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Getting an Education

Chapter 6: Getting an Education

THE NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND ACT
THE COST OF PUBLIC EDUCATION
PREPRIMARY SCHOOL
ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOL
HIGHER EDUCATIONOFF TO COLLEGE
EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT AND EARNINGS

Despite the controversies surrounding the quality and direction of American education, the United States remains one of the most highly educated nations in the world. According to Thomas D. Snyder, Sally A. Dillow, and Charlene M. Hoffman, in Digest of Education Statistics, 2007 (March 2008, http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2008/2008022.pdf), in the fall of 2007, 73.7 million Americans were enrolled students in elementary and secondary schools and colleges. (See Table 6.1.) An additional 4.6 million were teachers and faculty at these institutions, and 5.2 million were employed as administrative and support staff.

THE NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND ACT

However, in the 1980s concern grew that American youth were falling behind young people in other industrialized countries in educational achievement. In response, the National Education Goals Panel was created in 1989 to further the achievement of several national goals, including increasing the high school graduation rate and student competency in English, mathematics, science, history, and geography. Even though a task force recommended the panel's reauthorization in 1999, the passage of sweeping educational reform legislation, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), shut down the panel in 2002.

The NCLB made huge changes to the laws defining and regulating the federal government's role in kindergarten through 12th-grade education. The law is based on four basic education reform principles. According to the U.S. Department of Education, in Four Pillars of NCLB (July 1, 2004, http://www.ed.gov/nclb/overview/intro/4pillars.html), the four principles are:

  • Stronger accountability for results
  • Increased flexibility and local control
  • Expanded options for parents
  • An emphasis on teaching methods that have been proven to work.

Accountability

Under the NCLB, schools are required to demonstrate adequate yearly progress toward statewide proficiency goals, including closing the achievement gap between advantaged and disadvantaged students. Those schools that do not demonstrate progress face corrective action and restructuring measures. Progress reports are public, so parents can stay informed about their school and school district. Schools that are making or exceeding adequate yearly progress are eligible for awards.

The accountability outlined under the NCLB is measured through standards testing. States are required to establish strong academic standards and test students annually to see how they are meeting them. The requirement for annual testing was phased in over a six-year period. During the 200203 school year, students in grades three to five, six to nine, and 10 to 12 were tested in math and reading. Beginning in the 200506 school year, testing expanded to all students in grades three to eight. In the 200708 school year, science testing in elementary, middle, and high school was implemented. The NCLB linked federal financing of schools to the results of these mandated tests.

The testing provisions of the NCLB are the subject of much debate. Martin R. West of the Brookings Institution explains in No Child Left Behind: How to Give It a Passing Grade (December 2005, http://www.brook.edu/comm/policybriefs/pb149.htm) that advocates see testing as a means of raising expectations and helping guarantee that all children are held to the same high standards. They argue that many young people have passed through school without acquiring the basic reading and math skills needed in society and especially in the information-oriented economy. By contrast, Amanda Paulson indicates in Next Round Begins for No Child Left Behind (Christian Science Monitor, January 8, 2007) that critics of testing say classroom experiences become limited to the need to teach students with the test in mindand what is tested is only a

 
TABLE 6.1 Estimated number of participants in elementary and secondary education and in higher education, fall 2007
[In millions]
Participants All levels (elementary, secondary, and postsecondary degree-granting) Elementary and secondary schools Postsecondary degree-granting institutions
Total Public Private Total Public Private
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Notes: Includes enrollments in local public school systems and in most private schools (religiously affiliated and nonsectarian). Excludes federal schools. Excludes private preprimary enrollment in schools that do not offer kindergarten or above. Degree-granting institutions grant associate's or higher degrees and participate in Title IV federal financial aid programs. Data for teachers and other staff in public and private elementary and secondary schools and colleges and universities are reported in terms of full-time equivalents. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.
SOURCE: Thomas D. Snyder, Sally A. Dillow, and Charlene M. Hoffman, Table 1. Projected Number of Participants in Educational Institutions, by Level and Control of Institution: Fall 2007, in Digest of Education Statistics, 2007, U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, March 2008, http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2008/2008022.pdf (accessed November 7, 2008)
Total 83.5 62.9 55.9 6.8 20.7 15.3 5.4
Enrollment 73.7 55.8 49.6 6.2 18.0 13.5 4.5
Teachers and faculty 4.6 3.7 3.2 0.5 0.9 0.6 0.3
Other professional, administrative, and support staff 5.2 3.4 3.1 0.3 1.8 1.2 0.6

sample of what children should know. Furthermore, critics claim that standards exams tend to test for those things most easily measured and not the critical thinking skills students need to develop. In addition, the tests measure only how students perform on the tests at one point in time, not their progress over time.

Proficiency Testing

The testing requirements of the NCLB will be debated for some time to come as states grapple with the best means of implementing them. Standardized tests have, however, been around for some time. A look at the changes in proficiency test scores over time is one way to gauge the performance of the education system.

In Condition of Education 2008 (June 2008, http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2008/2008031.pdf), the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) lists test results for a series of years. The percentage of both fourth and eighth graders who tested at or above proficient (indicating solid academic achievement) in reading rose from about 29% of both groups in 1992 to 33% of fourth graders and 31% of eighth graders in 2007. The percentage of fourth graders at or above proficiency in mathematics rose from 18% in 1992 to 39% in 2007; the percentage of eighth graders at or above proficiency rose from 21% in 1992 to 32% in 2007. Despite improvements, especially in mathematics, fewer than one out of three eighth graders had achieved proficiency in each area by 2007.

The public's opinion of school performance is low. Snyder, Dillow, and Hoffman present data on the grades that the public gives to schools nationally. Based on a scale of A=4, B=3, C=2, D=1, and F=0, the average grade given by adults to the nation's schools hit a high of 2.18slightly better than a Cin 1987. By 2007 the average grade had dropped to 1.90, lower than it had been in 2002, when the NCLB was passed. When adults with children in the school system were asked to rate their local schools as compared to the nation's schools as a whole, they gave their local schools a higher grade; they rated local schools at 2.54 and national schools at 1.96. Nevertheless, the high rating of local schools was still only about a C+.

Another way to evaluate the educational system in the United States is to compare it to the systems of other industrialized countries. In Comparative Indicators of Education in the United States and Other G-8 Countries: 2006 (August 2007, http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2007/2007006.pdf), David C. Miller et al. compare the U.S. educational system with the systems in eight other highly industrialized nations: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Russian Federation, Scotland, and the United Kingdom. U.S. students compared poorly to the other countries measured in reading and mathematics proficiency. Fifteen-year-old students in the United States had a mean reading score of 495 and a mean mathematics score of 483, below the scores of every other country measured except the Russian Federation and Italy.

Flexibility

The NCLB gave states and local school districts more control over the federal funding they receive for education. Up to half of all nonTitle I federal education funding can be allocated by states to whichever programs they wish. Federal programs were also simplified and consolidated under the law, so receiving funding is easier. However, according to Linda Darling-Hammond, in Evaluating No Child Left Behind (The Nation, May 2, 2007), critics charge that the law is woefully underfundedfunding allocated under the NCLB is less than 10% of most school districts' budgets.

Parental Options

The NCLB stated that parents of students attending failing schools would be provided with the opportunity and transportation to send their child to an alternative public or charter school. If the parent chose to keep his or her child in a failing school, federal Title I funds would be available for supplemental services such as tutoring and summer school, which would be run by either non-sectarian or faith-based organizations. The creation and use of charter schools were expanded under the NCLB.

Proven Educational Methods

The NCLB attached federal funding to programs that had already been shown to help children learn. The Department of Education reports in The Budget for Fiscal Year 2009 (2008, http://www.gpoaccess.gov/usbudget/fy09/pdf/budget/education.pdf) that emphasis was placed on the Reading First initiative, nearly tripling funding for reading programs from $393 million in fiscal year 2008 to a proposed $1 billion in fiscal year 2009. Included in this funding was an Early Reading First program, established to support literacy skills among preschool-age children to try to meet President George W. Bush's (1946-) goal of every child being able to read by the third grade. The fiscal year 2009 budget included a proposed $2.8 billion to be used for teacher quality programs, including funding to hire new teachers, increase teacher salaries, and improve teacher training and development.

The Voucher Controversy

Many people believe that problems such as large class sizes, poor teacher training, and lack of computers and supplies in many public schools are unsolvable within the current public school system. One solution proposed in the early 1990s was the school voucher system: The government would provide a certain amount of money each year to parents in the form of a voucher to enroll their children at the school of their choice, either public or private. School vouchers became a highly polarized issue, with strong opinions both for and against the idea.

The National Education Association (NEA), a union of teachers and one of the larger unions in the country, immediately objected to school vouchers, arguing that voucher programs would divert money from the public education system and make the current problems worse. The union also argued that giving money to parents who choose to send their child to a religious or parochial school is unconstitutional. Little evidence exists to support the idea that voucher programs will lead to better educational outcomes. For example, in An Evaluation of the Effect of D.C.'s Voucher Program on Public School Achievement and Racial Integration after One Year (January 2006, http://www.manhattan-institute.org/pdf/ewp_10.pdf), Jay P. Greene and Marcus A. Winters indicate that the Washington, D.C., voucher program had no effect on student performance in public schools. Furthermore, Kim K. Metcalf of the Center for Evaluation and Education Policy finds in Evaluation of the Cleveland Scholarship and Tutoring Program: Exploring Families' Educational Choices (December 2003, http://ceep.indiana.edu/projects/PDF/200312d_clev_6_phon_rep.pdf) no difference in the academic achievement of voucher-eligible students who used them to attend private school and those who chose to remain in public school.

Supporters of vouchers claim that parents should be able to choose the best educational environment for their children. They also argue that vouchers would give all people, not just the wealthy or middle class, the opportunity for a better education for their children in private schools. Most important, supporters believe that making the educational system a free-market enterprise, in which parents could choose which school their children would attend, would force the public educational system to provide a higher standard of education to compete.

During the legislative process of getting the NCLB through Congress, President Bush agreed to drop the voucher provisions from the legislation, recognizing that debate on the vouchers issue could prevent the bill from being passed. On January 8, 2002, the NCLB became law without specific provisions for a nationwide voucher program. However, in President Bush's final State of the Union address in January 2008, he proposed a new voucher program to be included in a reauthorization of the NCLB. The act was not reauthorized in 2008.

Frustrated at the national level, supporters of vouchers turned to state and local governments. Programs launched in Wisconsin, Florida, and Ohio provided students in some overcrowded or poorly performing schools with vouchers that could be used for private tuition. All these programs were met with court challenges. On June 27, 2002, in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris (536 U.S. 639), the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the use of public money for religious school tuition in Cleveland, Ohio, calling the city's voucher plan a program of true private choice.

Public School ChoiceNo Child Left Behind and Charter Schools

In lieu of a voucher program, the NCLB offered a public school choice program. Parents of students enrolled in failing public schools were allowed to move their children to a better-performing public or charter school. Local school districts were required to provide this choice and provide students with transportation to the alternative school.

Public charter schools are funded by government money and run by a group under an agreement, or charter, with the state that exempts it from many state or local regulations that govern most public schools. In return for these exemptions and funding, the school must meet certain standards. In A Commitment to Quality: National Charter School Policy Forum Report (October 2008, http://www.ed.gov/admins/comm/choice/csforum/report.pdf),

 

the Department of Education notes that by 2008, 40 states and the District of Columbia had 4,300 charter schools, in which more than 1.2 million students were enrolled. Furthermore, the department reports in The Budget for Fiscal Year 2009 that the fiscal year 2009 budget provided $236 million to help fund new and ongoing charter schools.

Future of the NCLB

During the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign, future president Barack Obama (1961-) promised to reform the NCLB if elected. According to Obama's Web site, www.barackobama.com, he and Vice President Joe Biden believe teachers should not be forced to spend the academic year preparing students to fill in bubbles on standardized tests. They vowed to improve the assessments used to track student progress to measure readiness for college.

THE COST OF PUBLIC EDUCATION

The average annual expenditure per student in the public school system in constant 200607 dollars more than doubled between 1970 and 2003, from $4,410 per pupil in 196970 to $9,910 per pupil during the 200405 school year. (See Figure 6.1.) Each year, when the federal budget is determined in Washington, D.C., the battle over the education budget is fierce. Public school officials and teachers stress the importance of investing in the public education system, arguing that more money will provide more teachers, educational materials, andeventuallya better education to students. They point to school buildings in need of repair and classes that meet in hallways and other cramped areas because of a lack of space. Opponents of increasing public school funding say that more money does not create a better educationbetter teachers do. To support their argument, they point to the increase in spending per pupil while some measurements of academic achievement remain low.

PREPRIMARY SCHOOL

Preprimary Growth

Participating in early childhood programs such as nursery school, Head Start, prekindergarten, and kindergarten helps prepare children for the academic challenges of first grade. In contrast to the declining elementary and secondary

 
TABLE 6.2 Enrollment of 3- to 5-year-old children in preprimary programs, by level and control of program and by attendance, selected years 19652006
[In thousands]
Year and age Total population, 3 to 5 years old Total Percent enrolled Enrollment by level and control Kindergarten Enrollment by attendance
Nursery school Full-day Part-day Percent full-day
Public Private Public Private
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Not available.
*Data collected using new procedures. May not be comparable with figures prior to 1994.
Note: Data are based on sample surveys of the civilian noninstitutional population. Although cells with fewer than 75,000 children are subject to wide sampling variation, they are included in the table to permit various types of aggregations. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.
SOURCE: Adapted from Thomas D. Snyder, Sally A. Dillow, and Charlene M. Hoffman, Table 41. Enrollment of 3-, 4-, and 5-Year-Old Children in Preprimary Programs, by Level of Program, Control of Program, and Attendance Status: Selected Years, 1965 through 2006, in Digest of Education Statistics, 2007, U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, March 2008, http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2008/2008022.pdf (accessed November 7, 2008)
Total, 3 to 5 years old                  
1965 12,549 3,407 27.1 127 393 2,291 596
1970 10,949 4,104 37.5 332 762 2,498 511 698 3,405 17.0
1975 10,185 4,955 48.7 570 1,174 2,682 528 1,295 3,659 26.1
1980 9,284 4,878 52.5 628 1,353 2,438 459 1,551 3,327 31.8
1985 10,733 5,865 54.6 846 1,631 2,847 541 2,144 3,722 36.6
1990 11,207 6,659 59.4 1,199 2,180 2,772 509 2,577 4,082 38.7
1995* 12,518 7,739 61.8 1,950 2,381 2,800 608 3,689 4,051 47.7
2000* 11,858 7,592 64.0 2,146 2,180 2,701 565 4,008 3,584 52.8
2002* 11,524 7,697 66.8 2,376 2,179 2,621 521 4,191 3,507 54.4
2003* 12,204 7,921 64.9 2,512 2,347 2,539 523 4,429 3,492 55.9
2004* 12,362 7,969 64.5 2,428 2,243 2,812 484 4,507 3,461 56.6
2005* 12,134 7,801 64.3 2,409 2,120 2,804 468 4,548 3,253 58.3
2006* 12,186 8,010 65.7 2,481 2,156 2,960 413 4,723 3,286 59.0

school enrollment between 1970 and 1980, preprimary enrollment showed substantial growth, increasing from 4.1 million in 1970 to 4.9 million in 1980. (See Table 6.2 and Figure 6.2.) Enrollment had grown to eight million by 2006.

Not only did the numbers of children enrolled in early childhood programs increase but also the percentage of all three- to five-year-olds enrolled increased substantially between 1965 and 2006. In 1965, 27.1% of three- to five-year-olds were enrolled in nursery school or kindergarten; by 2006, 65.7% were enrolled. (See Table 6.2.)

Even though programs such as Head Start and other locally funded preschool programs are available to children in low-income families, preprimary school attendance is still generally linked to parental income and educational achievement levels. According to the NCES, in Condition of Education 2008, 51% of four-year-olds from households with an income below the poverty level in 200506 and 59.6% of four-year-olds from households with an income at or above the poverty level were enrolled in preprimary programs. (See Table 6.3.) Over a quarter (26.3%) of four-year-olds from households with incomes below the poverty threshold were in Head Start programs, compared to just 8.2% of children from households with higher incomes.

Preschool enrollment rates were even more strongly correlated with their parents' educational level. In 200506 the enrollment rate of children in center-based care whose parents had not earned a high school diploma was only 43.4%. (See Table 6.3.) The enrollment rate of children whose parents had a high school diploma or equivalent was 51.7%, for those whose parents had some college it was 55.5%, for those whose parents had a bachelor's degree it was 65.7%, and for those whose parents had any graduate or professional school, the enrollment rate was 70.8%. These numbers likely reflect three things: parents with higher educational levels are more likely to continue working after becoming parents, they are better able to pay for these programs, and they value the educational benefits of preprimary programs for their children.

HEAD START . The Head Start program, which was established as part of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, is one of the most durable and successful federal programs for low-income and at-risk children. Directed by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Head Start is designed to help improve the social competence, learning skills, health, and nutrition of low-income children so they can begin school on a more level footing with children from higher-income families. Regulations require that 90% of children enrolled in Head Start be from low-income households.

The ACF notes in Head Start Program Fact Sheet Fiscal Year 2008 (2008, http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/About%20Head%20Start/dHeadStartProgr.htm) that in fiscal year 2007, 908,412 children were served by Head Start programs. Of these children, 39.7% were non-Hispanic

 

white, 34.7% were Hispanic, 30.1% were African-American, 4% were Native American or Alaskan Native, and 1.7% were Asian-American or Pacific Islander. Most participating children were three and four years old (36% and 51%, respectively). A significant portion (12.2%) of enrolled children had disabilities, including developmental disabilities, health impairments, visual handicaps, hearing impairments, emotional disturbances, speech and language impairments, orthopedic handicaps, and learning disabilities.

According to the ACF, the average cost per child for Head Start in 2007 was $7,326. Between its inception in 1965 and 2007, Head Start provided services to more than 25 million children and their families. The budget for Head Start in fiscal year 2008 was $6.9 billion. The Children's Defense Fund notes in Head Start Basics (March 8, 2005, http://www.childrensdefense.org/site/DocServer/headstartbasics2005.pdf?docID=616) that despite these expenditures, Head Start served only about 54% of eligible children because the program continues to be underfunded.

Head Start faced more drastic budget cuts beginning in the middle of the first decade of the 2000s, with its budget declining by more than 10% between 2005 and 2008. As a result of cuts in 2006, the National Head Start Association explains in Special Report: Quality of Head Start Programs Imperiled by Steady Erosion of Funding (February 7, 2007, http://www.saveheadstart.org/backpages/NHSA_January_2007_Budget_Survey_Report.pdf) that 56% of programs reported having cut their services to childrenincluding reducing hours; cutting instructional time, classroom materials, activities, and resources to children; reducing extra services such as mental health, medical and dental, and English as a second language; and decreasing services for children with disabilities. Almost half (47%) had to cut extra services to families, and another 46% of programs had to cut transportation services for children. Over two-thirds (69%) of Head Start programs were forced to cut staff positions and hours and eliminated salary increases and benefits, leading to higher turnover rates.

ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOL

Compulsory Attendance

All U.S. states require students to attend school through at least age 16, and Snyder, Dillow, and Hoffman note that 94.9% of all 14- to 17-year-olds were enrolled in school in 2006. Most industrialized Western nations require children to attend school for about 10 years.

