The Condition of Education 2011
This latest portrait of American education from the National Center for Education Statistics is, as usual, dense with useful information. Perhaps most interesting are the large shifts on the school-choice front, with charter enrollment ballooning and private-school enrollment losing air. Over the past decade, the number of public charter-school pupils more than quadrupled—from 340,000 students in 1999-2000 to 1.4 million students in 2008-09. At the same time, private-school enrollment has deflated. While these schools taught 6.3 million students in 2001-02, private schools educated 5.5 million youngsters in 2009-10—a 13 percent decrease. Intriguingly, the pattern varied by school type. While enrollment in independent and secular private schools remained constant, religious schools saw sharp declines. Catholic schools were, once again, hit the hardest. Some other findings come as no shock (though maybe they should): Total per-pupil expenditures rose by 39 percent (in constant dollars) from 1989-90 to 2007-08, for example. On the good-news front, drop-out rates have declined for whites, blacks, and Hispanics over the past thirty years. Along with its parsed K-12 data, this year’s edition focuses on postsecondary education, documenting significant increases in total college enrollment and degrees as well as a bump in for-profit postsecondary enrollment (from 3 percent in 2000-01 to 9 percent today). In total, higher-education enrollment now trumps that of high schools: The nation boasted 17.6 million undergraduates in the fall of 2009 (and 2.9 million postbac students) and 15 million high schoolers (in 2008-09). Choose a preferred topic, dive in, and get a little nerdy.
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Susan Aud, William Hussar, Grace Kena, Kevin Bianco, Lauren Frohlich, Jana Kemp, Kim Tahan, Katie Mallory, Thomas Nachazel, and Gretchen Hannes, “The Condition of Education 2011,” (Washington, D.C.: National Center for Education Statistics, May 2011).
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