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Education is an investment into the future of a community. Students’ experiences inside and outside the classroom, at school, and at home must be considered if we are to provide high-quality education to all. Omaha-Council Bluffs sees inequities in both educational access and student performance. These disparities are largely based on income and race, often showing up before kindergarten and continuing into adulthood.

Kindergarten Readiness

Many children in our community, particularly those from lower-income families, may not have access to preschool programs.

57% of children ages three to four are not enrolled in some type of preschool or nursery program. Research has shown that access to high-quality preschool programs can help children be ready for kindergarten.

Iowa and Nebraska have slightly higher rates of preschool enrollment than the national average.

Since 2015, Iowa has had higher rates of preschool enrollment for three- to four-year-olds. Nebraska as a whole had higher rates than the Omaha metro area.

Third Grade Reading

Pottawattamie County students are testing proficient in 3rd grade reading at slightly higher levels than Douglas and Sarpy County students.

In the Learning Community of Douglas and Sarpy Counties, students of color are testing proficient at rates much lower than white students.

Nebraska and Iowa students are less proficient at reading than students nationally.

Regardless of race/ethnicity, Nebraska and Iowa reading proficiency rates lag behind national rates.

Eighth Grade Math

Eighth-grade students in Pottawattamie County have higher math proficiency rates than students in Douglas and Sarpy Counties.

In the Learning Community of Douglas and Sarpy Counties, students of color are testing at proficiency rates much lower than white students.

Overall, local students test slightly above the national proficiency rates.

However, proficiency rates in Nebraska differ by race and ethnicity. Hispanic and white students are testing higher than national rates, but Black students are testing lower than national rates.


Average daily attendance across the metro has remained fairly consistent over the last five years.

Average daily attendance is the percentage of days students attend school compared to the total number of school days. (Data was not available for the Learning Community of Douglas and Sarpy in 2013 and 2019.)

Dropout Rates

Dropout rates in Douglas and Sarpy Counties have remained consistent but are higher than Pottawattamie County.

Across the state, Nebraska’s dropout rates have remained consistently around 1% since 2014. Iowa’s dropout rates have remained closer to 2% but have declined in recent years.

High School Graduation

Graduation rates in Douglas and Sarpy Counties are lower than Pottawattamie County.

In the Learning Community of Douglas & Sarpy Counties, students of color are graduating at lower rates than white students.

In Nebraska and Iowa, graduation rates in 2019 were higher than the national average.

Overall, statewide rates have been consistently higher than the national graduation rates for the last eight years. However, graduation rates in Douglas and Sarpy Counties have been declining since 2013.

College Attendance

Nebraska college attendance rates are higher than national rates. Iowa college attendance rates are lower than national rates.

Within the Omaha metro, however, college attendance rates are highest in Sarpy County. Data for Pottawattamie County college attendance has not been available in recent years.

Education Findings

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