 
TABLE 6.3 Percentage distribution of the early education and child care arrangements of the 2001 birth cohort at about 4 years old, by type of arrangement and selected child and family characteristics, 200506
Child or family characteristic Percentage distribution of populationa Percentage distribution by primary type of care arrangementb
No regular nonparental arrangement Home-based care Center-based carec  
Relative care Nonrelative care Total Head Start Other than Head Start Multiple arrangementsd
!Interpret data with caution (estimates are unstable).
Reporting standards not met (too few cases).
aDistribution of weighted Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort (ECLS-B) survey population between 44 and 65 months of age with data on primary care arrangements.
bPrimary type of care arrangement is the type of nonparental care in which the child spent the most hours.
cCare provided in places such as early learning centers, nursery schools, and preschools, including Head Start.
dChildren who spent an equal amount of time in each of two or more arrangements.
ePoverty status based on Census Bureau guidelines from 2002, which identify a dollar amount determined to meet a household's needs, given its size and composition. In 2002, a family was considered to live below the poverty threshold if its income was less than or equal to $18,392.
fSocioeconomic status (SES) was measured by a composite score on parental education and occupations and on family income.
Notes: Estimates weighted by W3R0. Estimates for children at about 4 years old pertain to children assessed between 44 and 65 months.
Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding and suppression of cells that do not meet standards.
SOURCE: Michael Planty et al.,Table 21. Percentage Distribution of the Early Education and Child Care Arrangements of the 2001 Birth Cohort at about 4 Years Old, by Type of Arrangement and Selected Child and Family Characteristics: School Year 200506, in The Condition of Education 2008, U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, June 2008, http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2008/2008031_App1.pdf (accessed November 7, 2008)
Total 100.0 20.0 13.1 7.6 57.5 12.7 44.8 1.9
Sex of child                
Male 51.2 19.3 13.1 7.5 58.0 12.9 45.1 2.1
Female 48.8 20.7 13.1 7.6 56.9 12.4 44.5 1.7
Race/ethnicity of child                
White 53.8 17.9 11.0 9.2 60.1 6.8 53.3 1.9
Black 13.8 16.0 13.9 4.3 62.4 25.4 37.1 3.3
Hispanic 25.1 27.2 15.9 6.2 49.4 18.6 30.9 1.2
Asian 2.6 17.5 16.0 3.4 60.7 5.5 55.3 2.3!
Pacific Islander 0.2 22.3! 45.0! 19.9! 5.0! 14.9!
American Indian/Alaska Native 0.5 20.0 14.0 5.3 59.6 31.1 28.5 1.1!
More than one race 4.0 17.8 17.5 8.9 53.9 12.2 41.7 1.8!
Age of child                
Less than 48 months 16.4 27.3 13.9 8.7 48.0 10.6 37.4 2.2
48.0 to 52.9 months 38.1 19.9 13.0 8.3 56.8 12.0 44.8 2.0
53.0 to 57.9 months 36.5 16.5 13.1 6.7 62.2 14.4 47.8 1.5
58.0 or more months 9.0 20.9 12.0 6.3 58.1 12.0 46.1 2.7
Mother's employment status                
Full-time (35 hours or more) 39.4 8.5 18.5 13.4 57.4 11.4 46.1 2.1
Part-time (less than 35 hours) 19.7 13.4 15.9 8.5 59.3 10.1 49.2 2.9
Looking for work 5.8 28.5 12.6 2.1! 54.7 24.3 30.4 2.0!
Not in labor force 34.3 35.6 4.6 1.5 57.3 13.7 43.7 1.0!
No mother in household 0.8 9.6! 36.0 9.5! 41.1 14.4! 26.7 3.8!
Parents' highest level of education                
Less than high school 10.4 34.0 16.5 4.0 43.4 22.2 21.2 2.1!
High school completion 25.0 22.6 17.1 6.7 51.7 21.4 30.3 2.0
Some college/vocational 31.6 20.6 14.9 7.3 55.5 13.0 42.5 1.7
Bachelor's degree 16.8 16.0 8.4 8.1 65.7 3.3 62.4 1.8
Any graduate/professional school 16.2 9.7 6.2 11.2 70.8 2.0 68.8 2.0
Poverty statuse                
Below poverty threshold 24.8 27.6 15.0 4.4 51.0 26.3 24.7 2.0
At or above poverty threshold 75.2 17.4 12.5 8.6 59.6 8.2 51.4 1.9
Socioeconomic statusf                
Lowest 20 percent 20.0 30.5 15.0 5.0 47.1 24.7 22.4 2.3
Middle 60 percent 60.0 19.6 15.0 7.4 56.2 12.5 43.7 1.8
Highest 20 percent 20.0 10.3 5.5 10.7 71.6 1.0 70.6 1.9

Enrollment

Preprimary, elementary, and secondary school enrollments reflect the number of births over a specified period. Because of the baby boom following World War II (19391945), school enrollment grew rapidly during the 1950s and 1960s, when those children reached school age. Elementary enrollment reached a then-record high in 1969, as did high school enrollment in 1971.

In the late 1960s the birthrate began to decline, resulting in a steadily falling school enrollment. An echo effect occurred in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when those born during the baby boom began their own families. This echo effect triggered an increase in school enrollment starting in the mid-1980s. In 1985 public elementary and secondary school enrollment increased for the first time since 1971 and continued to increase, reaching 55.2 million in 2005.

 

(See Figure 6.3.) It is projected to reach 60.4 million by 2017. In 2005, 38.9 million students were enrolled in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade and 16.3 million were enrolled in high school.

Private Schools

Enrollment in public schools far surpasses enrollment in private schools. Snyder, Dillow, and Hoffman indicate that in the fall of 2007 only 11% of all primary and secondary school students were enrolled in private schools. Private school enrollment has risen more slowly than school enrollment overall, and as a result the proportion of students enrolled in private schools declined slightly between 1980 and 2007. In 2007, 6.2 million students were enrolled in private schools4.8 million were in prekindergarten through eighth grade and 1.4 million were in ninth through 12th grades.

CATHOLIC SCHOOLS . According to Stephen P. Broughman, Nancy L. Swaim, and Patrick W. Keaton, in Characteristics of Private Schools in the United States: Results from the 20052006 Private School Universe Survey (March 2008, http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2008/2008315.pdf), 26.3% of all private schools were Catholic, and 44.4% of private school students attended Catholic schools. Economic and social changes have caused a decline in Catholic school enrollment and in the number of Catholic schools. In United States Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools, 20072008: The Annual Statistical Report on Schools, Enrollment, and Staffing (2008, http://www.ncea.org/news/AnnualDataReport.asp#full), Dale McDonald and Margaret M. Schultz of the National Catholic Educational Association find that in 199798 there were 8,223 Catholic schools in the United States; by 200708 there were only 7,378.

OTHER RELIGIOUS AND NONRELIGIOUS PRIVATE SCHOOLS . The other types of private schools are non-Catholic religious schools and nonreligious (nonsectarian) schools. According to Broughman, Swaim, and Keaton, non-Catholic religious schools made up 49.8% of all private schools in 200506 and enrolled 37.3% of all private school students. Nonsectarian schools enrolled only 18.3% of private school students in 23.9% of private schools.

Dropping Out

DROPOUT RATES . Status dropouts are 16- to 24-year-olds who have not finished high school and are not enrolled in school. Snyder, Dillow, and Hoffman report that status dropout rates decreased from 1970, when 15% of young people were status dropouts, through 2006, when 9.3% of young people were status dropouts. (See Table 6.4.) In 2006 the Hispanic status dropout rate was considerably higher, at 22.1%, than that of non-Hispanic African-Americans (10.7%) or non-Hispanic whites (5.8%). (See Table 6.5.)

Dropout rates also fluctuate greatly according to family income. In 2006, 16.5% of people aged 16 to 24 from families who had the lowest incomes (bottom 25%) had dropped out of school, which was more than four times the dropout rate of 16- to 24-year-olds whose families had the highest incomes (3.8%). (See Table 6.4.)

Status dropout rates are consistently lower for women than for men regardless of race or ethnicity. This has been the case since 1977. (See Table 6.5.) In 2006 the status dropout rate for young women aged 16 to 24 was 8.3%. Males of the same age in 2006 had a status dropout rate of 10.3%.

RETURNING TO SCHOOL OR GETTING AN ALTERNATIVE DIPLOMA . The decision to drop out of high school does not necessarily mean the end of a young person's education. Many former students return to school to get their diploma or take the test necessary to obtain an alternative credential or degree, such as a general equivalency diploma (GED). Snyder, Dillow, and Hoffman note that in 2005, 424,000 GEDs were issued. Many young people who earn their GED then go on to get a college education.

Special Populations

STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES . In 1976 Congress passed the Education of the Handicapped Act, which required schools to develop programs for disabled children. Formerly, parents of many disabled students had few options other than institutionalization or nursing care. The Education of the Handicapped Act required that disabled children be put in the least restrictive environment, which led to increased efforts to educate them in regular classrooms (known as mainstreaming).

 
TABLE 6.4 Percent of high school dropouts among persons 1624 years old (status dropout rate), by income level, and percentage distribution of status dropouts, by labor force status and educational attainment, 19702006
Year Status dropout rate Status dropout rate, by family income quartile Percentage distribution of status dropouts, by labor force status Percentage distribution of status dropouts, by years of school completed
Lowest quartile Middle low quartile Middle high quartile Highest quartile Total Employeda Unemployed Not in labor force Total Less than 9 years 9 years 10 years 11 or 12 years
Not available.
Reporting standards not met.
aIncludes persons employed, but not currently working.
bBecause of changes in data collection procedures, data may not be comparable with figures for years prior to 1992.
Note: Status dropouts are 16- to 24-year-olds who are not enrolled in school and who have not completed a high school program, regardless of when they left school. People who have received GED credentials are counted as high school completers. Data are based on sample surveys of the civilian noninstitutionalized population, which excludes persons in prisons, persons in the military, and other persons not living in households. Some data have been revised from previously published figures. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.
SOURCE: Thomas D. Snyder, Sally A. Dillow, and Charlene M. Hoffman, Table 106. Percentage of High School Dropouts among Persons 16 to 24 Years Old (Status Dropout Rate), by Income Level, and Percentage Distribution of Status Dropouts, by Labor Force Status and Educational Attainment: 1970 through 2006, in Digest of Education Statistics, 2007, U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, March 2008, http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2008/2008022.pdf (accessed November 7, 2008)
1970 15.0 28.0 21.2 11.7 5.2 100.0 49.8 10.3 39.9 100.0 28.5 20.6 26.8 24.0
1971 14.7 28.8 20.7 10.9 5.1 100.0 49.5 10.9 39.6 100.0 27.9 21.7 27.8 22.7
1972 14.6 27.6 20.8 10.2 5.4 100.0 51.2 10.2 38.6 100.0 27.5 20.8 29.0 22.7
1973 14.1 28.0 19.6 9.9 4.9 100.0 53.2 9.2 37.5 100.0 26.5 20.9 27.4 25.3
1974 14.3 100.0 51.8 12.3 35.9 100.0 25.4 20.1 28.7 25.8
1975 13.9 28.8 18.0 10.2 5.0 100.0 46.0 15.6 38.4 100.0 23.5 21.1 27.5 27.9
1976 14.1 28.1 19.2 10.1 4.9 100.0 48.8 16.0 35.2 100.0 24.3 20.1 27.8 27.8
1977 14.1 28.5 19.0 10.4 4.5 100.0 52.9 13.6 33.6 100.0 24.3 21.7 27.3 26.6
1978 14.2 28.2 18.9 10.5 5.5 100.0 54.3 12.4 33.3 100.0 22.9 20.2 28.2 28.8
1979 14.6 28.1 18.5 11.5 5.6 100.0 54.0 12.7 33.3 100.0 22.6 21.0 28.6 27.8
1980 14.1 27.0 18.1 10.7 5.7 100.0 50.4 17.0 32.6 100.0 23.6 19.7 29.8 27.0
1981 13.9 26.4 17.8 11.1 5.2 100.0 49.8 18.3 31.9 100.0 24.3 18.6 30.2 26.9
1982 13.9 27.2 18.3 10.2 4.4 100.0 45.2 21.1 33.7 100.0 22.9 20.8 28.8 27.6
1983 13.7 26.5 17.8 10.5 4.1 100.0 48.4 18.2 33.4 100.0 23.0 19.3 28.8 28.8
1984 13.1 25.9 16.5 9.9 3.8 100.0 49.7 17.3 32.9 100.0 23.6 21.4 27.5 27.5
1985 12.6 27.1 14.7 8.3 4.0 100.0 50.1 17.5 32.4 100.0 23.9 21.0 27.9 27.2
1986 12.2 25.4 14.8 8.0 3.4 100.0 51.1 16.4 32.5 100.0 25.4 21.5 25.7 27.4
1987 12.6 25.5 16.6 8.0 3.6 100.0 52.4 13.6 34.0 100.0 25.9 20.7 26.0 27.5
1988 12.9 27.2 15.4 8.2 3.4 100.0 52.9 100.0 28.9 19.3 25.1 26.8
1989 12.6 25.0 16.2 8.7 3.3 100.0 53.2 13.8 33.0 100.0 29.4 20.8 24.9 25.0
1990 12.1 24.3 15.1 8.7 2.9 100.0 52.5 13.3 34.2 100.0 28.6 20.9 24.4 26.1
1991 12.5 25.9 15.5 7.7 3.0 100.0 47.5 15.8 36.7 100.0 28.6 20.5 26.1 24.9
1992b 11.0 23.4 12.9 7.3 2.4 100.0 47.6 15.0 37.4 100.0 21.6 17.5 24.4 36.5
1993b 11.0 22.9 12.7 6.6 2.9 100.0 48.7 12.8 38.5 100.0 20.5 16.6 24.1 38.8
1994b 11.4 20.7 13.7 8.7 4.9 100.0 49.5 13.0 37.5 100.0 23.9 16.2 20.3 39.6
1995b 12.0 23.2 13.8 8.3 3.6 100.0 48.9 14.2 37.0 100.0 22.2 17.0 22.5 38.3
1996b 11.1 22.0 13.6 7.0 3.2 100.0 47.3 15.0 37.7 100.0 20.3 17.7 22.6 39.4
1997b 11.0 21.8 13.5 6.2 3.4 100.0 53.3 13.2 33.5 100.0 19.9 15.7 22.3 42.1
1998b 11.8 22.3 14.9 7.7 3.5 100.0 55.1 10.3 34.6 100.0 21.0 14.9 21.4 42.6
1999b 11.2 21.0 14.3 7.4 3.9 100.0 55.6 10.0 34.4 100.0 22.2 16.3 22.5 39.0
2000b 10.9 20.7 12.8 8.3 3.5 100.0 56.9 12.3 30.8 100.0 21.5 15.3 23.1 40.0
2001b 10.7 19.3 13.4 9.0 3.2 100.0 58.3 14.8 26.9 100.0 18.4 16.8 23.8 40.9
2002b 10.5 18.8 12.3 8.4 3.8 100.0 57.4 13.3 29.2 100.0 22.8 17.1 21.3 38.9
2003b 9.9 19.5 10.8 7.3 3.4 100.0 53.5 13.7 32.9 100.0 21.2 18.2 20.7 40.0
2004b 10.3 18.0 12.7 8.2 3.7 100.0 53.0 14.3 32.7 100.0 21.4 15.9 22.5 40.3
2005b 9.4 17.9 11.5 7.1 2.7 100.0 56.9 11.9 31.2 100.0 18.9 16.8 21.4 42.9
2006b 9.3 16.5 12.1 6.3 3.8 100.0 56.4 11.7 32.0 100.0 22.1 13.4 20.7 43.9

The law defined handicapped children as those who were mentally retarded, hard of hearing or deaf, orthopedically impaired, speech- and language-impaired, visually impaired, seriously emotionally disturbed, or otherwise health-impaired. It also included children with specific learning disabilities who require special education and related services.

In 1990 the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act was passed. This was a reauthorization and expansion of the earlier Education of the Handicapped Act. It added autism and traumatic brain injury to the list of disabilities covered by the law, and amendments added in 1992 and 1997 increased coverage for infants and toddlers and for children with attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The law required public school systems to develop an Individualized Education Program for each disabled child, reflecting the needs of individual students. In December 2004 the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act was signed into law by President Bush, reauthorizing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and bringing it in line with the provisions of the NCLB.

As a result of legislation that enforces their rights, increased numbers of disabled children have been served

 
TABLE 6.5 Percent age of high school dropouts among persons 1624 years old (status dropout rate), by sex, race and ethnicity, selected years 19602006
Year Total status dropout rate Male status dropout rate Female status dropout rate
All racesa White Black Hispanic All racesa White Black Hispanic All racesa White Black Hispanic
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
Not available.
Not applicable.
aIncludes other racial/ethnic categories not separately shown.
bBased on the April 1960 decennial census.
cWhite and black include persons of Hispanic ethnicity.
dBecause of changes in data collection procedures, data may not be comparable with figures for years prior to 1992.
eWhite and black exclude persons identifying themselves as more than one race.
Note: Status dropouts are 16- to 24-year-olds who are not enrolled in school and who have not completed a high school program, regardless of when they left school. People who have received GED credentials are counted as high school completers.
All data except for 1960 are based on October counts. Data are based on sample surveys of the civilian noninstitutionalized population, which excludes persons in prisons, persons in the military, and other persons not living in households. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity except where otherwise noted.
SOURCE: Thomas D. Snyder, Sally A. Dillow, and Charlene M. Hoffman, Table 105. Percentage of High School Dropouts among Persons 16 to 24 Years Old (Status Dropout Rate), by Sex and Race/Ethnicity: Selected Years, 1960 through 2006, in Digest of Education Statistics, 2007, U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, March 2008, http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2008/2008022.pdf (accessed November 7, 2008)
1960b 27.2 () () () () 27.8 () () () () 26.7 () () () ()
1967e 17.0 () 15.4 () 28.6 () () 16.5 () 14.7 () 30.6 () () 17.3 () 16.1 () 26.9 () ()
1968e 16.2 () 14.7 () 27.4 () () 15.8 () 14.4 () 27.1 () () 16.5 () 15.0 () 27.6 () ()
1969e 15.2 () 13.6 () 26.7 () () 14.3 () 12.6 () 26.9 () () 16.0 () 14.6 () 26.7 () ()
1970e 15.0(0.29) 13.2(0.30) 27.9(1.22) () 14.2(0.42) 12.2(0.42) 29.4 (1.82) () 15.7(0.41) 14.1 (0.42) 26.6(1.65) ()
1971e 14.7(0.28) 13.4(0.29) 24.0(1.14) () 14.2(0.41) 12.6(0.41) 25.5 (1.70) () 15.2(0.40) 14.2(0.42) 22.6(1.54) ()
1972 14.6(0.28) 12.3(0.29) 21.3(1.07) 34.3(2.22) 14.1 (0.40) 11.6(0.40) 22.3 (1.59) 33.7 (3.23) 15.1 (0.39) 12.8(0.41) 20.5(1.44) 34.8(3.05)
1973 14.1 (0.27) 11.6(0.28) 22.2(1.06) 33.5(2.24) 13.7(0.38) 11.5(0.39) 21.5 (1.53) 30.4(3.16) 14.5(0.38) 11.8(0.39) 22.8(1.47) 36.4(3.16)
1974 14.3(0.27) 11.9(0.28) 21.2(1.05) 33.0(2.08) 14.2(0.39) 12.0(0.40) 20.1 (1.51) 33.8 (2.99) 14.3 (0.38) 11.8(0.39) 22.1 (1.45) 32.2(2.90)
1975 13.9(0.27) 11.4(0.27) 22.9(1.06) 29.2(2.02) 13.3(0.37) 11.0(0.38) 23.0 (1.56) 26.7 (2.84) 14.5(0.38) 11.8(0.39) 22.9(1.44) 31.6(2.86)
1976 14.1 (0.27) 12.0(0.28) 20.5(1.00) 31.4(2.01) 14.1 (0.38) 12.1 (0.39) 21.2 (1.49) 30.3 (2.94) 14.2 (0.37) 11.8(0.39) 19.9(1.35) 32.3 (2.76)
1977 14.1 (0.27) 11.9(0.28) 19.8(0.99) 33.0(2.02) 14.5(0.38) 12.6(0.40) 19.5 (1.45) 31.6(2.89) 13.8 (0.37) 11.2(0.38) 20.0(1.36) 34.3 (2.83)
1978 14.2(0.27) 11.9(0.28) 20.2(1.00) 33.3(2.00) 14.6(0.38) 12.2(0.40) 22.5 (1.52) 33.6 (2.88) 13.9 (0.37) 11.6(0.39) 18.3(1.31) 33.1 (2.78)
1979 14.6(0.27) 12.0(0.28) 21.1 (1.01) 33.8(1.98) 15.0(0.39) 12.6(0.40) 22.4 (1.52) 33.0 (2.83) 14.2 (0.37) 11.5(0.38) 20.0(1.35) 34.5 (2.77)
1980 14.1 (0.26) 11.4(0.27) 19.1 (0.97) 35.2(1.89) 15.1 (0.39) 12.3(0.40) 20.8 (1.47) 37.2 (2.72) 13.1 (0.36) 10.5(0.37) 17.7(1.28) 33.2(2.61)
1981 13.9(0.26) 11.3(0.27) 18.4(0.93) 33.2(1.80) 15.1 (0.38) 12.5(0.40) 19.9 (1.40) 36.0 (2.61) 12.8(0.35) 10.2(0.36) 17.1 (1.24) 30.4(2.48)
1982 13.9(0.27) 11.4(0.29) 18.4(0.97) 31.7(1.93) 14.5(0.40) 12.0(0.42) 21.2 (1.50) 30.5 (2.73) 13.3 (0.38) 10.8(0.40) 15.9(1.26) 32.8(2.71)
1983 13.7(0.27) 11.1 (0.29) 18.0(0.97) 31.6(1.93) 14.9(0.41) 12.2(0.43) 19.9 (1.46) 34.3 (2.84) 12.5(0.37) 10.1 (0.39) 16.2(1.28) 29.1 (2.61)
1984 13.1 (0.27) 11.0(0.29) 15.5(0.91) 29.8(1.91) 14.0(0.40) 11.9(0.43) 16.8 (1.37) 30.6 (2.78) 12.3(0.37) 10.1 (0.39) 14.3(1.22) 29.0(2.63)
1985 12.6(0.27) 10.4(0.29) 15.2(0.92) 27.6(1.93) 13.4(0.40) 11.1 (0.42) 16.1 (1.37) 29.9 (2.76) 11.8(0.37) 9.8 (0.39) 14.3(1.23) 25.2(2.68)
1986 12.2(0.27) 9.7(0.28) 14.2(0.90) 30.1 (1.88) 13.1 (0.40) 10.3(0.42) 15.0 (1.33) 32.8 (2.66) 11.4(0.37) 9.1 (0.39) 13.5(1.21) 27.2 (2.63)
1987 12.6(0.28) 10.4(0.30) 14.1 (0.90) 28.6(1.84) 13.2(0.40) 10.8(0.43) 15.0 (1.35) 29.1 (2.57) 12.1 (0.38) 10.0(0.41) 13.3(1.21) 28.1 (2.64)
1988 12.9(0.30) 9.6(0.31) 14.5(1.00) 35.8(2.30) 13.5(0.44) 10.3(0.46) 15.0 (1.48) 36.0(3.19) 12.2(0.42) 8.9 (0.43) 14.0(1.36) 35.4(3.31)
1989 12.6(0.31) 9.4(0.32) 13.9(0.98) 33.0(2.19) 13.6(0.45) 10.3(0.47) 14.9 (1.46) 34.4 (3.08) 11.7(0.42) 8.5 (0.43) 13.0(1.32) 31.6(3.11)
1990 12.1 (0.29) 9.0(0.30) 13.2(0.94) 32.4(1.91) 12.3(0.42) 9.3 (0.44) 11.9 (1.30) 34.3 (2.71) 11.8(0.41) 8.7 (0.42) 14.4(1.34) 30.3(2.70)
1991 12.5(0.30) 8.9(0.31) 13.6(0.95) 35.3(1.93) 13.0(0.43) 8.9 (0.44) 13.5 (1.37) 39.2 (2.74) 11.9(0.41) 8.9 (0.43) 13.7(1.31) 31.1 (2.70)
1992d 11.0(0.28) 7.7(0.29) 13.7(0.95) 29.4(1.86) 11.3(0.41) 8.0 (0.42) 12.5 (1.32) 32.1 (2.67) 10.7(0.39) 7.4 (0.40) 14.8(1.36) 26.6 (2.56)
1993d 11.0(0.28) 7.9(0.29) 13.6(0.94) 27.5(1.79) 11.2(0.40) 8.2 (0.42) 12.6 (1.32) 28.1 (2.54) 10.9(0.40) 7.6(0.41) 14.4(1.34) 26.9(2.52)
1994d 11.4(0.26) 7.7(0.27) 12.6(0.75) 30.0(1.16) 12.3(0.38) 8.0 (0.38) 14.1 (1.14) 31.6 (1.60) 10.6(0.36) 7.5 (0.37) 11.3(0.99) 28.1 (1.66)
1995d 12.0(0.27) 8.6(0.28) 12.1 (0.74) 30.0(1.15) 12.2(0.38) 9.0 (0.40) 11.1 (1.05) 30.0(1.59) 11.7(0.37) 8.2 (0.39) 12.9(1.05) 30.0(1.66)
1996d 11.1 (0.27) 7.3(0.27) 13.0(0.80) 29.4(1.19) 11.4(0.38) 7.3 (0.38) 13.5 (1.18) 30.3(1.67) 10.9(0.38) 7.3 (0.39) 12.5(1.08) 28.3(1.69)
1997d 11.0(0.27) 7.6(0.28) 13.4(0.80) 25.3(1.11) 11.9(0.39) 8.5(0.41) 13.3 (1.16) 27.0(1.55) 10.1 (0.36) 6.7 (0.37) 13.5(1.11) 23.4(1.59)
1998d 11.8(0.27) 7.7(0.28) 13.8(0.81) 29.5(1.12) 13.3(0.40) 8.6(0.41) 15.5 (1.24) 33.5(1.59) 10.3(0.36) 6.9 (0.37) 12.2(1.05) 25.0(1.56)
1999d 11.2(0.26) 7.3(0.27) 12.6(0.77) 28.6(1.11) 11.9(0.38) 7.7 (0.39) 12.1 (1.10) 31.0(1.58) 10.5(0.36) 6.9 (0.37) 13.0(1.08) 26.0(1.54)
2000d 10.9(0.26) 6.9(0.26) 13.1 (0.78) 27.8(1.08) 12.0(0.38) 7.0 (0.37) 15.3 (1.20) 31.8(1.56) 9.9 (0.35) 6.9 (0.37) 11.1 (1.00) 23.5(1.48)
2001d 10.7 (0.25) 7.3 (0.26) 10.9 (0.71) 27.0 (1.06) 12.2 (0.38) 7.9 (0.39) 13.0 (1.12) 31.6 (1.55) 9.3 (0.34) 6.7 (0.36) 9.0 (0.90) 22.1 (1.42)
2002d 10.5 (0.24) 6.5 (0.24) 11.3 (0.70) 25.7 (0.93) 11.8 (0.35) 6.7 (0.35) 12.8 (1.07) 29.6 (1.32) 9.2 (0.32) 6.3 (0.34) 9.9 (0.91) 21.2 (1.27)
2003d, e 9.9 (0.23) 6.3 (0.24) 10.9 (0.69) 23.5 (0.90) 11.3 (0.34) 7.1 (0.35) 12.5 (1.05) 26.7 (1.29) 8.4 (0.30) 5.6 (0.32) 9.5 (0.89) 20.1 (1.23)
2004d, e 10.3 (0.23) 6.8 (0.24) 11.8 (0.70) 23.8 (0.89) 11.6 (0.34) 7.1 (0.35) 13.5 (1.08) 28.5 (1.30) 9.0 (0.31) 6.4 (0.34) 10.2 (0.92) 18.5 (1.18)
2005d, e 9.4 (0.22) 6.0 (0.23) 10.4 (0.66) 22.4 (0.87) 10.8 (0.33) 6.6 (0.34) 12.0 (1.02) 26.4 (1.26) 8.0 (0.29) 5.3 (0.31) 9.0 (0.86) 18.1 (1.16)
2006d, e 9.3 (0.22) 5.8 (0.23) 10.7 (0.66) 22.1 (0.86) 10.3 (0.33) 6.4 (0.33) 9.7 (0.91) 25.7 (1.25) 8.3 (0.30) 5.3 (0.31) 11.7 (0.96) 18.1 (1.15)

