Education 101

Report Education

Education 101

July 17, 2002 4 min read
Krista Kafer
Krista Kafer
Former Senior Education Policy Analyst
Krista is a former Senior Policy Analyst in the Education department.

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State of the Nation

  • Enrollment

    Approximately 47 million children attend public elementary and secondary schools. 5.9 million attend private schools. As many as 1.9 million children are home schooled.

    There are roughly 92,012 public elementary and secondary schools and 27,223 private elementary and secondary schools

  • Spending

    Over the past 30 years, average per-pupil expenditures for K-12 have nearly doubled, from $3,367 in 1970 to $6,584 in 2000.

    Total K-12 federal, state, and local spending for education, both public and private, climbed to over $420 billion for the 2000-2001 school year.

  • Class Size

    In the 1999-2000 school year, the pupil/teacher ratio was 16 to 1. The average class size was 22 students.

  • Achievement and Class Size

  • Achievement

    According to NAEP, only a third of 4th graders are proficient in reading, while a quarter are proficient in mathematics, science, and history. Proficiency rates decline by the 12th grade in most subjects.

    Over half of all poor students fail to reach the basic level on NAEP assessments in most subjects.

  • NAEP Scores

  • Graduation

    In 1998, 71 percent of students graduated on-time from high school. Just over half of minority students graduated.

    In 2000, 66 percent of adults with a diploma or GED aged 25-29 had some college experience. One-third had completed a bachelor's degree or higher.

  • International

    American 8th graders ranked 19th out of 38 countries on the most recent international mathematics comparison and 18th out of 38 countries in science.

    On the TIMSS 1995 study, which tested 12th graders, American students were ranked 19th out of 21 countries in both math and science general knowledge.

Source: Ludger Woessman, " Why Students in Some Countries Do Better," Education Next, Summer 2001, p. 69.

Federal Legislation

  • No Child Left Behind Act
  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
  • OERI
  • Parental Choice Legislation
  • Appropriations/Budget

Supreme Court Decision

  • Landmark case found the Cleveland voucher program constitutional.
  • 4,000 students, $2250 voucher to private or religious schools.
  • Neutral with respect to religion.
  • Provides "genuine choice" to parents.
  • Existing Parental Choice

    38 states and the District of Columbia have enacted charter school laws. As of fall 2001, more than 2,300 charter schools nationwide were serving over half a million children

    10 states have publicly sponsored private school choice programs, from vouchers to tax credits.

  • What This Means

    Decision will give poor children in failing schools the option to attend a quality school.

    Open the system to competition and diversity.

    Improve education for all children.



Krista Kafer
Krista Kafer

Former Senior Education Policy Analyst