be wise for the ERC to be selling California schools as a reason for companies to be moving to California. This is especially true since many Nevada County schools are not improving, having slid down hill from were they were 8 years ago.