in public schools. Between 1976 and 2006 the proportion of all students who participated in federal education programs for children with disabilities increased from 8.3% to 13.8%. (See Table 6.6.) In the 200506 school year, the highest proportion of students needed services for specific learning disabilities (5.6%), followed by students who needed help with speech or language impairments (3%) and students who were mentally retarded (1.1%). According to the Office of Special Education Programs, in 28th Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 2006 (January 2009, http://www.ed.gov/about/reports/annual/osep/2006/parts-b-c/28th-vol-1.pdf), 282,733 children from birth through age 2 and 701,949 children aged 3 through 5 received early intervention services in 2004. Another 6.1 million children aged 6 through 21 received special education and related services.

HOMELESS CHILDREN . Homelessness harms children in many ways, including hindering their ability to attend and succeed in school. Homeless children have difficulty with transportation to school, maintaining necessary documents, and attaining privacy needed for homework, sleep, and interaction with parents in a shelter. Experts report that homeless childrencompared to children who are poor but housedmiss more days of school, more often repeat a grade, and are more often put into special education classes.

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987 required in Title VII, subtitle B, that each state provide free, appropriate, public education to homeless youth. The law further required that all states develop a plan to address the denial of access to education to homeless children.

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2001 went further to address inequities that affect homeless children in the public school system. New guidance for states and school systems released by the Department of Education in April 2003 noted the main differences between the old and new programs:

  • Homeless children may no longer be segregated in a separate program on the basis of their homeless status
  • Schools must immediately enroll homeless students even if they are missing some of the documentation normally required
  • Upon parental request, states and school districts must provide transportation for homeless children to the school they attended before they became homeless
  • School districts must designate a local liaison for homeless children and youths

HOMESCHOOLED CHILDREN . A number of parents who are unhappy with public schools teach their children at home. According to Daniel Princiotta and Christopher Chapman, in Homeschooling in the United States: 2003 (February 2006, http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2006/2006042.pdf), approximately 850,000, or 1.7% of school-age children, were being homeschooled in the spring of 1999. By 2003 that number had risen to 1.1 million students, or 2.2% of school-age children.

Parents choose to homeschool their children for a variety of reasons. The NCES reports in the issue brief 1.1 Million Homeschooled Students in the United States in 2003 (July 2004, http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2004/2004115.pdf) that almost a third (31%) of the home-schooling parents surveyed in the National Household Education Survey said the most important reason they chose to homeschool was concern about the environment of the other schools. Another 30% said they chose to homeschool to provide religious or moral instruction. The third most common reason parents gave for home-schooling was dissatisfaction with the academic instruction available at other schools (16%).

States have differing requirements for parents who teach their children at home. According to the Home School Legal Defense Association, some states, such as Idaho and New Jersey, give parents the right to educate their children as they see fit, and impose only minor controls or none at all. Other states have more strict regulations. Highly regulated states, such as New York, Vermont, Pennsylvania, and a few others, require parents to get curriculum approved, send achievement test scores, or meet qualification requirements. Opponents of homeschooling argue that parents may not be qualified to be teachers, but proponents believe that parents can gain teaching skills through experience, just as other teachers do.

HIGHER EDUCATIONOFF TO COLLEGE

Formal schooling beyond high school increasingly is being viewed as a necessity, not only to a young person's development but also to his or her economic success. Many parents consider helping their children attend college to be an important financial responsibility.

College Entrance Examinations

Most students who want to enter a college or university in the United States must take either the SAT (once known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test, then the Scholastic Assessment Test, now simply the SAT I) or the American College Test (ACT) as part of their admission requirements. The ACT is a curriculum-based achievement test, measuring proficiency in reading, math, English, and science, whereas the SAT is the primary admissions test to measure a student's mathematical and verbal reasoning ability in a way intended to assess readiness for college. Students who take these tests usually plan to continue their education beyond high school; therefore, these tests do not profile all high school students.

MORE ARE TAKINGSAT AND ACT EXAMS, WITH MIXED RESULTS . The College Board notes in SAT Scores Stable as Record Numbers Take Test (August 26, 2008, http://www.collegeboard.com/press/releases/197846.html) that

 
TABLE 6.6 Number of children with disabilities who were served by federal programs, as a percentage of total public K12 enrollment, by type of disability, 197677 to 200506
Type of disability 197677 198081 199091 199495 199596 199697 199798 199899 19992000 200001 200102 200203 200304 200405 200506
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
  Number served as a percent of total enrollment
Not available.
Not applicable.
#Rounds to zero.
aOther health impairments include having limited strength, vitality, or alertness due to chronic or acute health problems such as a heart condition, tuberculosis, rheumatic fever, nephritis, asthma, sickle cell anemia, hemophilia, epilepsy lead poisoning, leukemia, or diabetes.
bIncludes preschool children ages 35 served under Chapter 1 and IDEA, Part B. Prior to 198788, these students were included in the counts by disability condition. Beginning in 198788, states were no longer required to report preschool children (ages 05) by disability condition. Beginning in 200203, preschool children were again identified by disability condition.
3Based on the total enrollment in public schools, prekindergarten through 12th grade. Note: Includes students served under Chapter 1 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), formerly the Education of the Handicapped Act. Prior to October 1994, children and youth with disabilities were served under Chapter 1 as well as IDEA, Part B. In October 1994, funding for children and youth with disabilities was consolidated under IDEA, Part B. Data reported in this table for years prior to 199495 include children ages 021 served under Chapter 1. Counts are based on reports from the 50 states and the District of Columbia only (i.e., table excludes data for other jurisdictions). Increases since 198788 are due in part to new legislation enacted in fall 1986, which added a mandate for public school special education services for 3- to 5-year-old disabled children. Some data have been revised from previously published figures. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.
SOURCE: Adapted from Thomas D. Snyder, Sally A. Dillow, and Charlene M. Hoffman, Table 47. Children 3 to 21 Years Old Served in Federally Supported Programs for the Disabled, by Type of Disability: Selected Years, 197677 through 200506, in Digest of Education Statistics, 2007, U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, March 2008, http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2008/2008022.pdf (accessed November 7, 2008). Nongovernmental data from Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) database, September 22, 2006.
All disabilities 8.3 10.1 11.4 12.2 12.4 12.6 12.8 13.0 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 13.7 13.8 13.8
Specific learning disabilities 1.8 3.6 5.2 5.6 5.8 5.8 5.9 6.0 6.0 6.1 6.0 5.9 5.8 5.7 5.6
Speech or language impairments 2.9 2.9 2.4 2.3 2.3 2.3 2.3 2.3 2.3 3.0 2.9 2.9 3.0 3.0 3.0
Mental retardation 2.2 2.0 1.3 1.3 1.3 1.3 1.3 1.3 1.3 1.3 1.3 1.2 1.2 1.2 1.1
Emotional disturbance 0.6 0.8 0.9 1.0 1.0 1.0 10.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0
Hearing impairments 0.2 0.2 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2
Orthopedic impairments 0.2 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 01. 0.1 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.1
Other health impairmentsa 0.3 0.2 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.4 0.5 0.5 0.1 0.7 0.8 1 0 1.1 1.2
Visual impairments 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1
Multiple disabilities 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3
Deaf-blindness # # # # # # # # # # # # # #
Autism # 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.2 0.3 0.3 0.4 0.5
Traumatic brain injury # # # # # # # # # # # 0.1
Developmental delay # # # 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.6 0.7 0.7
Preschool disabledb 0.9 1.2 1.2 1.2 1.2 1.2 1.2

the number of students who take both the SAT and the ACT has grown steadily. In 2008 more than 1.5 million students took the SAT. This represented an increase of 8% over 2003 and 29.5% over 1998. The article 2008 ACT College Readiness Report News Release (ACT News, August 13, 2008) states that the number of students taking the ACT increased as well; 1.4 million students took the ACT in 2008, up 9% from 2007. The increased numbers taking the SAT and ACT suggest that more high school graduates are pursuing a college education.

Performance on the SAT is measured on a scale of 200 to 800 for each of three sections, with the established average score being around 500 for each. According to the College Board, in 2008 College-Bound Seniors, over the period from 1972 to 2008 the average critical reading scores on the SAT declined from 537 to 502. By contrast, the results for the math portion of the SAT dropped and then rebounded over this same period, from 509 in 1972 to 515 in 2008. Writing was tested for the first time in 2006; test takers received an average score of 497 in that year and 494 in each of the two subsequent years. The ACT is scored on a scale of 1 to 36, with 36 being the highest possible score. The ACT notes in ACT High School Profile Report (2008, http://www.act.org/news/data/08/pdf/National2008.pdf) that the average ACT scores, after improving for several years, dropped slightly in 2008; in 1970 the average composite ACT score was 19.9, and in 2008 the average composite score was 21.1, down from 21.2 the year before.

CHARACTERISTICS OF TEST TAKERS . More women than men took the tests in 200653.6% of those who took the SAT were women. More women than men have taken the SAT since the 1970s as well. In 2008 College Bound Seniors Average SAT Scores (2008, http://www.fairtest.org/files/2008%20COLLEGE%20BOUND%20SENIORS%20AVERAGE%20SAT%20SCORES.pdf), the College Board states that in 2008, 57% of Hispanic and African-American test takers were women, 51% of Asian-Americans taking the test were women, and 53% of non-Hispanic white test takers were women. Men scored higher on both the critical reading and the math portions of the SAT test in 2008 (average scores of 504 and 533, respectively), compared to women (500 in each section). Women, however, scored higher on the writing section than men did (501 and 488, respectively). The College Board reports that women are continuing to narrow the performance gap with males in the critical reading section of the test.

The College Board explains that despite improvements in the scores of minority students, most lagged behind those of non-Hispanic white students. In 2008 white students scored a mean of 528 on critical reading, 537 on math, and 518 on writing on the SAT. African-Americans scored an average of 430 on critical reading, 426 on math, and 424 on writing, the lowest average scores of any racial or ethnic group. Mexican-Americans scored an average of 454 on critical reading, 463 on math, and 447 on writing; and Puerto Ricans scored 456 on critical reading, 453 on math, and 445 on writing. Native Americans and Alaskan Natives scored 485 on critical reading, 491 on math, and 470 on writing. Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders scored an average of 513 on critical reading, 581 on math, and 516 on writing.

According to the ACT, in ACT High School Profile Report, the 2008 test results show that Asian-Americans scored an average of 22.9, non-Hispanic whites scored an average of 22.1, Native Americans and Alaskan Natives scored an average of 19, Hispanics scored an average of 18.7, and African-American students scored an average of 16.9. Scores for all groups except African-Americans were up since 2004. In the article ACT Scores Hold Steady in 2003 (2003, http://www.act.org/activity/autumn2003/scores.html), Richard L. Ferguson notes, Our research has shown that far too many African-American students are not being adequately prepared for college. They are less likely than others to take rigorous, college-preparatory courses, and they often don't receive the information and guidance they need to properly plan for college. ACT data for 2008 show that fewer minority test takers had taken the core college-preparatory coursework and that groups that had taken more core coursework, such as non-Hispanic whites and Asian-Americans, tended to score higher on the ACT.

Projected Enrollment

Enrollment in institutions of higher education is expected to rise through 2017, due not only to large numbers of children of baby boomers approaching college age but also to the increasing numbers of people of all ages seeking advanced learning. Enrollment in degree-granting postsecondary institutions stood at 17.8 million in 2006 and is expected to reach 20.1 million by 2017. (See Figure 6.4.)

 

Community College Enrollment during Economic Downturn

During times of economic distress, in general, more people return to community colleges for job retraining or to learn different skills to pursue new careers. This trend was observed during the global financial crisis, which intensified in late 2008. As described by Caitlin McDevitt, in Junior College Squeeze: Community Colleges across the Country Are Seeing Enrollment Climb Just as Local Governments Scale Back Funding (Newsweek, December 15, 2008), the American Association of Community Colleges [AACC] reports that community-college enrollment rose 8 to 10 percent. According to Rachel Streitfeld, in Unemployed Workers Heading Back to School, (CNN.com, February 14, 2009), AACC president George Boggs has heard from 75 college presidents reporting double-digit enrollment increases [during the winter 2009] semester. Boggs suggested that community colleges are a big part of the solution to this economic downturn. However, Boggs explained that even though the community colleges have assisted unemployed workers by decreasing or freezing their tuition, setting up scholarship programs, or using financial assistance to cover the costs of books and transportation, the spike in applications has imposed a heavy financial burden on some schools that have already been struggling to keep tuition costs low. Boggs stated, Many [community colleges] are reporting that it is the highest-ever enrollment that they have had. And several are reporting a waiting list of students that they can not accommodate. It wouldn't surprise me to hear that about a half-million students are being turned away from our community colleges today.

College Costs

Paying for a college education, even at public four-year institutions, now ranks as one of the most costly investments for American families. Snyder, Dillow, and Hoffman indicate that in 200607 the average annual instate cost at a four-year public college, including tuition and room and board, was $12,805. For one year at a private four-year college, the average cost for tuition and room and board was $28,896. Public college tuition varied widely among states, from $2,670 in the District of Columbia to $9,333 in New Jersey. Most states with the highest tuition were in the Northeast and most with the lowest tuition were in the South and West.

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR STUDENTS . According to Snyder, Dillow, and Hoffman, during the 200304 academic year, almost two-thirds (63.2%) of about 19.1 million undergraduates enrolled in postsecondary institutions received some type of financial aid from federal, state, institutional, or other sources to meet their educational expenses. About half (48%) of undergraduates received some form of federal aid. More than half (50.7%) of all students received grants (which do not have to be paid back), about a third (35.2%) took out loans (which do have to be paid back), and 7.5% were on work-study programs. Federal assistance that goes directly to students includes Pell Grants (the annual maximum was decreased to $4,241 for the 200809 award year), the Stafford Student Loan Program (a maximum loan of $19,000 for four years of study for dependent undergraduate students), and Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants (which can range from $100 to $2,000 per year).

Snyder, Dillow, and Hoffman note that during the 200304 school year, 62.7% of dependent undergraduate students whose families earned less than $20,000 per year and 77.8% of students whose families earned between $20,000 and $39,999 per year received financial aid. However, due to the high cost of college, students even in high-income brackets received financial aid to help pay for college; 60.5% of dependent undergraduate students whose families earned $100,000 or more received some form of financial aid in 200304.

In A New Era of Responsibility: Renewing America's Promise (2009, http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/assets/fy2010_new_era/A_New_Era_of_Responsibility2.pdf), the White House indicates that the Obama administration's proposed 2010 budget included money to increase the Pell Grant maximum award to $5,550 in the 201011 school year, as well as to tie future increases in the grant program to inflation. The budget also included a proposal to simplify and standardize the Perkins Student Loan program, which the administration believes can save the government money and allow reinvestment in the program.

PROPOSED TAX CREDIT . According to the White House, in The Agenda: Education (2009, http://www.whitehouse.gov/agenda/education/), the Obama administration promised to make college education affordable for everyone by creating an American Opportunity Tax Credit. This credit would refund the first $4,000 of a college education, which the administration estimated would make community college free for most students, and would cover two-thirds of the cost of tuition at a public college. Anyone who claimed the tax credit would be required to volunteer 100 hours in the community in exchange for the credit. A $2,500 tax credit was included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that was signed into law by President Obama on February 17, 2009. The 2010 budget included provisions to make the tax cut permanent.

EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT AND EARNINGS

The educational attainment of the U.S. population has risen steadily since the 1940s. In Educational Attainment in the United States: 2007 (December 27, 2007, http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/education/cps2007.html), the U.S. Census Bureau states that in 2007, 86% of adults older than 25 had graduated from high schoolthe

highest number ever. More than one out of four (29%) had earned a bachelor's degree or more.

The level of educational attainment has traditionally been higher for men than for women. In 2007, however, for the sixth year in a row, the Census Bureau indicates that the high school graduation rate for women aged 25 and over (86.4%) exceeded that of men (85%). In 2007, 29.5% of men and 28% of women had obtained bachelor's degrees or higher. Even though college attainment has increased since 1990 for both men and women, women are narrowing the gap and making faster gains then men.

Educational attainment of the over-25 population also varied by race and ethnic origin. According to the Census Bureau, non-Hispanic whites were the most likely to complete high school (90.6%), followed by Asian-Americans (87.9%), African-Americans (82.4%), and Hispanics (60.3%). Asian-Americans were by far the most likely to be college graduates (51.4%), followed by non-Hispanic whites (31.3%), African-Americans (18.7%), and Hispanics (12.7%).

Education is a good investment, because earning levels rise with increased education. According to the Census Bureau (2008, http://pubdb3.census.gov/macro/032008/perinc/new03_001.htm), for people aged 25 and older who had not finished high school, the average annual income in 2007 was $24,881. High school graduates earned an average income of $33,609 in 2007, and people with an associate's degree earned an average income of $41,447. The incomes of college graduates increased with the level of the degree earned. People with a bachelor's degree had mean earnings of $59,365, whereas holders of professional degrees earned an average of $121,340 in 2007.

