The percentage of U.S. students living in poverty jumped by 40 percent in the last decade, and total funding for K-12 education dropped by $1 billion from 2008-09 to 2009-10. Yet, despite these challenges, high school graduation rates are slowly climbing—and more students are completing math and science courses, according to the latest figures from the National Center on Education Statistics.
Released May 23, “The Condition of Education 2013”—the latest in an annual series of reports from NCES, a branch of the U.S. Department of Education—is chock full of valuable statistics for policy makers and education leaders. Here are seven findings of particular significance for K-12 education.
1. Public school enrollment is projected to increase by 7 percent from 2010-11 to 2021-22.
From school years 2010-11 through 2021-22, public elementary and secondary school enrollment is projected to increase by 7 percent overall, from 49.5 to 53.1 million students. But changes will vary widely across states, ranging from a projected increase of 22 percent in Alaska to a decrease of 15 percent in the District of Columbia.
In grades preK-8, enrollment is projected to increase by more than 20 percent in Alaska, Nevada, Arizona, and Washington but decrease by 11 and 13 percent, respectively, in the District of Columbia and West Virginia. Enrollment in grades 9-12 is expected to increase by more than 20 percent in Texas, while enrollment in these grades in the District of Columbia is projected to decrease by 20 percent or more.
2. The percentage of students living in poverty has risen sharply.
The percentage of students living in poverty in the United States rose sharply in the last decade, from 15 percent in 2000 to 21 percent in 2011, according to NCES data. This rise comes after a decade in which the percentage of students living in poverty had declined, from 17 percent in 1990 to 15 percent in 2000.