The Condition of US Education: Fewer Dropouts, Higher Poverty and ELL Students

The Condition of US Education: Fewer Dropouts, Higher Poverty and ELL Students

WHAT CONDITION OUR EDUCATION IS IN: In 2014, 91 percent of 25- to 29-year-olds in the US finished high school, and 34 percent had a bachelor's or more advanced degree. These macro-level stats lead off "The Condition of Education 2015," a report from the US Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences loaded with stats that will find their way into policy debates and countless company pitch decks.

The report offers over 300 pages of tables and charts for 42 key indicators, offering a mixed bag of the progresses and challenges confronting US education. A few of the big findings:

More students are living in poverty than before: 21 percent of 5- to 17-year-olds in 2013 were in families living in poverty, up from 15 percent in 2000 and 17 percent in 1990. 38 percent of Black males, and 33 percent of Hispanic males, were living in poverty in 2012, versus 12 percent for White and Asian males. "Living in poverty during early childhood is also associated with lower than average rates of school completion," says the report's authors.

Socioeconomics matter: Only 14 percent of students from low socioeconomic background got a bachelor's degree within 8 years of finishing high school, versus 29 percent for those in the middle tier.

Fewer "status" dropouts: The percentage of 16- to 24-year-olds who are not enrolled in school and have not finished high school dropped from 12 percent in 1990 to 7 percent in 2013. But Hispanic dropout rates (12 percent) are higher than those of students in other ethnic groups.

Charter schools on the rise: There were 6,100 charter schools in 2012-13, up from 1,500 in 1999-2000. Student enrollment jumped from 0.3 million to 2.3 million during this period.

ELL expanding: 9.2 percent of public school students were English language learners in 2012-13, up from 8.7 percent in 2002-03. In California, ELL students make up 22.8 percent of public school students in 2012-13.

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