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Getting an Education

Chapter 6
Getting an Education

Despite the controversies surrounding the quality and direction of the U.S. education system, the United States remains one of the most highly educated nations in the world. According to the U.S. Department of Education's Digest of Education Statistics, 2005 (June 2006, http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d05/), 72.1 million Americans were enrolled students in elementary and secondary schools and colleges in the fall of 2005. (See Table 6.1.) An additional 4.4 million people were teachers and faculty at these institutions, and 5 million people were employed as administrative and support staff.

NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND ACT

However, in the 1980s concern grew that American youth were falling behind the educational achievements of young people in other industrialized countries. In response, the National Education Goals Panel was created in 1989 to further the achievement of several national goals, including increasing the high school graduation rate and student competency in English, mathematics, science, history, and geography. Although a task force recommended the panel's reauthorization in 1999, the passage of sweeping educational reform legislation, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), shut down the panel in 2002.

The NCLB made huge changes to the laws defining and regulating the federal government's role in kindergarten through twelfth-grade education. According to the Department of Education (March 6, 2007, http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/states/index.html), the law is based on four basic education reform principles:

  • Stronger accountability for results
  • Increased flexibility and local control
  • Expanded options for parents
  • Improved budget

Accountability

Under the NCLB, schools are required to demonstrate "adequate yearly progress" toward statewide proficiency goals, including closing the achievement gap between advantaged and disadvantaged students. Those schools that do not demonstrate progress face corrective action and restructuring measures. Progress reports are public, so parents can stay informed about their school and school district. Schools that are making or exceeding adequate yearly progress are eligible for awards.

The accountability outlined under the NCLB is measured through standards testing. States are required to establish strong academic standards and test students annually to see how they are meeting them. The requirement for annual testing was phased in over a six-year period. During the 2002–03 school year, students in grades three to five, six to nine, and ten to twelve were tested in math and reading. Beginning in the 2005–06 school year, testing expanded to all students in grades three to eight. General science achievement testing was scheduled to be fully implemented two years later, in the 2007–08 school year. The NCLB linked federal financing of schools to the results of these mandated tests.

The testing provisions of the NCLB are the subject of much debate. Martin R. West of the Brookings Institution notes in "No Child Left Behind: How to Give It a Passing Grade" (December 2005, http://www3.brookings.edu/comm/policybriefs/pb149.pdf) that advocates see testing as a means of raising expectations and helping guarantee that all children are held to the same high standards. They argue that many young people have passed through school without acquiring the basic reading and math skills needed in society and especially in the information-oriented economy. Critics of testing say classroom experiences become limited to the need to teach students with the test in mind—and what is tested is only a sample of what children should know. Furthermore, critics claim that standard exams tend to test for those things most easily measured and not the critical thinking skills students need to develop. In addition, the tests measure only how students perform on the tests at one point in time, not their progress over time.

TABLE 6.1
Estimated number of participants in elementary and secondary education and in higher education, fall 2005
[In millions]
Participants All levels (elementary, secondary, and postsecondary degree-granting) Elementary and secondary schools Postsecondary degree-granting institutions
Total Public Private Total Public Private
Notes: Includes enrollments in local public school systems and in most private schools (religiously affiliated and nonsectarian). Excludes federal schools. Excludes private preprimary enrollment in schools that do not offer first grade or above. Data for enrollment in degree-granting institutions include full-time and part-time students enrolled in universities, other 4-year colleges, and 2-year colleges that participated in Title IV federal financial aid programs. Data for teachers and other staff in public and private elementary and secondary schools and colleges and universities are reported in terms of full-time equivalents. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.
Source: "Table 1. Projected Number of Participants in Educational Institutions, by Level and Control of Institution: Fall 2005," in Digest of Education Statistics, 2005, U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, July 2006, http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2006/2006030_1.pdf (accessed February 28, 2007)
    Total 81.4 61.6 54.5 6.9 19.9 15.0 4.9
Enrollment72.154.748.46.317.413.34.1
Teachers and faculty4.43.53.10.40.80.60.3
Other professional, administrative and support staff5.03.23.00.31.71.20.6

Proficiency Testing

The testing requirements of the NCLB will be debated for some time to come as states grapple with the best means of implementing them. Standardized tests have, however, been around for years. A look at the changes in proficiency test scores over time is one way to gauge the performance of the education system.

In the Condition of Education, 2006 (June 2006, http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2006/2006071.pdf), the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) lists test results for a series of years. The percentage of both fourth and eighth graders who tested at or above proficient (indicating solid academic achievement) in reading rose from about 29% of both groups in 1992 to 31.5% of fourth graders in 2005 and 30.8% of eighth graders in 2005. The percentage of fourth graders at or above proficiency in mathematics rose from 17.9% in 1992 to 36.3% in 2005; the percentage of eighth graders at or above proficiency rose from 20.9% in 1992 to 29.8% in 2005. Despite improvements, especially in mathematics, only about one out of three fourth and eighth graders had achieved proficiency in each area.

The public's opinion of school performance is low. In the Digest of Education Statistics: 2005, the NCES presents data on the grades that the public gives to schools nationally. Based on a scale of A = 4, B = 3, C = 2, D = 1, and F = 0, the average grade given by adults to the nation's schools hit a high of 2.18—slightly better than a C—in 1987. By 2005 the average grade had dropped to 1.99, lower than it had been in 2002 when the NCLB was passed. When adults with children in the school system were asked to rate their local schools, they consistently gave them higher grades than the nation's schools in general (2.43 and 2.07, respectively), but still only about a C+.

Another way to evaluate the education system in the United States is to compare it to the systems of other industrialized countries. In February 2005 the NCES published Comparative Indicators of Education in the United States and Other G-8 Countries: 2004 (http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2005/2005021.pdf). The study was designed to compare the U.S. education system with the systems in eight other highly industrialized nations: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Russian Federation, Scotland, and the United Kingdom. The United States compared poorly with the other countries in reading proficiency of primary and secondary school students. In 2001 U.S. fourth-grade students had a mean literacy achievement score of 542, below that of England (553) and Canada (544), but higher than that of the other countries. By age fifteen, however, U.S. students had average scores lower than any other country measured.

Flexibility

The NCLB gave states and local school districts more control over the federal funding they receive for education. Up to half of all non-Title I federal education funding can be allocated by states to whichever programs they wish. Federal programs were also simplified and consolidated under the law, so receiving funding is easier.

Parental Options

The NCLB provided that parents of students attending failing schools would be provided with the opportunity and transportation to send their child to an alternative public or charter school. If the parents chose to keep their child in a failing school, federal Title I funds would be available for supplemental services such as tutoring and summer school, run by either nonsectarian or faith-based organizations. The creation and use of charter schools were expanded under the NCLB.

Proven Educational Methods

The NCLB attached federal funding to programs that had already been shown to help children learn. According to the Department of Education (2007, http://www.gpoaccess.gov/usbudget/fy08/pdf/budget/education.pdf), emphasis was placed on the Reading First initiative, more than tripling funding for reading programs from $300 million in fiscal year (FY) 2001 to a proposed $1.1 billion in FY 2008. Included in this funding was an Early Reading First program, which was established to support literacy skills among preschool-age children to try to meet President George W. Bush's goal of every child being able to read by the third grade. The FY 2008 budget included a proposed $2.8 billion to be used for teacher quality programs, including funding to hire new teachers, increase teacher salaries, and improve teacher training and development.

Voucher Controversy

Many people believe that problems such as large class sizes, poor teacher training, and lack of computers and supplies in many public schools are unsolvable within the current public school system. One solution proposed in the early 1990s was the school voucher system: The government would provide a certain amount of money each year to parents in the form of a voucher to enroll their children at the school of their choice, either public or private. School vouchers became a highly polarized issue, with strong opinions both for and against the idea.

The National Education Association (NEA), a union of teachers and one of the largest unions in the country, immediately objected to school vouchers, arguing that voucher programs would divert money from the public education system and make the current problems worse. The NEA also argued that giving money to parents who choose to send their child to a religious or parochial school is unconstitutional. Little evidence exists to support the idea that voucher programs will lead to better educational outcomes. For example, in "Study Finds D.C. Voucher Schools More Racially Integrated, but No Change in Student Performance" (February 3, 2006, http://ielp.rutgers.edu/developments/020306101356), the Institute on Education Law and Policy finds that the program had no effect on student performance in public schools. Furthermore, the NEA, in "Cleveland Vouchers Produce No Gains" (2006, http://www.nea.org/vouchers/resources-vouchers.html), notes that the Cleveland voucher program found no difference in the academic achievement of voucher-eligible students who used them to attend private school and those who chose to remain in public school.

Supporters of vouchers claim that parents should be able to choose the best educational environment for their children. They also argue that vouchers will give all people, not just the wealthy or middle class, the opportunity for a better education for their children in private schools. More important, supporters believe that making the educational system a free-market enterprise, in which parents can choose which school their children will attend, will force the public educational system to provide a higher standard of education to compete.

During the legislative process of getting the NCLB through Congress, President Bush agreed to drop the voucher provisions from the legislation, recognizing that debate on the voucher issue could prevent the bill from being passed. On January 8, 2002, the NCLB became law without specific provisions for a nationwide voucher program.

Frustrated at the national level, supporters of vouchers turned to state and local governments. Programs launched in Wisconsin, Florida, and Ohio provided students in some overcrowded or poorly performing schools with vouchers that could be used for private tuition. All these programs were met with court challenges. A landmark decision came on June 27, 2002, when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld, in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris (536 U.S. 639 [2002]), the use of public money for religious school tuition in Cleveland, Ohio, calling the city's voucher plan "a program of true private choice."

Public School Choice—The NCLB and Charter Schools

In lieu of a voucher program, the NCLB offered a public school choice program. Parents of students enrolled in failing public schools were allowed to move their children to a better-performing public or charter school. Local school districts were required to provide this choice and provide students with transportation to the alternative school.

Public charter schools are funded by government money and run by a group under an agreement, or charter, with the state that exempts it from many state or local regulations that govern most public schools. In return for these exemptions and funding, the school must meet certain standards. The Department of Education reports in "Helping Families by Supporting and Expanding School Choice" (March 2007, http://www.ed.gov/nclb/choice/schools/choicefacts.html) that by 2007 forty states and the District of Columbia had thirty-four hundred charter schools, in which more than a million students were enrolled. The FY 2008 budget provided $214.8 million to help fund new and ongoing charter schools.

COST OF PUBLIC EDUCATION

The average annual expenditure per student in the public school system in constant 2004–05 dollars more than doubled between 1970 and 2003, from $3,812 per pupil in 1969–70 to $8,468 per pupil during the 2002–03 school year. (See Figure 6.1.) Each year, when the federal budget is determined in Washington, D.C., the battle over the education budget is fierce. Public school officials and teachers stress the importance of investing in the public education system, arguing that more money will provide more teachers, educational materials, and—eventually—a better education to students. They point to school buildings in need of repair and classes that meet in hallways and other cramped areas because of a lack of space. Opponents of increasing public school funding say that more money does not create a better education—better teachers do. To support their argument, they point to the increase in spending per pupil while some measurements of academic achievement remain low.

PREPRIMARY SCHOOL

Preprimary Growth

Participating in early childhood programs such as nursery school, Head Start, prekindergarten, and kindergarten helps prepare children for the academic challenges of first grade. In contrast to the declining elementary and secondary school enrollments between 1970 and 1980, preprimary enrollment showed substantial growth, increasing from 4.1 million in 1970 to 4.9 million in 1980. (See Table 6.2 and Figure 6.2.) According to the Department of Education, enrollment had grown to eight million by 2004.

Not only did the numbers of children enrolled in early childhood programs increase but also the percentage of all three- to five-year-olds enrolled increased substantially between 1965 and 2004. In 1965, 27.1% of three- to five-year-olds were enrolled in nursery school or kindergarten; by 2004, 64.5% were enrolled. (See Table 6.2.)

Although programs such as Head Start and other locally funded preschool programs are available to children in low-income families, preprimary school attendance is still generally linked to parental income and educational achievement levels. According to data presented by the NCES, 47% of three- to five-year-olds from households with an income below the poverty level in 2005 were enrolled in preprimary programs. (See Table 6.3.) That same year, 60% of children aged three to five whose families were at or above the poverty level were enrolled in preprimary programs.

Preschool enrollment rates were even more strongly correlated with a mother's educational level. In 2005 the enrollment rate of children whose mothers had not earned a high school diploma was only 35%. (See Table 6.3.) The enrollment rate of children whose mothers had a high school diploma or equivalent was 49%. Most three- to five-year-olds whose mothers had attended some college were enrolled in preprimary programs; 56% of children whose mothers had attended some college were enrolled, and 73% of children whose mothers had a bachelor's degree or higher were enrolled. These numbers likely reflect three things: Women with higher educational levels are more likely to continue working after becoming mothers, they are better able to pay for these programs, and they value the educational benefits of preprimary programs for their children.

HEAD START

The Head Start program, which was established as part of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, is one of the most durable and successful federal programs for low-income and at-risk children. Directed by the Administration for Children and Families, Head Start is designed to help improve the social competence, learning skills, health, and nutrition of low-income children so they can begin school on a more level footing with children from higher-income families. Regulations require that 90% of children enrolled in Head Start be from low-income households.

TABLE 6.2
Enrollment of 3- to 5-year-old children in preprimary programs, by level and control of program and by attendance, 1965–2004
[In thousands]
Year Total population 3 to 5 years old Enrollment by level and control Enrollment by attendance
Total Percent enrolled Nursery school Kindergarten Full-day Part-day Percent full-day
Public Private Public Private
—Not available.
†Not applicable.
*Data collected using new procedures. May not be comparable with figures prior to 1994.
Notes: Data are based on sample surveys of the civilian noninstitutional population. Some data have been revised from previously published figures. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.
Source: Adapted from "Table 40. Enrollment of 3-, 4-, and 5-Year-Old Children in Preprimary Programs, by Level and Control of Program and by Attendance Status: Selected Years, 1965 through 2004," in Digest of Education Statistics, 2005, U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, July 2006, http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2006/2006030_2a.pdf (accessed February 28, 2007)
196512,5493,40727.11273932,291596—(†)—(†)—(†)
197010,9494,10437.53327622,4985116983,40517.0
197510,1854,95548.75701,1742,6825281,2953,65926.1
19809,2844,87852.56281,3532,4384591,5513,32731.8
198510,7335,86554.68461,6312,8475412,1443,72236.6
198911,0396,02654.69301,8942,7044972,2383,78937.1
199011,2076,65959.41,1992,1802,7725092,5774,08238.7
199111,3706,33455.79961,8282,9675432,4083,92638.0
199211,5456,40255.51,0731,7832,9955502,4103,99237.6
199311,9546,58155.11,2051,7793,0205772,6423,93940.1
1994*12,3287,51461.01,8482,3142,8195343,4684,04646.2
1995*12,5187,73961.81,9502,3812,8006083,6894,05147.7
1996*12,3787,58061.21,8302,3172,8535803,5624,01947.0
1997*12,1217,86064.92,2072,2312,8475753,9223,93949.9
1998*12,0787,78864.52,2132,2992,6746023,9593,82950.8
1999*11,9207,84465.82,2092,2982,7775604,1543,69053.0
2000*11,8587,59264.02,1462,1802,7015654,0083,58452.8
2001*11,8997,60263.92,1642,2012,7245123,9403,66251.8
2002*11,5247,69766.82,3762,1792,6215214,1913,50754.4
2003*12,2047,92164.92,5122,3472,5395234,4293,49255.9
2004*12,3627,96964.52,4282,2432,8124844,5073,46156.6

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports in "Head Start Program Fact Sheet" (2006, http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/hsb/research/2006.htm) that in 2005, 906,993 children were served by Head Start programs. Of these children, 35% were non-Hispanic white, 32.9% were Hispanic, 31.1% were African-American, 5.2% were Native American and Alaskan Native, and 2.7% were Asian or Pacific Islander. Most participating children were three to four years old (34% and 52%, respectively). A significant portion (12.5%) were disabled—children with mental retardation, health impairments, visual handicaps, hearing impairments, emotional disturbance, speech and language impairments, orthopedic handicaps, and learning disabilities.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the average cost per child for Head Start in 2005 was $7,287. Between its inception in 1965 and 2005, Head Start provided services to more than twenty-three million children and their families. The National Conference of State Legislatures (2007, http://www.ncsl.org/statefed/humserv/HumServFY08.htm) indicates that the proposed budget for Head Start in FY 2008 was $6.8 billion. Despite these expenditures, the Children's Defense Fund notes in "Head Start Basics" (2005, http://www.childrensdefense.org/site/DocServer/headstartbasics2005.pdf?docID=616) that only about half of eligible children are served by the program because it continues to be underfunded.

TABLE 6.3
Percent of children ages 3-5 years old enrolled in center-based early childhood care and education programs, by child and family characteristics, 1995 and 2005
Characteristic 1995 2005
aBlack includes African American and Hispanic includes Latino. Race categories exclude Hispanic origin unless specified. Included in the total, but not shown separately, are children from other racial/ethnic groups.
b"Poor" is defined to include those families below the poverty threshold; "nonpoor" is defined to include those families whose incomes are at or above the poverty threshold.
Notes: Estimates are based on children who have yet to enter kindergarten. Center-based programs include day care centers, head start programs, preschool, nursery school, prekindergarten, and other early childhood programs. Children without mothers in the home are not included in estimates for mother's education or mother's employment status.
Source: Adapted from "Table 2-1. Percentage of Prekindergarten Children Ages 3-5 Who Were Enrolled in Center-Based Early Childhood Care and Education Programs, by Child and Family Characteristics: Various Years 1991–2005," in The Condition of Education 2006, U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, June 2006, http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2006/2006071.pdf (accessed February 28, 2007)
    Total 55 57
Age
34143
46569
57569
Sex
Male5560
Female5555
Race/ethnicitya
White5759
Black6066
Hispanic3743
Poverty statusb
Poor4547
Nonpoor5960
Poverty status and race/ethnicity
    Poor
        White4345
        Black5565
        Hispanic3036
    Nonpoor
        White6061
        Black6668
        Hispanic4448
Family type
Two-parent household5557
One-parent or guardian-only household5658
Mother's education
Less than high school3535
High school diploma or equivalent4849
Some college, including vocational/technical5756
Bachelor's degree or higher7573
Mother's employment
35 hours or more per week6064
Less than 35 hours per week6261
Looking for work5242
Not in labor force4750

Head Start faced more drastic budget cuts beginning in the mid-2000s, with its budget declining by more than 10% between 2005 and 2008. As a result of cuts in 2006, the National Head Start Association reports in Special Report: Quality of Head Start Programs Imperiled by Steady Erosion of Funding (February 7, 2007, http://www.nhsa.org/download/announcements/NHSA2007_Budge_Report.pdf) that 56% of programs reported having cut their services to children—including reducing hours; cutting instructional time, classroom materials, activities, and resources to children; and reducing extra services such as mental health, medical, and dental, the English as a second language program, and services for children with disabilities. Almost half (46%) of programs had to cut transportation services for children, and another 47% had to cut extra services to families. Over two-thirds (69%) of Head Start programs were forced to cut staff positions and hours and eliminated salary increases and benefits, leading to higher turnover rates.

ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOL

Compulsory Attendance

In 2002 all U.S. states required students to attend school through at least age sixteen. Most industrialized Western nations require children to attend school for about ten years.

Enrollment

Preprimary, elementary, and secondary school enrollments reflect the number of births over a specified period. Because of the baby boom following World War II, school enrollment grew rapidly during the 1950s and 1960s, when those children reached school age. Elementary enrollment reached a then-record high in 1969, as did high school enrollment in 1971.

In the late 1960s the birthrate began to decline, resulting in a steadily falling school enrollment. An echo effect occurred in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when those born during the baby boom began their own families. This echo effect triggered an increase in school enrollment starting in the mid-1980s. In 1985 public elementary and secondary school enrollment increased for the first time since 1971 and continued to increase, reaching 55 million in 2003. It is projected to reach 58.1 million by 2015. (See Figure 6.3.) In 2003, 39.3 million students were enrolled in kindergarten through eighth grade and 15.7 million were enrolled in high school.

Private Schools

The NCES reports in the Digest of Education Statistics, 2005 that enrollment in public schools far surpasses enrollment in private schools; in 2005 only 11.6% of all primary and secondary school students were enrolled in private schools. Private school enrollment has risen more slowly than school enrollment overall, and as a result the proportion of students enrolled in private schools declined slightly between 1985 and 2005.

CATHOLIC SCHOOLS

According to Stephen P. Broughman and Nancy L. Swaim, in Characteristics of Private Schools in the United States: Results from the 2003–2004 Private School Universe Survey (March 2006, http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2006/2006319.pdf), 27.9% of all private schools were Catholic, and 46.2% of private school students attended Catholic schools. Economic and social changes have caused a decline in Catholic school enrollment and in the number of Catholic schools. In 1985 there were 9,220 Catholic schools in the United States; by 2004 there were only 7,919.

OTHER RELIGIOUS AND NONRELIGIOUS PRIVATE SCHOOLS

The other types of private schools are non-Catholic religious schools and nonreligious (nonsectarian) schools. According to Broughman and Swaim, non-Catholic religious schools made up 48.1% of all private schools in the 2003–04 school year and enrolled 35.8% of all private school students. Nonsectarian schools enrolled only 18% of private school students in 24% of private schools.

Dropping Out

DROPOUT RATES

Status dropouts are sixteen- to twenty-four-year-olds who have not finished high school and are not enrolled in school. The Department of Education reports in Digest of Education Statistics: 2005 that status dropout rates decreased from 1972 (14.6%) through 2004 (10.3%). In 2004 the Hispanic status dropout rate was considerably higher, at 23.8%, than that of non-Hispanic African-Americans (11.8%) or non-Hispanic whites (6.8%).

