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Selected Findings: 2008–09

  • Public elementary and secondary schools had 49.3 million students in membership3 in school year 2008–09 (table 1). This was a decrease of less than 0.1 percent from student membership in school year 2007–08 (Noel and Sable 2010, table 1).
  • Summing across grades, 34.4 million students were enrolled in prekindergarten through grade 8 and ungraded classes; 14.9 million students were enrolled in grades 9–12 in the 2008–09 school year (derived from table 1).
  • When examining students for whom race/ethnicity was reported in the 2008–09 school year,4 54.9 percent were White; 21.5 percent were Hispanic; 17.0 percent were Black; 5.0 percent were Asian/Pacific Islander; and 1.2 percent were American Indian/Alaska Native (table 2). For the six states that reported such data, 0.5 percent of students were "Two or more races." The percentage of students who were White decreased from 55.8 percent in school year 2007–08 (Noel and Sable 2010, table 2).
  • In school year 2008–09, public elementary and secondary schools and local education agencies employed a total of 6.3 million full-time-equivalent (FTE) staff (table 3). This was an increase of 1.8 percent from the number of FTE staff employed in school year 2007–08 (Noel and Sable 2010, table 3).
  • Of the FTE staff in the 2008–09 school year, 50.9 percent were teachers; 15.3 percent were instructional aides, instructional coordinators and supervisors, guidance counselors/directors, or librarians; and 23.4 percent were student and other support staff. School or district administrators were 3.5 percent of staff and 6.9 percent were administrative support staff (derived from table 3).
  • The student/teacher ratio in public schools in school year 2008–09 was 15.3 (i.e., there were about 15 students for every FTE teacher employed) (table 4). The ratio ranged from a high of 23.7 in Utah to a low of 10.5 in Vermont. The elementary student/teacher ratio was 19.2, while the secondary student/teacher ratio was 12.1.
  • The category of other instructional and student support includes instructional aides, instructional coordinators and supervisors, librarians, library support, and student support services staff. In the 2008–09 school year, there were about 42.7 students for every instructional and student support staff member (table 4).

3 Membership is the number of students enrolled on October 1 of the school year.

4 Race/ethnicity was reported for 98.8 percent of the total student membership.


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