Dropout rates also fluctuate greatly according to family income. In 2004, 17.7% of people aged sixteen to twenty-four from families who had the lowest incomes (bottom 25%) had dropped out of school, which was five times the dropout rate of sixteen- to twenty-four-year-olds whose families had the highest incomes (3.5%). (See Figure 6.4.)

Status dropout rates are consistently lower for women than for men regardless of race or ethnicity. This has been the case since 1977. (See Table 6.4.) In 2004 the status dropout rate for young women aged sixteen to twenty-four was 9%. Males of the same age in 2004 had a status dropout rate of 11.6%.

RETURNING TO SCHOOL OR GETTING AN ALTERNATIVE DIPLOMA

The decision to drop out of high school does not necessarily mean the end of a young person's education. Many former students return to school to get their diploma or take the test necessary to obtain an alternative credential or degree, such as a general equivalency diploma (GED). According to the Department of Education's Digest of Education Statistics: 2005, in 2003, 387,000 GEDs were issued. Many young people who earn their GED pursue a college education.

Special Populations

STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES

In 1976 Congress passed the Education of the Handicapped Act, which required schools to develop programs for disabled children. Formerly, parents of many disabled students had few options other than institutionalization or nursing care. This act required that disabled children be put in the "least restrictive environment," which led to increased efforts to educate them in regular classrooms (known as main-streaming).

The law defined handicapped children as those who were mentally retarded, hard of hearing or deaf, orthopedically impaired, speech and language impaired, visually impaired, seriously emotionally disturbed, or otherwise health impaired. It also included children with specific learning disabilities who require special education and related services.

In 1990 the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act was passed. This was a reauthorization and expansion of the earlier Education of the Handicapped Act. It added autism and traumatic brain injury to the list of disabilities covered by the law, and amendments added in 1992 and 1997 increased coverage for infants and toddlers and for children with attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The law required public school systems to develop an Individualized Education Program for each disabled child, reflecting the needs of individual students. In 2004 the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act was signed into law by President Bush, reauthorizing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and bringing it in line with the provisions of the NCLB.

As a result of legislation that enforces their rights, increased numbers of disabled children have been served in public schools. Between 1976 and 2004 the proportion of all students who participated in federal education programs for children with disabilities increased from 8.3% to 13.7%. (See Table 6.5.) In the 2003–04 school year the highest proportion of students needed services for specific learning disabilities (5.8%), followed by students who needed help with speech or language impairments (3%) and students who were mentally retarded (1.2%). According to the Twenty-Sixth Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 2004 (April 2006, http://www.ed.gov/about/reports/annual/osep/2004/26th-vol-1-sec-1.pdf), the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services reports that 268,331 infants and toddlers and 647,420 preschoolers aged three through five received early intervention services in 2002. Another 5.9 million children aged six through twenty-one received special education services.

HOMELESS CHILDREN

Homelessness harms children in many ways, including hindering their ability to attend and succeed in school. Homeless children have difficulty with transportation to school, maintaining necessary documents, and attaining privacy needed for homework, sleep, and interaction with parents in a shelter. Experts report that homeless children—when compared with children who are poor but housed—miss more days of school, more often repeat a grade, and are more often put into special education classes.

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987 required in Title VII, subtitle B, that each state provide "free, appropriate, public education" to homeless youth. The law further required that all states develop a plan to address the denial of access to education to homeless children.

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2001 went further to address inequities that affect homeless children in the public school system. New guidance for states and school systems released by the Department of Education in April 2003 noted the main differences between the old and new programs:

  • Homeless children may no longer be segregated in a separate program on the basis of their homeless status.
  • Schools must immediately enroll homeless students even if they are missing some of the documentation normally required.
TABLE 6.4
Percentage of high school dropouts (status dropouts) among persons 16-24 years old, by sex, race, and ethnicity, 1960–2004
Year Total Male Female
All racesa White, non-Hispanic Black, non-Hispanic Hispanic origin All racesa White, non-Hispanic Black, non-Hispanic Hispanic origin All racesa White, non-Hispanic Black, non-Hispanic Hispanic origin
—Not available.
aIncludes other racial/ethnic categories not separately shown.
bBased on the April 1960 decennial census.
cWhite and black include persons of Hispanic origin.
dBecause of changes in data collection procedures, data may not be comparable with figures for years prior to 1992.
eWhite, non-Hispanic and black, non-Hispanic categories exclude persons identifying themselves as more than one race.
Notes: "Status" dropouts are 16- to 24-year-olds who are not enrolled in school and who have not completed a high school program regardless of when they left school. People who have received GED credentials are counted as high school completers. All data except for 1960 are based on October counts. Data are based on sample surveys of the civilian noninstitutionalized population.
Source: "Table 105. Percentage of High School Dropouts (Status Dropouts) among Persons 16 to 24 Years Old, by Sex and Race/Ethnicity: 1960 through 2004," in Digest of Education Statistics, 2005, U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, July 2006, http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2006/2006030_2b.pdf (accessed February 28, 2007)
1960b27.227.826.7
1967c17.015.428.616.514.730.617.316.126.9
1968c16.214.727.415.814.427.116.515.027.6
1969c15.213.626.714.312.626.916.014.626.7
1970c15.013.227.914.212.229.415.714.126.6
1971c14.713.424.014.212.625.515.214.222.6
197214.612.321.334.314.111.622.333.715.112.820.534.8
197314.111.622.233.513.711.521.530.414.511.822.836.4
197414.311.921.233.014.212.020.133.814.311.822.132.2
197513.911.422.929.213.311.023.026.714.511.822.931.6
197614.112.020.531.414.112.121.230.314.211.819.932.3
197714.111.919.833.014.512.619.531.613.811.220.034.3
197814.211.920.233.314.612.222.533.613.911.618.333.1
197914.612.021.133.815.012.622.433.014.211.520.034.5
198014.111.419.135.215.112.320.837.213.110.517.733.2
198113.911.318.433.215.112.519.936.012.810.217.130.4
198213.911.418.431.714.512.021.230.513.310.815.932.8
198313.711.118.031.614.912.219.934.312.510.116.229.1
198413.111.015.529.814.011.916.830.612.310.114.329.0
198512.610.415.227.613.411.116.129.911.89.814.325.2
198612.29.714.230.113.110.315.032.811.49.113.527.2
198712.610.414.128.613.210.815.029.112.110.013.328.1
198812.99.614.535.813.510.315.036.012.28.914.035.4
198912.69.413.933.013.610.314.934.411.78.513.031.6
199012.19.013.232.412.39.311.934.311.88.714.430.3
199112.58.913.635.313.08.913.539.211.98.913.731.1
1992d11.07.713.729.411.38.012.532.110.77.414.826.6
1993d11.07.913.627.511.28.212.628.110.97.614.426.9
1994d11.47.712.630.012.38.014.131.610.67.511.328.1
1995d12.08.612.130.012.29.011.130.011.78.212.930.0
1996d11.17.313.029.411.47.313.530.310.97.312.528.3
1997d11.07.613.425.311.98.513.327.010.16.713.523.4
1998d11.87.713.829.513.38.615.533.510.36.912.225.0
1999d11.27.312.628.611.97.712.131.010.56.913.026.0
2000d10.96.913.127.812.07.015.331.89.96.911.123.5
2001d10.77.310.927.012.27.913.031.69.36.79.022.1
2002d10.56.511.325.711.86.712.829.69.26.39.921.2
2003d, e9.96.310.923.511.37.112.526.78.45.69.520.1
2004d, e10.36.811.823.811.67.113.528.59.06.410.218.5
  • Upon parental request, states and school districts must provide transportation for homeless children to the school they attended before they became homeless.
  • School districts must designate a local liaison for homeless children and youths.

HOMESCHOOLED CHILDREN

A number of parents, unhappy with public schools, teach their children at home. According to data from Homeschooling in the United States: 2003 (February 2006, http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2006/2006042.pdf), the NCES estimates that approximately 850,000, or 1.7% of school-age children, were being homeschooled in the spring of 1999. By 2003 that number had risen to 1.1 million students, or 2.2% of school-age children.

Parents choose to homeschool their children for a variety of reasons. Almost a third (31%) of the home-schooling parents surveyed in the 2003 NCES National Household Education Survey said the most important reason they chose to homeschool was concern about the environment of the other schools. (See Figure 6.5.) Another 30% said they chose to homeschool to provide religious or moral instruction. The third most common

TABLE 6.5
Number of children with disabilities who were served by federal programs, as a percentage of total public K-12 enrollment, by type of disability, selected school years 1976–77 to 2003–04
Number served as a percent of total enrollmenta
Type of disability 1976–77 1980–81 1990–91 1992–93 1993–94 1994–95 1995–96 1996–97 1997–98 1998–99 1999–2000 2000–01 2001–02 2002–03 2003–04
—Not available.
†Not applicable.
#Rounds to zero.
aBased on the total enrollment in public schools, prekindergarten through 12th grade.
bIncludes preschool children ages 3-5 served under Chapter 1 and IDEA, Part B. Prior to 1987–88, these students were included in the counts by disability condition. Beginning in 1987–88, states were no longer required to report preschool children (ages 0-5) by disability condition. Beginning in 2002–03, preschool children were again identified by disability condition.
Notes: Includes students served under Chapter 1 and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), formerly the Education of the Handicapped Act. Prior to October 1994, children and youth with disabilities were served under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Part B, and Chapter 1 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. In October 1994, Congress passed the Improving America's Schools Act, in which funding for children and youth with disabilities was consolidated under IDEA, Part B. Data reported in this table for years prior to 1993–94 include children ages 0-21 served under Chapter 1. Counts are based on reports from the 50 states and the District of Columbia only (i.e., figures from other jurisdictions are not included). Increases since 1987–88 are due in part to new legislation enacted in fall 1986, which mandates public school special education services for all disabled children ages 3 through 5, in addition to age groups previously mandated. Some data have been revised from previously published figures. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.
Source: Adapted from "Table 50. Children 3 to 21 Years Old Served in Federally Supported Programs for the Disabled, by Type of Disability: Selected Years, 1976–77 through 2003–04," in Digest of Education Statistics, 2005, U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, July 2006, http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2006/2006030_2a.pdf (accessed February 28, 2007)
All disabilities 8.310.111.411.812.012.212.412.612.813.013.213.313.413.513.7
Specific learning disabilities1.83.65.25.55.55.65.85.85.96.06.06.06.05.95.8
Speech or language impairments2.92.92.42.32.32.32.32.32.32.32.32.32.32.93.0
Mental retardation2.22.01.31.21.21.31.31.31.31.31.31.31.21.21.2
Emotional disturbance0.60.80.90.91.01.01.01.01.01.01.01.01.01.01.0
Hearing impairments0.20.20.10.10.10.10.10.10.10.20.10.10.10.20.2
Orthopedic impairments0.20.10.10.10.10.10.10.10.10.10.20.20.20.20.2
Other health impairments0.30.20.10.20.20.20.30.40.40.50.50.60.70.81.0
Visual impairments0.10.10.10.10.10.10.10.10.10.10.10.10.10.10.1
Multiple disabilities0.20.20.20.20.20.20.20.20.20.20.30.30.30.3
Deaf-blindness##############
Autism and traumatic brain injury#0.10.10.10.10.10.10.20.20.20.30.4
Developmental delay###0.10.10.60.6
Preschool disabledb0.91.11.11.21.21.21.21.21.21.31.3

reason parents gave for homeschooling was dissatisfaction with the academic instruction available at other schools (16%).

States have differing requirements for parents who teach their children at home. According to the Home School Legal Defense Association, some states, such as Idaho and New Jersey, give parents the right to educate their children as they see fit and impose only minor controls or none at all. Other states have more strict regulations. Highly regulated states, such as New York, Vermont, Pennsylvania, and a few others, require parents to get curriculum approved, send achievement test scores, or meet qualification requirements. Opponents of homeschooling argue that parents may not be qualified to be teachers, but proponents believe that parents can gain teaching skills through experience, just as other teachers do.

HIGHER EDUCATION—OFF TO COLLEGE

Formal schooling beyond high school is increasingly being viewed as a necessity, not only to a young person's development but also to his or her economic success. Many parents consider helping their children attend college to be an important financial responsibility.

College Entrance Examinations

Most students who wish to enter colleges and universities in the United States must take either the SAT (once known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test, then the Scholastic Assessment Test, now simply the SAT I) or the American College Test (ACT) as part of their admission requirements. The ACT is a curriculum-based achievement test that measures proficiency in reading, math, English, and science, whereas the SAT is a primary admissions test that measures a student's mathematical and verbal reasoning ability in a way intended to assess readiness for college. Students who take these tests usually plan to continue their education beyond high school; therefore, these tests do not profile all high school students.

MORE ARE TAKING SAT AND ACT EXAMS, WITH MIXED RESULTS

The number of students who take both the SAT and the ACT has grown steadily. The College Board notes in 2006 College-Bound Seniors (2006, http://www.collegeboard.com/prod_downloads/about/news_info/cbsenior/yr2006/national-report.pdf) that in 2006 nearly 1.5 million students took the SAT. This represents an increase of 50% over the number who took the test in 1975 (996,000). According to ACT, Inc. (2007, http://www.act.org/news/aapfacts.html), the number of students taking the ACT increased over the same period, from 714,000 in 1975 to 1.2 million in 2006, an increase of 68%. In State of College Admission 2006, Executive Summary (May 2006, http://www.nacacnet.org/NR/rdonlyres/78BCFBFB-6871-4FCA-B1BF-50E330735706/0/06SOCA_ExecutiveSummarypdf.pdf), the National Association for College Admission Counseling indicates that 73% of colleges reported significant increases in the number of applicants in 2005 over the previous year, as well. Students are either applying to a larger number of schools or, as the increased numbers taking the SAT and ACT suggest, more high school graduates are pursuing a college education.

Performance on the SAT is measured on a scale of two hundred to eight hundred for each of three sections, with the established average score being around five hundred for each. According to 2006 College-Bound Seniors, over the period from 1972 to 2006, the average critical reading scores on the SAT declined from 530 to 503. The results for the math portion of the SAT, however, dropped and then rebounded over the same period, from 509 in 1972 to 518 in 2006. Writing was tested for the first time in 2006; test takers received an average score of 497. The average ACT scores also improved; in 1970 the average composite ACT score was 19.9, and in 2006 the average composite score was 21.1.

CHARACTERISTICS OF TEST TAKERS

2006 College-Bound Seniors notes that more women than men took the tests in 2006—53.6% of those who took the SAT were women. More women than men have taken the SAT since the 1970s as well. Men, on average, scored higher on both the critical reading and the math portions of the SAT test in 2006 (average scores of 505 and 536, respectively) compared with women (502 in each section). However, women scored higher on the writing section than men did (502 and 491, respectively).

According to the 2006 College-Bound Seniors, the favorite intended areas of study or future career choice among those who took the SAT in order of preference were health related (18%), business (15%), and social science/history (9%). Areas in which students taking the ACT hoped to pursue future studies were similar to those reported for takers of the SAT. However, the ACT notes in "2006 ACT National Score Report News Release" (August 16, 2006, http://www.act.org/news/releases/2006/ndr.html) that even though the top planned college major was health sciences, only 27% of ACT test takers reached the college readiness benchmark on the science test.

Despite improvements in the scores of minority students, most lagged behind those of non-Hispanic white students. According to 2006 College-Bound Seniors, in 2006 white students scored a mean of 527 on critical reading, 536 on math, and 519 on writing on the SAT. African-Americans scored an average of 434 on critical reading, 429 on math, and 428 on writing, the lowest average scores of any racial or ethnic group. Mexican-Americans scored an average of 454 on critical reading, 465 on math, and 452 on writing; Puerto Ricans scored 459 on critical reading, 456 on math, and 448 on writing; and other Hispanics scored 458 on critical reading, 463 on math, and 450 on writing. Native Americans and Alaskan Natives scored 487 on critical reading, 494 on math, and 474 on writing. Asians and Pacific Islanders scored an average of 510 on critical reading, 578 on math, and 512 on writing.

According to the 2006 ACT High School Profile Report (2006, http://www.act.org/news/data/06/pdf/National2006.pdf), results on the ACT in 2006 show that Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders scored an average of 22.3, non-Hispanic whites scored an average of 22, Native Americans and Alaskan Natives scored an average of 18.8, Hispanics scored an average of 18.6, and African-American students scored an average of 17.1. Even though scores for all groups were up since 2002, in "ACT Scores Hold Steady in 2003" (http://www.act.org/activity/autumn2003/scores.html), Richard L. Ferguson notes, "Our research has shown that far too many African American students are not being adequately prepared for college. They are less likely than others to take rigorous, college-preparatory courses, and they often don't receive the information and guidance they need to properly plan for college." ACT data for 2006 show that fewer minority test takers had taken the core college-preparatory coursework and that groups that had taken more core coursework, such as non-Hispanic whites and Asian-Americans, tended to score higher on the ACT.

Projected Enrollment

Enrollment in institutions of higher education is expected to rise through 2015, due not only to large numbers of children of baby boomers approaching college age but also to the increasing numbers of people of all ages seeking advanced learning. Enrollment in degree-granting postsecondary institutions stood at 17.3 million in 2004 and is expected to reach 19.9 million by 2015. (See Figure 6.6.)

College Costs

Paying for a college education, even at public four-year institutions, now ranks as one of the most costly investments for American families. The NCES reports in Digest of Education Statistics, 2005 that in the 2004–05 school year the average annual in-state cost at a four-year public college, including tuition and room and board, was $11,441. For one year at a private four-year college, the average cost for tuition and room and board was $26,489. Public college tuition varied widely among states, from $2,070 in the District of Columbia to $8,771 in Vermont. Most states with the highest tuition were in the Northeast and most with the lowest tuition were in the South and West.

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR STUDENTS

According to the NCES, during the 2003–04 academic year almost two-thirds (63.2%) of nineteen million undergraduates enrolled in postsecondary institutions received some type of financial aid from federal, state, institutional, or other sources to meet their educational expenses. About half (48%) of undergraduates received some form of federal aid. More than half (50.7%) of all students received grants (which do not have to be paid back), about a third (35.2%) took out loans (which do have to be paid back), and 7.5% were on work-study programs. Federal assistance that goes directly to students includes Pell Grants (the annual maximum was increased to $4,310 for the 2007–08 award year), the Stafford Student Loan Program (a maximum loan of $19,000 for four years of study for dependent undergraduate students), and Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants (which can range from $100 to $4,000 per year).

The NCES indicates that during the 2003–04 school year 62.7% of dependent undergraduate students whose families earned less than $20,000 per year and 77.8% of students whose families earned between $20,000 and $39,999 per year received financial aid. However, because of the high cost of college, students even in high income brackets received financial aid to help pay for college; 60.5% of dependent undergraduate students whose families earned $100,000 or more received some form of financial aid.

EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT AND EARNINGS

The educational attainment of the U.S. population has risen steadily since the 1940s. In 2003, 84.6% of adults older than the age of twenty-five had graduated from high school—the highest number ever. (See Figure 6.7.) More than one in four (27.2%) had earned a bachelor's degree or more.

The level of educational attainment has traditionally been higher for men than for women. In 2003, however, for the second year in a row, the high school graduation rate for women aged twenty-five and over (85%) exceeded that of men (84.1%). (See Table 6.6.) The 2002 difference was the first statistically significant one in high school graduation rates between men and women since 1989. In 2003, 28.9% of men and 25.7% of women had obtained bachelor's degrees or higher. Although college attainment had increased since 1990 for both men and women, women are narrowing the gap and making faster gains then men.

Educational attainment also varies by race and ethnic origin. In 2003 non-Hispanic whites were most likely to complete high school (89.4%), followed by Asians (87.6%), African-Americans (80%), and Hispanics (57%). (See Table 6.6.) Asians were by far the most likely to be college graduates (49.8%), followed by non-Hispanic whites (30%), African-Americans (17.3%), and Hispanics (11.4%).

Education is a good investment, because earning levels rise with increased education. For people aged eighteen or older who had not finished high school, the average annual income in 2002 (the latest year for which data were available) was $18,826. (See Table 6.7.) High school graduates earned an average income of $27,280 in 2002, and people with some college or an associate degree earned an average income of $31,046. The incomes of college graduates increased with the level of the degree earned. People with a bachelor's degree had mean annual earnings of $51,194, whereas holders of advanced degrees earned an average of $72,824 in 2002.

These averages differed considerably by gender and race or ethnicity. On average, for all educational attainment levels, women earned $27,271, or $0.62 for every dollar men earned. (See Table 6.7.) Compared with their male counterparts, the most highly educated women earned $50,756, or $0.56 for every dollar the men earned. The disparity between races and ethnic groups was not as pronounced. Annual earnings for high school graduates ranged from $28,756 for non-Hispanic whites to $22,823 for African-Americans. For college graduates, earnings ranged from $40,949 for Hispanics to $53,185 for non-Hispanic whites.

TABLE 6.6
Educational attainment of the population 25 years and over by demographic characteristics, 2003
Characteristic Number of people (in thousands) High school graduate or more Some college or more Bachelor's degree or more
Percent Percent Percent
Source: Nicole Stoops, "Table A. Summary Measures of the Educational Attainment of the Population 25 Years and Over: 2003," in Educational Attainment in the United States: 2003, U.S. Census Bureau, June 2004, http://www.census.gov/prod/2004pubs/p20-550.pdf (accessed February 28, 2007)
Population 25 years and over 185,18384.652.527.2
Age group:
25 to 29 years18,72186.557.428.4
30 to 34 years20,52187.658.631.5
35 to 39 years21,28487.656.529.8
40 to 44 years22,79088.456.529.1
45 to 49 years21,42089.357.429.9
50 to 54 years18,81488.758.931.1
55 to 59 years15,47086.955.129.0
60 to 64 years11,93083.047.324.5
65 to 69 years9,43876.939.119.6
70 to 74 years8,67372.836.418.5
75 years and over16,12367.532.415.4
Sex:
Men88,59784.153.228.9
Women96,58685.051.925.7
Race and origin:
White alone153,18885.152.927.6
    Non-Hispanic white alone133,48889.456.430.0
Black alone20,52780.044.717.3
Asian alone7,69187.667.449.8
Hispanic (of any race)21,18957.029.611.4
Nativity:
Native158,12887.554.227.2
Foreign born27,05567.242.727.2
Marital status:
Never married28,69484.954.829.0
Married spouse present113,74887.055.930.5
Married spouse absent7,38972.538.216.1
    Separated4,44774.538.613.8
Widowed13,97067.230.312.5
Divorced21,38286.550.921.0
Region:
Northeast36,18285.750.730.3
Midwest41,72887.852.526.0
South66,07182.250.125.3
West41,20284.058.128.7
TABLE 6.7
Average earnings by educational attainment, sex, race, and Hispanic origin for all workers, age 18 and over, 2002
Characteristic Total Not a high school graduate High school graduate Some college or associate's degree Bachelor's degree Advanced degree
Source: Nicole Stoops, "Table C. Average Earnings in 2002 by Educational Attainment, Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin for All Workers, 18 Years and Over," in Educational Attainment in the United States: 2003, U.S. Census Bureau, June 2004, http://www.census.gov/prod/2004pubs/p20-550.pdf (accessed February 28, 2007)
    Total $36,308 $18,826 $27,280 $31,046 $51,194 $72,824
Men$44,310$22,091$32,673$38,377$63,503$90,761
Women$27,271$13,459$21,141$23,905$37,909$50,756
White alone$37,376$19,264$28,145$31,878$52,479$73,870
    Non-Hispanic white alone$39,220$19,423$28,756$32,318$53,185$74,122
Black alone$28,179$16,516$22,823$27,626$42,285$59,944
Asian alone$40,793$16,746$24,900$27,340$46,628$72,852
Hispanic (of any race)$25,824$18,981$24,163$27,757$40,949$67,679

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Getting an Education

chapter 6
GETTING AN EDUCATION

Despite the controversies surrounding the quality and direction of American education, the United States remains one of the most highly educated nations in the world. According to the Digest of Education Statistics (U.S. Department of Education), in fall 2002 69.2 million Americans were enrolled students in elementary and secondary schools and colleges. (See Table 6.1.) An additional 4.3 million were teachers and faculty at these institutions, and 4.8 million were employed as administrative and support staff.

THE COST OF PUBLIC EDUCATION

The average annual expenditure per student in the public school system in constant 2001–02 dollars more than doubled between 1970 and 2002, from $3,849 per pupil in 1969–70 to $8,048 per pupil during the 2001–02 school year. (See Figure 6.1.) Each year, when the federal budget is determined in Washington, D.C., the battle over the education budget is fierce. Public school officials and teachers stress the importance of investing in the public education system, arguing that more money will provide more teachers, educational materials, and—eventually—a better education. They point to school buildings in need of repair and classes that meet in hallways and other cramped areas because of a lack of space. Opponents of increasing public school funding say that more money does not availacreate a better education—better teachers do. To support their argument they point to the increase in spending per pupil while some measurements of academic achievement remain low.

THE VOUCHER CONTROVERSY

Many people believe that problems like large class sizes, poor teacher training, and lack of computers and supplies in many public schools are unsolvable within the current public school system. One solution proposed in the early 1990s was the school voucher system: the government would provide a certain amount of money each year to parents in the form of a voucher to enroll their children at the school of their choice, either public or private. School vouchers have since become a highly polarized issue, with strong opinions both for and against the idea.

The National Education Association (NEA), a union of teachers and one of the larger unions in the country, immediately objected to school vouchers, arguing that voucher programs divert money from the public education system and make the current problems worse. The union also argued that giving money to parents who choose to send their child to a religious or parochial school is unconstitutional.

Supporters of the measure claim that parents should be able to choose the best educational environment for their children. They also argue that vouchers would give all people, not just the wealthy or middle class, the opportunity for a better education for their children in private schools. Most importantly, supporters believe that making the educational system a "free market" enterprise, in which parents could choose which school their children would attend, would force the public educational system to provide a higher standard of education in order to compete.

George W. Bush was elected president of the United States in 2000. Throughout his campaign Bush called for national education reform, including the possible use of vouchers. During the legislative process of getting the No Child Left Behind Act (PL 107–110) (NCLB) through the U.S. Congress, Bush agreed to drop the voucher provisions from the legislation, recognizing that debate on the vouchers issue could prevent the bill from being passed. On January 8, 2002, the No Child Left Behind Act became law without specific provisions for a nationwide voucher program.

Frustrated at the national level, supporters of vouchers turned to state and local governments. Programs launched in Wisconsin, Florida, and Ohio provided students

TABLE 6.1

Estimated number of participants in elementary and secondary education and in higher education, fall 2002
[In millions]
All levels (elementary, secondary, and degree-granting) Elementary and secondary schools Degree-granting institutions
Participants Total Public Private Total Public Private
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Note: Includes enrollments in local public school systems and in most private schools (religiously affiliated and nonsectarian). Excludes subcollegiate departments of institutions of higher education and federal schools. Elementary and secondary includes most kindergarten and some nursery school enrollment. Excludes preprimary enrollment in schools that do not offer first grade or above. Degree-granting institutions include full-time and part-time students enrolled in degree-credit and nondegree-credit programs in universities, other 4-year colleges, and 2-year colleges that participated in Title IV federal financial aid programs. Data for teachers and other staff in public and private elementary and secondary schools and colleges and universities are reported in terms of full-time equivalents. Detail may not sum to totals due to rounding.
source: "Table 1. Projected Number of Participants in Educational Institutions, by Level and Control of Institution: Fall 2002," in Digest of Education Statistics, 2002, National Center for Education Statistics, 2003, http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d02/tables/PDF/table1.pdf (accessed September 16, 2004)]
Total 78.3 60.3 53.7 6.6 18.0 13.6 4.4
Enrollment69.253.647.66.015.612.03.6
Teachers and faculty4.33.53.10.40.80.50.2
Other professional administrative and support staff4.83.22.90.31.61.10.5

FIGURE 6.1

in some overcrowded or poorly performing schools with vouchers that could be used for private tuition. All of these programs were met with court challenges. A landmark decision came on June 27, 2002, when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the use of public money for religious school tuition in Cleveland, Ohio, calling the city's

FIGURE 6.2

voucher plan "a program of true private choice." In spring 2004 eleven states had school voucher programs functioning in selected areas or statewide: Florida, Iowa, Colorado, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Maine, Illinois, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Public School Choice—No Child Left Behind and Charter Schools

In lieu of a voucher program, the No Child Left Behind Act offered a public school choice program. Parents of students enrolled in "failing" public schools were allowed to move their children to a better-performing public or charter school. Local school districts were required to provide this choice and also provide students with transportation to the alternative school.

Public charter schools are funded by government money and run by a group under an agreement, or charter, with the state that exempts it from many state or local regulations that govern most public schools. In return for these exemptions and funding, the school must meet certain standards. In 2001–02 thirty-nine states allowed charter schools, with 2,348 in operation. Although charter schools served less than 1% of public elementary and secondary students in 2001–02, the idea has been increasing in popularity since Minnesota passed the first charter school law in 1991. The No Child Left Behind Act authorized $300 million to help local communities and states fund charter schools, as well as $150 million to encourage innovative approaches to funding charter school construction and infrastructure needs.

PREPRIMARY, ELEMENTARY, AND SECONDARY ENROLLMENT

Preprimary, elementary, and secondary school enrollments reflect the number of births over a specified period. Because of the baby boom following World War II, school enrollment grew rapidly during the 1950s and 1960s when those children reached school age. Elementary enrollment reached a then-record high in 1969, as did high school enrollment in 1971.

In the late 1960s the birth rate began to decline, resulting in a steadily falling school enrollment. An "echo effect" occurred in the late 1970s and early 1980s when those born during the baby boom began their own families. This echo effect triggered an increase in school enrollment starting in the mid-1980s. In 1985 public elementary and secondary school enrollment increased for the first time since 1971 and continued to increase, reaching 49.5 million in 2002 and projected to reach 49.7 million by 2013. (See Figure 6.2.)

TABLE 6.2

Enrollment of 3- to 5-year-old children in preprimary programs, by level and control of program and by attendance, 1965–2001
[In thousands]
Total population, 3 to 5 years Enrollment by level and control Enrollment by attendance
Nursery school Kindergarten
Year and age Total Percent enrolled Public Private Public Private Full-day Part-day Percent full-day
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
—Not available.
1Data collected using new procedures. May not be comparable with figures prior to 1994.
Note: Data are based on sample surveys of the civilian noninstitutional population. Although cells with fewer than 75,000 children are subject to wide sampling variation, they are included in the table to permit various types of aggregations. Detail may not sum to totals due to rounding.
source: Adapted from "Table 43. Enrollment of 3- to 5-Year-Old Children in Preprimary Programs, by Level and Control of Program and by Attendance Status: October 1965 to October 2001," in Digest of Education Statistics, 2002, National Center for Education Statistics, 2003, http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d02/tables/PDF/table43.pdf (accessed September 16, 2004)
196512,5493,40727.11273932,291596
197010,9494,10437.53327622,4985116983,40517.0
197510,1854,95548.75701,1742,6825281,2953,65926.1
19809,2844,87852.56281,3532,4384591,5513,32731.8
198510,7335,86554.68461,6312,8475412,1443,72236.6
198610,8665,97155.08291,7152,8595672,2413,73037.5
198710,8725,93154.68191,7362,8425342,0903,84135.2
198810,9935,97854.48511,7702,8754812,0443,93534.2
198911,0396,0264.69301,8942,7044972,2383,78937.1
199011,2076,65959.41,1992,1802,7725092,5774,08238.7
199111,3706,33455.79961,8282,9675432,4083,92638.0
199211,5456,40255.51,0731,7832,9955502,4103,99237.6
199311,9546,58155.11,2051,7793,0205772,6423,93940.1
1994112,3287,51461.01,8482,3142,8195343,4684,04646.2
1995112,5187,73961.81,9502,3812,8006083,6894,05147.7
1996112,3787,58061.21,8302,3172,8535803,5624,01947.0
1997112,1217,86064.92,2072,2312,8475753,9223,93949.9
1998112,0787,78864.52,2132,2992,6746023,9593,82950.8
1999111,9207,84465.82,2092,2982,7775604,1543,69053.0
2000111,8587,59264.02,1462,1802,7015654,0083,58452.8
2001111,8997,60263.92,1642,2012,7245123,9403,66251.8

Preprimary Growth

Participating in early childhood programs such as nursery school, Head Start, pre-kindergarten, and kindergarten helps prepare children for the academic challenges of first grade. In contrast to the declining elementary and secondary school enrollment between 1970 and 1980, preprimary enrollment showed substantial growth, increasing from 4.1 million in 1970 to 4.9 million in 1980. (See Table 6.2 and Figure 6.3.) According to the Census Bureau, enrollment had grown to eight million by 2002.

Not only did the numbers of children enrolled in early childhood programs increase, but the percentage of three- to five-year-olds enrolled also increased substantially between 1965 and 2001. In 1965, 27.1% of three- to five- year-olds were enrolled in nursery school or kindergarten; by 2001 63.9% were enrolled. (See Table 6.2.)

Although programs like Head Start and other locally funded preschool programs are available to children in low-income families, preprimary school attendance is still generally linked to parental income and educational achievement levels. According to data presented in the NCES publication The Condition of Education 2002, 46.7% of three- to five- year-olds from households with an income below the poverty level in 2001 were enrolled in preprimary programs. (See Table 6.3.) That same year 59.1% of children ages three to five whose families were at or above the poverty level were enrolled in preprimary programs.

Preschool enrollment rates also increased with a mother's educational level. In 2001 the enrollment rate of children whose mothers had not earned a high school diploma was only 38.3%. (See Table 6.3.) The enrollment rate of children whose mothers had a high school diploma or equivalent was 47.1%. The majority of three- to five-year-olds whose mothers had attended some college were enrolled in preprimary programs; 62% of children whose mothers had attended some college were enrolled, and 69.5% of children whose mothers had a bachelor's degree or higher were enrolled. These numbers likely reflect three things: women with higher educational levels were more likely to continue working after becoming mothers, they were better able to pay for these programs, and they valued the educational benefits of preprimary programs for their children.

head start. The Head Start program, established as part of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 (PL 88–452),

FIGURE 6.3

is one of the most durable and successful federal programs for low-income and at-risk children. Directed by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Head Start is designed to help improve the social competence, learning skills, health, and nutrition of low-income children so they can begin school on a more level footing with children from higher income families. Regulations require that 90% of children enrolled in Head Start be from low-income households.

In 2003 909,608 children were served by Head Start programs. Of these children, 31.5% were African-American, 30.6% were Hispanic, 27.6% were white, 3.2% were Native American, and 2.9% were Asian/Pacific Islander. Most participating children were three and four years old (34% and 53%, respectively). A significant portion (12.5%) were disabled—children with mental retardation, health impairments, visual handicaps, hearing impairments, emotional disturbance, speech and language impairments, orthopedic handicaps, and learning disabilities.

The average cost per child for Head Start in 2003 was $7,092. Between its inception in 1965 and 2003, Head Start provided services to more than twenty-two million children and their families. The appropriation for Head Start in fiscal year 2004 was $6.8 billion. Despite these expenditures, according to the Children's Defense Fund 2003 Head Start basic fact sheet, Head Start served only three out of five poor children who were eligible because the program has always been underfunded.

Elementary and Secondary Enrollment

The Census Bureau reported that in 2002 33.1 million students were enrolled in kindergarten through eighth grade and 16.4 million in high school. (See Figure 6.2.) Most (88.5%) attended public schools. Total public school enrollment rose 15.7% from 1990 to 2001 after falling in the 1970s and early 1980s because of a decline in the school-age population.

EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT AND EARNINGS

The educational attainment of the U.S. population has risen steadily since the 1940s. In 2003 84.6% of adults

TABLE 6.3

Percent of children ages 3–5 years old enrolled in center-based early childhood care and education programs, by child and family characteristics, 1991 and 2001
Characteristic 1991 2001
1Children from racial/ethnic groups other than white, black, and Hispanic are included in the totals but not shown separately.
Note: Estimates are based on children who had not entered kindergarten. Center-based programs include day care centers, Head Start, preschool, nursery school, prekindergarten, and other early childhood programs. Children without mothers in the home are not included in estimates concerning mother's education or mother's employment status.
source: Adapted from "Table 1-1. Percent of Children Ages 3–5 Who Were Enrolled in Center-Based Early Childhood Care and Education Programs, by Child and Family Characteristics: Selected Years 1991–2001," in The Condition of Education 2002, National Center for Education Statistics, 2002, http://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/2002/section1/tables/t01_1.asp (accessed September 16, 2004)
Total152.856.4
Age
3 years42.343.0
4 years60.466.2
5 years63.972.8
Sex
Male52.453.6
Female53.259.2
Race/ethnicity
White54.059.0
Black58.363.7
Hispanic38.839.8
Poverty status
Below poverty44.246.7
At or above poverty55.759.1
Poverty status and race/ethnicity
Below poverty
White41.046.1
Black55.460.1
Hispanic34.436.2
At or above poverty
White56.460.8
Black61.866.2
Hispanic42.242.4
Family type
Two parents53.756.5
One or no parent49.756.1
Mother's education
Less than high school31.538.3
High school diploma or equivalent45.847.1
Some college, including vocational/technical60.262.0
Bachelor's degree or higher71.969.5
Mother's employment status
Worked 35 hours or more per week59.362.9
Worked less than 35 hours per week58.061.4
Looking for work43.246.9
Not in labor force45.346.8

older than twenty-five had graduated from high school—the highest number ever. More than one in four (27.2%) had earned a bachelor's degree or more. (See Figure 6.4.)

The level of educational attainment has traditionally been higher for men than for women. In 2003, however, for the second year in a row, the high school graduation rate for women ages twenty-five and over (85%) exceeded that of men (84.1%). (See Table 6.4.) The 2002 difference was the first statistically significant one in high school graduation rates between men and women since 1989. In 2003 28.9% of men and 25.7% of women had obtained bachelor's degrees or higher. Although college attainment had increased since 1990 for both men and women, women were narrowing the gap and making faster gains then men.

FIGURE 6.4

Educational attainment also varied by race and ethnic origin. Non-Hispanic whites were most likely to complete high school (89.4%), followed by Asians (87.6%), African-Americans (80%), and Hispanics (57%). (See Table 6.4 and Figure 6.5.) Asians were by far the most likely to be college graduates (49.8%), followed by non-Hispanic whites (30%), African-Americans (17.3%), and Hispanics (11.4%).

Earning levels rise with increased education. For people ages eighteen or older who had not finished high school the average annual income in 2002 was $18,826. (See Table 6.5.) High school graduates earned an average income of $27,280, and people with some college or an associate degree earned an average income of $31,046. The incomes of college graduates increased with the level of the degree earned. People with a bachelor's degree had mean earnings of $51,194, while holders of advanced degrees earned an average of $72,824.

These averages differed considerably by gender and race or ethnicity. On average, women earned sixty-two cents for every dollar men earned. (See Table 6.5.) The most highly educated women earned the least compared to their male counterparts—fifty-six cents for every dollar

TABLE 6.4

Educational attainment of the population 25 years and over, by age, sex, race, ethnicity, nativity, marital status, and region, 2003
Number of people (in thousands) High school graduate or more Some college or more Bachelor's degree or more
Characteristic Percent Percent Percent
source: Nicole Stoops, "Table A. Summary Measures of the Educational Attainment of the Population 25 Years and Over: 2003," in Educational Attainment in the United States: 2003, Current Population Reports, P20–550, U.S. Census Bureau, June 2004, http://www.census.gov/prod/2004pubs/p20-550.pdf (accessed September 16, 2004)
Population 25 years and over185,18384.652.527.2
Age group:
25 to 29 years18,72186.557.428.4
30 to 34 years20,52187.658.631.5
35 to 39 years21,28487.656.529.8
40 to 44 years22,79088.456.529.1
45 to 49 years21,42089.357.429.9
50 to 54 years18,81488.758.931.1
55 to 59 years15,47086.955.129.0
60 to 64 years11,93083.047.324.5
65 to 69 years9,43876.939.119.6
70 to 74 years8,67372.836.418.5
75 years and over16,12367.532.415.4
Sex:
Men88,59784.153.228.9
Women96,5868551.025.7
Race and origin:
White alone153,18885.152.927.6
Non-Hispanic white alone133,48889.456.430.0
Black alone20,52780.044.717.3
Asian alone7,69187.667.449.8
Hispanic (of any race)21,18957.029.611.4
Nativity:
Native158,12887.587.554.2
Foreign born27,05567.242.727.2
Marital status:
Never married28,69484.954.829.0
Married spouse present113,74887.055.930.5
Married spouse absent7,38972.538.216.1
Separated4,44774.538.613.8
Widowed13,97067.230.312.5
Divorced21,38286.550.921.0
Region:
Northeast36,18285.750.730.3
Midwest41,72887.852.526.0
South66,07182.250.125.3
West41,20284.058.128.7

the men earned. The disparity between races and ethnic groups was not as pronounced. Annual earnings for high school graduates ranged from $28,756 for non-Hispanic whites to $22,823 for African-Americans. For college graduates earnings ranged from $40,949 for Hispanics to $53,185 for non-Hispanic whites.

PRIVATE SCHOOLS

Enrollment in public schools far surpasses enrollment in private schools. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) projects that total elementary and secondary school enrollment will continue to rise, reaching 55.9 million in 2012. (See Figure 6.2.) During this same period total private school enrollment is expected to rise from 6.2 million in 2001 to 6.6 million in 2013.

NCES statistics show that more than three-quarters (77.4%) of private school students in 1999–2000 were white. African-American students made up only 9.4% of private school students; 8.3% were Hispanic; and 4.5% were Asian/Pacific Islander. Most private schools (95.6%) were coeducational, and close to equal percentages of boys (50.7%) and girls (49.3%) attended.

Catholic Schools

According to the NCES report Private School Universe Survey: 1999–2000 (August 2001), the most recent report available, 29.8% of all private schools in 1999–2000 were Catholic, and 48.6% of private school students attended Catholic schools. Economic and social changes have caused a decline in Catholic school enrollment and in the number of Catholic schools. In 1985 there were 9,220 Catholic schools in the United States; by 2002 there were only 8,114. Many closures took place in inner cities where financial difficulties made closings necessary. Between 1982 and 1999 Catholic school enrollment in elementary

TABLE 6.5

Average earnings by educational attainment, sex, race, and Hispanic origin for all workers, age 18 and over, 2002
Characteristic Total Not a high graduate High school graduate Some college degree or associate's Bachelor's degree Advanced degree
source: Nicole Stoops, "Table C. Average Earnings in 2002 by Educational Attainment, Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin for All Workers, 18 Years and Over," in Educational Attainment in the United States: 2003, Current Population Reports, P20–550, U.S. Census Bureau, June 2004, http://www.census.gov/prod/2004pubs/p20-550.pdf (accessed September 16, 2004)
Total $36,308 $18,826 $27,280 $31,046 $51,194 $72,824
Men$44,310$22,091$32,673$38,377$63,503$90,761
Women$27,271$13,459$21,141$23,905$37,909$50,756
White alone$37,376$19,264$28,145$31,878$52,479$73,870
Non-Hispanic white alone$39,220$19,423$28,756$32,318$53,185$74,122
Black alone$28,179$16,516$22,823$27,626$42,285$59,944
Asian alone$40,793$16,746$24,900$27,340$46,628$72,852
Hispanic (of any race)$25,824$18,981$24,163$27,757$40,949$67,679

and secondary schools dropped from three million to 2.5 million, but rose again to 2.6 million in 2002.

Other Religious and Nonreligious Private Schools

The other types of private schools are non-Catholic religious schools and nonreligious (nonsectarian) schools. According to the NCES report, non-Catholic religious schools made up 48.6% of all private schools in 1999–2000 and enrolled 35.7% of all private school students. Nonsectarian schools enrolled only 15.7% of private school students in 21.6% of private schools.

COMPULSORY ATTENDANCE

In 2000 all U.S. states required students to attend school through at least age sixteen. (See Table 6.6.) Most industrialized Western nations require children to attend school for about ten years. According to the Digest of Education Statistics 2001, the countries requiring the most years of schooling were the Netherlands (ages five through eighteen), Germany and Belgium (both ages six through eighteen), Kazakhstan (ages six through seventeen), and the United Kingdom (ages five through sixteen).

DROPPING OUT

Dropout Rates

"Status" dropouts are sixteen- to twenty-four-year-olds who have not finished high school and are not enrolled in school. The U.S. Department of Education reports that status dropout rates decreased from 1960 (27.2%) through 2002 (10.7%). In 2001 10.7% of sixteen- to twenty-four-year-olds had dropped out of high school. The Hispanic status dropout rate was considerably higher, at 27%, than that of non-Hispanic African-Americans (10.9%) or non-Hispanic whites (7.3%).

Dropout rates also fluctuate greatly according to family income. In 2000 20.7% of people ages sixteen to twenty-four from families who had the lowest incomes (bottom 25%) had dropped out of school, nearly six times the dropout rates of sixteen- to twenty-four-year-olds whose families had the highest incomes (3.5%). (See Figure 6.6.)

Status dropout rates are consistently lower for women than for men regardless of race or ethnicity. This has been the case since 1977. (See Table 6.7.) In 2001 the status dropout rate for young women ages sixteen to twenty-four was 9.3%. Males of the same age in 2001 had a status dropout rate of 12.2%.

Returning to School or Getting an Alternative Diploma (GED)

The decision to drop out of high school does not necessarily mean the end of a young person's education. Many former students return to school to get their diploma or take the test necessary to obtain an alternative credential or degree, such as a General Equivalency Diploma (GED). In 2001 648,000 GEDs were issued. Many young people who earn their GED then go on to get a college education.

THE NATIONAL EDUCATION GOALS PANEL

Because of concern that American youth were falling behind young people in other industrialized countries in educational achievement, the National Education Goals Panel was created in 1989 to oversee the progress of six national goals adopted by the states in a 1990 meeting of governors. The panel set these goals to be achieved by 2000:

  1. All children in America will start school ready to learn.
  2. The high school graduation rate will increase to at least 90%.
  3. Students will leave grades four, eight, and twelve having demonstrated competency in English, mathematics, science, history, and geography.
  4. American students will be first in the world in science and mathematics achievement.
  5. Every adult American will be literate and possess the knowledge and skills necessary to compete in a global economy and exercise the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.

FIGURE 6.5

  • 6. Every school in America will be free of drugs and violence and offer a disciplined environment conducive to learning.

Expressing the nation's continued concern, Congress passed the Goals 2000: Educate America Act (PL 103–227) in 1994. The act reemphasized the National Education Goals and added two more goals for teacher and parental involvement:

  1. The nation's teaching force will have access to programs for continued improvement of their professional skills.
  2. Every school will promote partnerships to increase parental involvement and participation in the social, emotional, and academic growth of children.

Progress of the Goals

In its last completed progress report in 1999, the National Education Goals Panel noted advances in the following areas:

  • The proportion of infants born with health risks declined.
  • The percentage of two-year-olds fully immunized increased.
  • The percentage of families reading and telling stories to their children increased.
  • The gap in preschool attendance between high- and low-income families decreased.
  • The percentages of students proficient in reading rose in grade eight, of students proficient in mathematics rose in grades four, eight, and twelve, and the proportion of college degrees awarded in mathematics and science increased for all students—including minorities and female.
  • The percentage of students who reported being threatened or injured at school decreased.

Areas the National Education Goals Panel reported as disappointing were:

  • The percentage of secondary school teachers with a degree in their main teaching assignment declined.
  • The percentage of students reporting illicit drug use increased.
  • The percentage of students reporting that someone offered to sell or give them drugs at school increased.
  • The percentage of public school teachers reporting they were threatened or injured at school increased.
  • There was a higher percentage of disruptions in classrooms of secondary school teachers.

The Decommissioning of the National Education Goals Panel

Although the original authorization of the National Education Goals Panel was set for the decade 1990–2000, a 1999 task force on the future of the panel and goals recommended it be reauthorized. However, the passage of

TABLE 6.6

Ages for compulsory school attendance; special education services for students; policies for kindergarten programs; and year-round schools, by state, 1997 and 2000
Year-round schools, 2000 Provision of kindergarten education, 2000
Compulsory attendene, 2000 Compulsory special, education services 19971 Has policy on year-arround schools Has districtus with year-round schools School districts required to offer Attendance required
State Half day Full day Half day Full day
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Alabama7 to 166 to 21XXX
Alaska7 to 163 to 22X
Arizona26 to 163 to 22XXXX
Arkansas35 to 175 to 21XXXX
California46 to 18Birth to 21XXX
Colorado3 to 21X
Connecticut7 to 165Under 21X
Delaware65 to 163 to 20X
District of ColumbiaXX
Florida6 to 18XXXX
Georgia6 to 165Under 21XX
Hawaii6 to 18Under 20XX
Idaho7 to 163 to 21X
Illinois7 to 163 to 21XX7X
Indiana7 to 163 to 22XX
Iowa86 to 16Under 21XX7X
Kansas97 to 18(10)
Kentucky116 to 16Under 21XXX
Louisiana7 to 173 to 21X
Maine7 to 17125 to 19X
Maryland5 to 16Under 21XXX
Massachusetts6 to 163 to 21X
Michigan6 to 16Under 26
Minnesota137 to 18Under 22XX7X
Mississippi6 to 17Birth to 20X
Missouri7 to 16Under 21X7X
Montana147 to 163 to 18X
Nebraska7 to 16Birth to 21
Nevada7 to 17Under 22XXX
New Hampshire6 to 163 to 21
New Jersey6 to 165 to 21X
New Mexico5 to 18(15)XXX
New York166 to 16Under 21
North Carolina7 to 165 to 20XXX
North Dakota7 to 16173 to 2018X
Ohio6 to 18Under 22X7XX
Oklahoma5 to 18193 and upXXX
Oregon7 to 183 to 21XX
Pennsylvania8 to 176 to 21XXX
Rhode Island6 to 163 to 21XX
South Carolina5 to 163 to 21XXX
South Dakota6 to 16Under 2118X
Tennessee6 to 173 to 21XXX
Texas6 to 18203 to 21XX18X
Utah6 to 183 to 22XXXX

the No Child Left Behind Act in January 2002 repealed the panel's authorization, and it officially shut down in early 2002.

NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND ACT

With the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) in early 2002, sweeping changes were made to the laws defining and regulating the federal government's role in kindergarten through grade twelve education. The law is based on four basic education reform principles. The four principles, as described on the government's No Child Left Behind Web site (http://www.NoChildLeftBehind.gov/next/overview/index.html) are:

  • Stronger accountability for results
  • Increased flexibility and local control
  • Expanded options for parents
  • An emphasis on teaching methods that have been proven to work

Accountability

Under No Child Left Behind (NCLB), schools are required to demonstrate "adequate yearly progress" toward statewide proficiency goals, including closing the achievement gap between advantaged and disadvantaged

1Most states have an upper age limit whereby education is provided up to a certain age or completion of secondary school, whichever comes first.
2Ages 6 to 16 or 10th grade completion.
3Must have turned 17 by October 1.
4At least 16 and have graduated high school or passed California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE) and obtained parental permission.
5Under 21 or until child graduates from high school.
6Must have turned 5 by August 31.
7State requires either half-day or full-day program.
8Must have turned 16 by September 15.
9Eligible for waiver at 16.
10School age, to be determined in accordance with rules and regulations adopted by the state board.
11Must have turned 6 by October 1.
12Must be 5 before October 1, and not 20 before start of school year, assistance in providing coordination of services from birth to age 6.
13Eligible for waiver.
14Age 16 and completion of eighth grade.
15School-age unless otherwise provided by law.
16Age 16 and completion of school year.
17Must not be 21 by September 1.
18State requires both half-day and full-day program.
19Children from birth through two are eligible for additional services. Eligibility for special education services cease upon completion of a secondary education program, no age limit.
20For visually and auditorily impaired individuals under 21.
21Student may complete school year if 21st birthday occurs while attending school.
—Data not available.
Note: The Education of the Handicapped Act (EHA) Amendments of 1986 make it mandatory for all states receiving EHA funds to serve all 3- to 18-year-old disabled children.
source: "Table 150. Ages for Compulsory School Attendance, Special Education Services for Students, Policies for Year-Round Schools and Kindergarten Programs, by State: 1997 and 2000," in Digest of Education Statistics, 2002, National Center for Education Statistics, 2003, http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d02/tables/PDF/table150.pdf (accessed September 16, 2004)
Vermont7 to 163 to 2118X
Virginia5 to 182 to 21X18XX
Washington138 to 18213 to 21X
West Virginia6 to 165 to 21XXXX
Wisconsin6 to 18Under 21XX
Wyoming26 to 163 to 21X

students. Those schools that do not demonstrate progress face corrective action and restructuring measures. Progress reports are public, so parents can stay informed about their school and school district. Schools that are making or exceeding adequate yearly progress are eligible for awards.

The accountability outlined under No Child Left Behind is measured through standards testing. Under NCLB, states are required to establish strong academic standards and test students annually to see how they are meeting them. The requirement for annual testing will be phased in over a six-year period. During the 2002–03 school year, students in grades three to five, six to nine, and ten to twelve were tested in math and reading. Beginning in school year 2005–06, testing will expand to all students in grades three to eight. General science achievement testing will be fully implemented two years later, in the 2007–08 school year. NCLB linked federal financing of schools to the results of these mandated tests.

The provisions of this law related to testing are the subject of much debate. Advocates see testing as a means of raising expectations and helping guarantee that all children are held to the same high standards. They argue that many young people have passed through school without acquiring the basic reading and math skills needed in society and especially in the information-oriented economy. Critics of testing say classroom experiences become limited to the need to teach students with the test in mind—and what is tested is only a sample of what kids should know. Further, critics claim that standards exams tend to test for those things most easily measured and not the critical thinking skills students need to develop.

proficiency testing. The testing requirements of the NCLB will be debated for some time to come as states grapple with the best means of implementing them. Standardized tests have, however, been around for some time. A look at the changes in proficiency test scores over time is one way to gauge the performance of the education system.

In Condition of Education, 2004, the National Center for Education Statistics lists test results for a series of years. The percentage of both fourth- and eighth-graders who tested proficient in reading rose from 29% of both

FIGURE 6.6

groups in 1992 to 31% of fourth-graders and 32% of eighth-graders in 2003. The percentage of fourth-graders at or above proficiency in mathematics rose from 13% in 1992 to 32% in 2003; the percentage of eighth-graders at proficiency rose from 15% in 1992 to 29% in 2003.

Despite these positive results, the public's opinion of school performance has dropped. The National Center for Education Statistics' publication Digest of Education Statistics: 2002 presents data on the grades that the public gives to schools nationally. Based on a scale of A=4, B=3, C=2, D=1, and F=0, the average grade given by adults to schools in 1985 was 2.14. In 2001 the average grade had dropped to 2.01. When adults with children in the school system were asked to rate their school, they gave a grade of 2.20 in 1985 and a grade of 2.04 in 2001, higher than the scores given by the general adult population but also declining over the period.

Another way to evaluate the educational system in the United States is to compare it with the systems of other industrialized countries. In May 2003 the National Center for Education Statistics published a study entitled Comparative Indicators of Education in the United States and Other G-8 Countries: 2002. The study was designed to compare the U.S. education system with the systems in seven other highly industrialized nations: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom. Eighth-grade students in the United States had a mean mathematics achievement score of 502, below that of Japan (579), Canada (531), and the Russian Federation (526), but higher than that of the other countries for which this measure was reported—England (496) and Italy (479). The score for mean science achievement obtained by students in the United States was (515), higher than the score for Italy (493), but below all the other countries for which this measure was reported. Fifteen-year-olds in the United States scored the same on the reading literacy scale (504) as students in France, Italy, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom, but below those in Canada.

Flexibility

The No Child Left Behind Act gave states and local school districts more control over the federal funding they

TABLE 6.7

Percentage of high school dropouts (status dropouts) among persons 16–24 years old, by sex, race, and ethnicity, 1960–2001
Total Men Women
Year All races Hispanic White, non-Hispanic Black, non-Hispanic Hispanic origin All races Hispanic White, non-Hispanic Black, non-Hispanic Hispanic origin All races Hispanic White, non-Hispanic Black, non-Hispanic Hispanic origin
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
—Not available.
1Based on the April 1960 decennial census.
2White and black include persons of Hispanic origin.
3Because of changes in data collection procedures, data may not be comparable with figures for earlier years.
Note: "Status" dropouts are 16- to 24-year-olds who are not enrolled in school and who have not completed a high school program regardless of when they left school. People who have received GED credentials are counted as high school completers. All data except for 1960 are based on October counts. Data are based upon sample surveys of the civilian noninstitutionalized population.
source: "Table 108. Percent of High School Dropouts (Status Dropouts) among Persons 16 to 24 Years Old, by Sex and Race/Ethnicity: April 1960 to October 2001," in Digest of Education Statistics, 2002, National Center for Education Statistics, 2003, http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d02/tables/dt108.asp (accessed September 16, 2004)
1960127.227.826.7
1967217.015.428.616.514.730.617.316.126.9
1968216.214.727.415.814.427.116.515.027.6
1969215.213.626.714.312.626.916.014.626.7
1970215.013.227.914.212.229.415.714.126.6
1971214.713.423.714.212.625.515.214.222.1
197214.612.321.334.314.111.622.333.715.112.820.534.8
197314.111.622.233.513.711.521.530.414.511.822.836.4
197414.311.921.233.014.212.020.133.814.311.822.132.2
197513.911.422.929.213.311.023.026.714.511.822.931.6
197614.112.020.531.414.112.121.230.314.211.819.932.3
197714.111.919.833.014.512.619.531.613.811.220.034.3
197814.211.920.233.314.612.222.533.613.911.618.333.1
197914.612.021.133.815.012.622.433.014.211.520.034.5
198014.111.419.135.215.112.320.837.213.110.517.733.2
198113.911.318.433.215.112.519.936.012.810.217.130.4
198213.911.418.431.714.512.021.230.513.310.815.932.8
198313.711.118.031.614.912.219.934.312.510.116.229.1
198413.111.015.529.814.011.916.830.612.310.114.329.0
198512.610.415.227.613.411.116.129.911.89.814.325.2
198612.29.714.230.113.110.315.032.811.49.113.527.2
198712.610.414.128.613.210.815.029.112.110.013.328.1
198812.99.614.535.813.510.315.036.012.28.914.035.4
198912.69.413.933.013.610.314.934.411.78.513.031.6
199012.19.013.232.412.39.311.934.311.88.714.430.3
199112.58.913.635.313.08.913.539.211.98.913.731.1
1992311.07.713.729.411.38.012.532.110.77.414.826.6
1993311.07.913.627.511.28.212.628.110.97.614.426.9
1994311.47.712.630.012.38.014.131.610.67.511.328.1
1995312.08.612.130.012.29.011.130.011.78.212.930.0
1996311.17.313.029.411.47.313.530.310.97.312.528.3
1997311.07.613.425.311.98.513.327.010.16.713.523.4
1998311.87.713.829.513.38.615.533.510.36.912.225.0
1999311.27.312.628.611.97.712.131.010.56.913.026.0
2000310.96.913.127.812.07.015.331.89.96.911.123.5
2001310.77.310.927.012.27.913.031.69.36.79.022.1

receive for education. Up to half of all non-Title I federal education funding can be allocated by states to whichever programs they wish. Federal programs were also simplified and consolidated under the law, so receiving funding is easier.

Parental Options

No Child Left Behind provided that parents of students attending failing schools would be provided with the opportunity and transportation to send their child to an alternative public or charter school. If the parent chose to keep their child in a failing school, federal Title I funds would be available for supplemental services such as tutoring and summer school, run by either nonsectarian or faith-based organizations. The creation and use of charter schools were expanded under NCLB.

Proven Educational Methods

No Child Left Behind attached federal funding to programs that had already been shown to help children learn. Emphasis was placed on the Reading First initiative, more than tripling funding for reading programs from $300 million in fiscal year 2001 to a proposed $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2005. In addition, a new Early Reading First program was established to support literacy skills among preschool-age children to try to meet President George W. Bush's goal of every child being able to read by the third grade. Teacher quality programs received $2.8 billion in fiscal year 2001 for hiring new teachers, increasing teacher salaries, and improving teacher training and development; President Bush proposed $2.9 billion for teacher professional development in fiscal year 2005.

STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES

In 1976 the U.S. Congress passed the Education of the Handicapped Act (PL 94–142, superseded by PL 98–199), which required schools to develop programs for disabled children. Formerly, parents of many disabled students had few options other than institutionalization or nursing care. The Education of the Handicapped Act required that disabled children be put in the "least restrictive environment," which led to increased efforts to educate them in regular classrooms (known as mainstreaming).

The law defined "handicapped" children as those who are mentally retarded, hard of hearing or deaf, orthopedically impaired, speech- and language-impaired, visually impaired, seriously emotionally disturbed or otherwise health-impaired. It also includes children with specific learning disabilities who require special education and related services.

In 1990 the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (PL 101–476) (IDEA) was passed. This was a reauthorization and expansion of the earlier Education of the Handicapped Act. It added autism and traumatic brain injury to the list of disabilities covered by the law, and amendments added in 1992 and 1997 increased coverage for infants and toddlers and for children with attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The law required public school systems to develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for each disabled child, reflecting the needs of individual students.

In February 2001 President Bush announced the New Freedom Initiative, designed to give people with disabilities more opportunities in various arenas, including education. In the overview report describing the initiative, President Bush noted he would seek to increase funding for IDEA and place stress on both the "Reading First" and "Early Reading First" programs. He proposed an $11 billion budget for IDEA in fiscal year 2005.

Special Education Programs

As a result of legislation that enforces their rights, increased numbers of disabled children have been served in public schools. Between 1976 and 2001 the proportion of students who participated in federal education programs for children with disabilities increased from 8.3% to 13.3%. (See Table 6.8.) In 2001 the highest proportion of students needed services for specific learning disabilities (6%), followed by students who needed help with speech or language impairments (2.3%) and students who were mentally retarded (1.3%). According to the Office of Special Education Programs 2002 Annual Report, six hundred thousand preschoolers received early intervention services annually, and 5.8 million children six to twelve years old with disabilities received special education services in 2001.

HOMELESS CHILDREN

Homelessness harms children in many ways, including hindering their ability to attend and succeed in school. Homeless children have difficulty with transportation to school, maintaining necessary documents, and attaining privacy needed for homework, sleep, and interaction with parents in a shelter. Experts report that homeless children—compared with children who are poor but housed—miss more days of school, more often repeat a grade, and are more often put into special education classes.

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987 (PL 100–77) required in Title VII, subtitle B, that each state provide "free, appropriate, public education" to homeless youth. The law further required that all states develop a plan to address the denial of access to education to homeless children.

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2001 went further to address inequities that affect homeless children in the public school system. New guidance for states and school systems released by the Department of Education in April 2003 noted the main differences between the old and new programs:

  • Homeless children may no longer be segregated in a separate program on the basis of their homeless status.
  • Schools must immediately enroll homeless students even if they are missing some of the documentation normally required.
  • Upon parental request, states and school districts must provide transportation for homeless children to the school they attended before they became homeless.
  • School districts must designate a local liaison for homeless children and youths.

HOME SCHOOLING

A number of parents, unhappy with public schools, teach their children at home. In 1990 the Home School Legal Defense Association (which provides legal assistance to home-school families) estimated that about

TABLE 6.8

Number of children with disabilities who were served by federal programs, as a percentage of total public K–12 enrollment, by type of disability, 1976–77 to 2000–01
Type of disability 1976–77 1980–81 1988–89 1989–90 1990–91 1991–92 1992–93 1993–94 1994–95 1995–96 1996–97 1997–98 1998–99 1999–2000 2000–01
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
—Not available.
1Includes preschool children 3–5 years served under Chapter I and IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), Part B. Prior to 1987–88, these students were included in the counts by disability condition. Beginning in 1987–88, states were no longer required to report preschool children (0–5 years) by disability condition.
2Based on the enrollment in public schools, kindergarten through 12th grade, including a relatively small number of prekindergarten students.
3Less than 0.005 percent.
Note: Counts are based on reports from the 50 states and District of Columbia only (i.e., figures from outlying areas are not included). Increases since 1987–88 are due in part to new legislation enacted fall 1986, which mandates public school special education services for all disabled children ages 3 through 5. Some data have been revised from previously published figures. Detail may not sum to totals due to rounding.
source: Adapted from "Table 52. Children 3 to 21 Years Old Served in Federally Supported Programs for the Disabled, by Type of Disability: 1976–77 to 2000–01," in Digest of Education Statistics, 2002, National Center for Education Statistics, 2003, http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d02/tables/PDF/table52.pdf (accessed September 16, 2004)
Number served as a percent of total enrollment2
All disabilities 8.32 10.14 11.27 11.42 11.55 11.75 11.94 12.21 12.19 12.43 12.56 12.80 13.01 13.21 13.33
Specific learning disabilities1.803.584.945.055.175.315.495.545.645.755.815.915.996.046.02
Speech or language impairments2.942.862.402.402.392.372.322.332.302.282.292.292.292.302.30
Mental retardation2.172.031.391.351.301.281.211.231.261.271.271.281.281.281.27
Emotional disturbance0.640.850.930.940.950.950.950.970.980.980.980.991.001.00
Hearing impairments0.200.190.140.140.140.140.140.150.150.150.150.150.150.150.15
Orthopedic impairments0.200.140.120.120.120.120.120.130.140.140.140.150.150.150.15
Other health impairments0.320.240.120.130.130.140.150.190.240.300.350.410.470.540.62
Visual impairments0.090.080.050.050.060.060.050.060.050.060.050.050.060.060.05
Multiple disabilities0.170.210.210.230.230.240.250.200.210.210.230.230.240.26
Deaf-blindness0.01333333333355
Autism and traumatic brain injury0.010.040.060.070.090.100.120.140.170.20
Developmental delay0.010.030.040.06
Preschool disabled10.971.031.071.151.231.331.181.211.211.221.221.241.25

474,000 children were being taught at home. According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, approximately 850,000, or 1.7% of school-age children, were being home schooled in the spring of 1999. By 2003 that number had risen to 1.1 million students, or 2.2% of school-age children (National Center for Education Statistics, "1.1 Million Home schooled Students in the United States in 2003," Issue Brief NCES 2004-115, July 2004, http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2004/2004115.pdf [accessed August 3, 2004]).

Parents choose to homeschool their children for a variety of reasons. Almost a third (31%) of the home-schooling parents surveyed in the National Household Education Survey said the most important reason they chose to homeschool was concern about the environment of the other schools. Another 30% said they chose to homeschool to provide religious or moral instruction. The third most common reason parents gave for home schooling was dissatisfaction with the academic instruction available at other schools (16%). (See Figure 6.7.)

States have differing requirements for parents who teach their children at home ("FAQ about Home Education Regulation," March 2002). Some states, such as Colorado and New Jersey, give parents the right to educate their children as they see fit, and impose only minor controls or none at all. Other states have more strict regulations. Opponents of home schooling argue that parents may not be qualified to be teachers, but proponents believe that parents can gain teaching skills through experience, just as other teachers do.

ISSUES AFFECTING EDUCATION

Violence in the Classroom

April 20, 1999, marks the date of the worst school shooting in U.S. history. Two students at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, shot and killed thirteen fellow students and teachers before turning their guns on themselves. Parents worried about how safe their schools really were, and schools have implemented a number of safety measures to deal with violence and crime at school. According to Indicators of School Crime and Safety, in the 1999–2000 school year 2% of public schools required students to pass through a metal detector each day, while 8% used random metal detector tests and 21% conducted drug sweeps. Nearly one-quarter (23%) reported the daily on-campus presence of police officers or security personnel, and 15% used video surveillance. More than half (59%) reported having a school violence prevention program. Critics of increased surveillance in schools contend that bullying, stalking, and harassment present the real

FIGURE 6.7

risk to students and believe that stronger counseling and early-intervention programs are urgently needed.

A 2002 joint report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) (Indicators of School Crime and Safety) reported mixed results of efforts to decrease violence in schools. The report found that between 1992 and 2000 violent crime in schools had actually decreased from earlier years, but, despite the decline, seven hundred thousand violent crimes still occurred in schools in 2000. The percentage of high school students who had been threatened or injured with a weapon while at school remained relatively constant between 1993 and 2001.

The Condition of School Facilities

Education experts and members of Congress recognize that the quality of the learning environment affects the education children receive. In 1996 the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) reported in School Facilities—America's Schools Report Differing Conditions that the presence of "decent facilities" in schools—including buildings that are structurally safe and have fire safety measures, adequate exits, safe drinking water, proper sewage disposal systems, and good lighting—was crucial to provide a high-quality learning environment. This finding was confirmed in a November 2002 report (Do School Facilities Affect Academic Outcomes?) by Mark Schneider and the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities.

Serious problems with school facilities continue to surface. According to the NCES report Condition of America's Public School Facilities: 1999 (2000), many schools were in need of major repairs. Three-quarters of schools reported a need to spend some money on repairs, renovations, and modernizations to put buildings into good overall condition. Fifty percent of schools reported that at least one building feature was in less than adequate condition. Approximately eleven million students were enrolled in schools reporting at least one type of on-site building feature in less than adequate condition. Of these students, about 3.5 million attended schools where at least one type of building feature was in poor condition or needed to be replaced. Approximately one-fifth of schools indicated less than adequate conditions for life safety features (20%), roofs (22%), and electric power (22%), and about a quarter of schools reported less than adequate conditions for plumbing (25%) and exterior walls, finishes, windows, and doors (24%). Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems were reported to be in less than adequate condition at 29% of schools. Schools with the highest concentration of poverty were more likely to report at least one unsatisfactory environmental condition than those with the lowest concentration of poverty (55% compared with 38%).

COLLEGE ENTRANCE EXAMINATIONS

Most students who wish to enter colleges and universities in the United States must take either the SAT (once known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test, then the Scholastic Assessment Test, now simply the SAT I) or the American College Test (ACT) as part of their admission requirements. The ACT is a curriculum-based achievement test, measuring proficiency in reading, math, English, and science, while the SAT is the primary admissions test to measure a student's mathematical and verbal reasoning ability in a way intended to assess readiness for college. Students who take these tests usually plan to continue their education beyond high school; therefore, these tests do not profile all high school students.

More Are Taking SAT and ACT Exams, with Mixed Results

The number of students who take both the SAT and the ACT has grown steadily. In 2003 1.5 million students took the SAT. This represented an increase of 33.8% over the number who took the test in 1975 (996,000). The number of students taking the ACT increased over the same period, from 714,000 in 1975 to 1.2 million in 2003, an increase of 40.5%. College admissions officers reported significant increases in the number of applicants as well, despite the declining number of high school graduates since 1980 (Tim Goral, "Intelligent Admissions: With College Applications Reaching Record Levels, IHEs Are Using Technology to Work Smarter and More Efficiently," University Business, March 2003). Students were either applying to a larger number of schools or, as the increased numbers taking the SAT and ACT suggested, more high school graduates were pursuing a college education.

Performance on the SAT is measured on a scale of two hundred to eight hundred for each of two sections, with the established average score being around five hundred for each. According to 2003 College-Bound Seniors, a report from the College Board Summary Reporting Service, over the period from 1972 to 2003, average verbal scores on the SAT declined from 537 to 507. The results for the math portion of the SAT, however, dropped and then rebounded over the same period, from 509 in 1972 to 519 in 2003. Average ACT scores also improved; in 1970 the average composite ACT score was 19.9, and in 2003 the average composite score was 20.8.

Characteristics of Test Takers

gender. More women than men took the tests in 2003—53.6% of those who took the SAT and 56% taking the ACT were women. More women than men have taken the SAT since the 1970s as well. Men scored higher on both the verbal and the math portions of the SAT test in 2003 (average scores of 512 and 537, respectively) compared with women (503 in each section) (2003 Profile of College-Bound Seniors, College Entrance Examination Board, 2003). The average composite ACT score was 21 for males and 20.8 for females. Women scored higher than men on the English and reading sections of the ACT, while men scored higher on the mathematics and science sections (National Data Release, ACT, August 20, 2003, http://act.org/news/releases/2003/8-20-03.html).

planned areas of study and future careers. The favorite intended areas of study or future career choice among those who took the SAT in order of preference were health-related (16%), business (13%), and social science/history (10%) (2003 Profile of College-Bound Seniors). Areas in which students taking the ACT hoped to pursue future studies were similar to those reported for takers of the SAT. But in an August 20, 2003, press release from ACT—"College-Bound Students'Academic Skills at Odds with Career Plans"—Richard L. Ferguson, ACT's chief executive officer, stated that while the top planned college major was health sciences, only a quarter (25%) of ACT test-takers reached the college readiness benchmark on the science test.

racial and ethnic differences. Despite improvements in the scores of minority students, they lagged behind those of white students. In 2003 whites scored a mean of 529 on verbal and 534 on math on the SAT. African-Americans scored an average of 431 on verbal and 426 on math, the lowest average scores of any racial or ethnic group. Mexican-Americans scored an average of 448 on verbal and 457 on math; Puerto Ricans scored 456 on verbal and 453 on math; and other Hispanics scored 457 on verbal and 464 on math. Native Americans and Alaska Natives scored 480 on verbal and 482 on math, and Asians and Pacific Islanders scored an average of 508 on verbal and 575 on math (2003 Profile of College-Bound Seniors).

Although average scores for all racial and ethnic groups except for Asians fell below scores of whites, the College Board reported some progress from 1992 to 2002. During that period average scores for African-Americans increased by ten points, scores for American Indians/Alaska Natives by nineteen points, and scores for Asians/Pacific Islanders by thirty-two points. While scores of Puerto Rican students showed a jump of twenty-six points, scores for other students of Hispanic origin generally showed no change ("Strong SAT Math Score Gains for Almost All Racial/Ethnic Groups between 1993 and 2003," 2003 Profile of College-Bound Seniors). However, the College Board noted that gaps between high school grade-point averages of white and nonwhite students actually increased between 1993 and 2003 ("Most Gaps between High School GPAs of White and Nonwhite Students Have Increased," 2003 Profile of College-Bound Seniors).

According to the ACT's Web site (http://www.act.org/news/releases/2003/8-20-03.html [accessed January 17, 2005]), results on the ACT in 2003 showed that African-American students scored an average of 16.9, Native Americans/Alaska Natives scored an average of 18.7, non-Hispanic whites scored an average of 21.7, and Asian-Americans scored an average of 21.8. Puerto Ricans earned an average score of 19, while Mexican-Americans earned an average of 18.2. In "ACT Scores Hold Steady in 2003," Richard L. Ferguson noted, "Our research has shown that far too many African-American students are not being adequately prepared for college. They are less likely than others to take rigorous, college-preparatory courses, and they often don't receive the information and guidance they need to properly plan for college." ACT data showed that fewer minority test-takers had taken the core college-preparatory coursework, and that groups that had taken more core coursework, such as non-Hispanic whites and Asian-Americans, tended to score higher on the ACT.

Controversy over the SAT

In the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, the SAT came under fire. One of the most notable critics of the SAT was University of California President Richard Atkinson, who argued that the test did not add much information to the overall picture of a student's academic performance. Atkinson believed the SAT II tests, which test knowledge in specific subject areas, were a more useful tool for college admissions officers than the SAT I.

In response to Atkinson's criticisms, the College Board announced numerous changes to the SAT. Changes implemented in 1994 included non-multiple-choice questions in the math section; the removal of antonyms and a greater emphasis on reading in the verbal section; and permitting the use of calculators during testing. March 2005 changes included an expansion of the math section to cover Algebra II as well as Algebra I and Geometry; the addition of a new writing section containing grammar questions and an essay; and a change in name for the verbal section to critical reading and the removal of analogies from that section.

HIGHER EDUCATION—OFF TO COLLEGE

Formal schooling beyond high school increasingly is being viewed as a necessity, not only to a young person's development but also to his or her economic success. President Bill Clinton, in his 1997 State of the Union address, spoke of the goal of making two years of college education "standard" for all American young people, much like high school had been considered in the past, and a four-year degree possible for anyone who desired it. Many parents consider helping their children attend college to be an important financial responsibility.

Enrollment

Enrollment in institutions of higher education is expected to rise through 2013, due not only to large numbers of children of baby boomers approaching college age but also to the increasing numbers of people of all ages seeking advanced learning. Enrollment in degree-granting postsecondary institutions stood at 15.3 million in 2000 and is expected to reach 18.2 million by 2013. (See Figure 6.8.)

College Costs

Paying for a college education, even at public four-year institutions, now ranks as one of the most costly investments for American families. In 2001–02 the average annual in-state cost at a four-year public college, including tuition and room and board, was $9,199. For one year at a private four-year college in 2002 the average cost for tuition and room and board was $22,968. (See Table 6.9.)

Nationwide the average tuition in 2001–02 (not including room and board) for full-time, resident under-graduate students at public four-year colleges was $3,746. (See Table 6.9.) Tuition at four-year public colleges varied widely among states—from $2,388 in Utah to $7,470 in Vermont. Most states with the highest tuition were in the

FIGURE 6.8

Northeast and most with the lowest tuition were in the South and West.

Private schools also raised tuition and room and board fees in an effort to meet their financial obligations. Average tuition in a private four-year college in 2001–02 was $16,287, up from $15,470 in 2000–01. (See Table 6.9.) The average tuition in such institutions varied greatly by state, from a low in Utah of $4,014 to a high in Massachusetts of $21,526.

Financial Assistance for Students

During the 1999–2000 academic year, the last year for which national data were available, more than half (55%) of about 16.5 million undergraduates enrolled in postsecondary institutions received some type of financial aid from federal, state, institutional, or other sources to meet their educational expenses. About 39% of under-graduates received some form of federal aid, and 14% of undergraduates received state aid. More than one in ten students (13.6%) received grants (which do not have to be paid back), 5% took out loans (which do have to be paid back), 2.7% received state merit grants, and 3% were on work-study programs (Digest of Education Statistics, chap. 3-A, National Center for Education Statistics, Washington, DC, 2003). Federal assistance that goes directly to students includes Pell Grants (the annual maximum was increased to $4,050 for the 2004–05 award year), the Stafford Student Loan Program (a maximum loan of $17,125 for four years of study for dependent undergraduate students), and Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants (which can range from $100 to $5,000 per year).

During 1999–2000, 75% of dependent undergraduates whose family income was below $30,000 received financial aid (Lutz Berkner et al., Student Financing of Undergraduate Education: 1999–2000, National Center for Education Statistics, Washington, DC, July 2002). About 37% of undergraduates in this income category received aid with no loans, and 38% received aid that

TABLE 6.9

Average undergraduate tuition, fees, and room and board rates paid by full-time equivalent students in degree-granting institutions, by control of institution and by state, 2000–01 and 2001–02
Public 4-year, 2000-01 Public 4-year, 2001-021 Private 4-year, 2000-01 Private 4-year, 2001-021 Public 2-year, tuition only (in-state)
State or other area Total Tuition and required fees (in-state) Total Tuition and required fees (in-state) Room Board Total Tuition and required fees Total Tuition and required fees Room Board 2000–01 2001–021
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
Not applicable.
1Preliminary data based on fall 2000 enrollments.
Note: Data are for the entire academic year and are average charges. Tuition and fees were weighted by the number of full-time-equivalent undergraduates in 2000, but are not adjusted to reflect student residency. Room and board are based on full-time students. Data revised from previously published figures. Detail may not sum to totals due to rounding.
source: "Table 313. Average Undergraduate Tuition and Fees and Room and Board Rates Paid by Full-Time-Equivalent Students in Degree-Granting Institutions, by Control of Institution and by State: 2000–01 and 2001–02," in Digest of Education Statistics, 2002, National Center for Education Statistics, 2003, http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d02/tables/PDF/table313.pdf (accessed September 14, 2004)
United States $8,653 $3,501 $9,199 $3,746 $2,811 $2,642 $21,856 $15,470 $22,968 $16,287 $3,571 $3,111 $1,333 $1,379
Alabama7,3492,9877,6543,2452,3212,08814,1369,33415,26910,2292,4152,6261,6721,990
Alaska8,3902,9419,2583,0653,0353,15714,6569,38115,6759,8522,4403,3821,6741,717
Arizona7,8742,3468,2222,4882,7193,01515,1099,32214,5109,7592,6162,135924962
Arkansas6,7973,0117,3023,3872,0361,87913,3779,10914,4149,9521,9882,4741,1581,314
California9,5902,56610,3202,7303,8303,76024,67917,21926,20318,3994,2693,535315315
Colorado8,3622,9808,8083,1592,6632,98723,12915,44524,35116,2453,7254,3801,6551,685
Connecticut10,5214,55311,0584,7723,4062,88027,73720,05629,06521,0754,7803,2091,8681,889
Delaware10,2834,78910,8895,0653,0822,74213,9368,41514,6988,7553,1462,7981,6801,800
District of Columbia2,0702,07026,93319,18628,31020,0935,0903,126
Florida7,9472,3668,3612,5553,1382,66719,87013,80520,97814,7083,3162,9541,4381,494
Georgia7,4632,6997,9152,8382,7302,34619,95113,77021,12414,5553,7632,8061,2601,293
Hawaii8,2722,9687,9873,0512,3762,56016,0788,00016,6278,7773,4774,3731,0661,067
Idaho6,7652,6287,1632,8601,9932,31017,79313,66410,1635,3261,8622,9761,3161,410
Illinois9,5324,17810,1944,5672,6532,97421,78415,31722,84416,1943,7262,9241,5321,569
Indiana9,2393,7869,7834,0022,8212,96021,37816,07822,54516,9732,8232,7492,1082,121
Iowa7,5873,1578,2533,4702,5122,27119,41414,63020,34115,3832,2892,6702,1412,362
Kansas6,6542,6426,9872,7002,0562,23115,67011,20616,65311,9872,0582,6081,3781,441
Kentucky6,9232,8987,3703,1942,1312,04514,64410,17615,71010,9722,2612,4771,3421,561
Louisiana6,3292,7836,6892,8651,8951,92921,93715,59123,05016,5393,4693,0429351,009
Maine9,3714,26710,2594,8042,7162,73922,69016,45024,13217,6193,2143,2992,5942,642
Maryland10,8344,77211,3854,9733,5532,85925,67018,62127,10819,6524,1853,2712,3012,244
Massachusetts9,2074,0039,3703,9992,9262,44528,66620,56629,97021,5264,6963,7491,8941,946
Michigan9,8254,61510,5655,0542,6792,83216,01111,15517,04611,8022,5272,7171,7431,780
Minnesota8,1274,0099,0804,4942,4632,12221,33216,24322,42016,9862,7162,7172,5072,746
Mississippi7,1952,9697,5993,4102,2521,93713,7679,65914,20310,0042,0472,1511,1381,362
Missouri8,2033,8798,6724,1112,5871,97517,88612,60018,78713,2182,8602,7101,4721,498
Montana7,6153,0798,3093,4672,1772,66514,4549,63115,9299,9263,1042,8992,0042,159
Nebraska7,3553,1017,7313,2282,1052,39816,09311,61918,83714,0742,3862,3771,4211,498
Nevada8,2472,3448,5702,4373,5232,61017,83511,46519,71913,5103,2302,9791,3691,410
New Hampshire11,7206,45812,3486,7283,4572,16325,18418,26126,48219,1864,1213,1753,9334,324
New Jersey12,0075,60912,8546,0784,0342,74123,73816,68025,20317,4034,1133,6872,2952,236
New Mexico7,0862,6277,5872,8382,2522,49719,01114,06220,50814,4993,1212,888876921
New York10,2604,06310,7774,1403,6372,99925,17817,43326,50918,3574,6973,4552,5622,584
North Carolina7,0762,2987,6672,6462,6502,37120,18514,27421,02415,1102,8523,0628961,014
North Dakota6,4182,9426,8433,1301,4052,30811,3998,02611,8408,3621,5201,9591,9022,090
Ohio10,4514,74211,1795,1423,1882,84920,98315,41922,13416,2592,9452,9292,2922,373
Oklahoma6,0222,2596,2962,3731,7442,17815,30710,58716,49211,4052,3432,7441,2531,214
Oregon9,3943,64610,0633,8623,1913,01023,12317,53324,42818,3083,0903,0301,6371,722
Pennsylvania11,0915,91711,8616,3162,9552,59024,73717,82126,00218,7963,8333,3732,2872,369
Rhode Island11,0954,50611,6104,7083,6773,22526,07318,32027,19219,1774,0683,9461,8061,854
South Carolina9,0964,70110,0775,5022,4852,08917,51812,71318,43513,4292,5112,4951,4671,787
South Dakota6,9753,4847,4693,6921,5042,27315,33511,19415,93511,7961,9072,2322,8572,964
Tennessee7,6582,9507,7813,3402,1112,33018,12812,92219,14313,6822,9182,5431,4411,652
Texas7,6142,7858,0622,9752,6592,42816,89011,86518,18512,7282,7242,733929981
Utah6,5982,2267,3932,3882,0023,0048,6003,7548,9924,0142,4452,5331,5711,679
Vermont12,8477,14213,4507,4703,7002,28022,45415,74023,20516,4073,6593,1403,0043,148
Virginia8,7513,7238,9883,7752,7962,41718,49913,11819,54113,8922,7862,8631,1321,131
Washington8,9093,6009,9863,7882,8623,33721,50515,87422,61216,6383,0382,9361,7581,885
West Virginia7,2902,5517,6252,6452,4212,55918,28512,99918,32913,1362,4062,7871,6611,661
Wisconsin7,3963,4177,7863,6912,2651,82920,31715,03221,33015,9072,8362,5872,2622,310
Wyoming7,0172,5757,4212,8072,0122,6021,4401,490

included loans. About 57% of dependent undergraduates whose family income was in the $30,000–$80,000 range received financial aid—about 20% received aid with no loans and 37% received aid that included loans. About 48% of dependent undergraduates whose family income was more than $80,000 received financial aid; 20% received aid with no loans, and 28% received aid that included loans.

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