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Executive Summary

Characteristics of Schools

Racial/Ethnic Concentration and Poverty in Schools

In 201011, over 49 million students were enrolled in public elementary and secondary schools. Enrollment patterns for males and females were similar within racial/ethnic groups. Looking at enrollment patterns by students' race/ethnicity, 84 percent of White students attended a predominantly White school (a school where at least 50 percent of the students were White), 46 percent of Black students attended a predominantly Black school, 56 percent of Hispanic students attended a predominantly Hispanic school, 12 percent of Asians attended a predominantly Asian school, 13 percent of Pacific Islander students attended a predominantly Pacific Islander school, and 23 percent of American Indian/Alaska Native students attended a predominantly American Indian/Alaska Native school. Other racial/ethnic patterns include higher enrollment at high-poverty schools for Black (41 percent), Hispanic (38 percent), and American Indian/Alaska Native students (31 percent) than for Pacific Islander (19 percent), two or more races (16 percent), Asian (15 percent), and White students (6 percent).

Figure 2. Percentage of students in low- and high-poverty public elementary and secondary schools, by race/ethnicity and sex: School year 201011

Adequate Yearly Progress and Special Schools

In 200809, some 60 percent of public school students attended a school that met adequate yearly progress (AYP), an individual state's measure toward achieving state academic standards based on criteria contained in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Reauthorization. No measurable differences in school AYP status were found between males and females (overall or by race/ethnicity). However, racial/ethnic differences were observed. Higher percentages of Black (46 percent), Hispanic (48 percent), Asian/Pacific Islander (40 percent), and American Indian/Alaska Native students (40 percent) than White students (33 percent) attended schools that did not meet AYP. The percentage of students attending schools that did not meet AYP was similar for males and females (both overall and within each racial/ethnic group), although it did vary by race/ethnicity.

In 201011, nearly all students (98 percent) in public elementary and secondary schools in the United States attended regular public schools, 1 percent attended alternative schools,1 and less than 1 percent each attended special education schools and vocational education schools. About 4 percent each of students attended charter schools and magnet schools, most of which were also classified as regular schools. At alternative schools ending in grade 12, males enrolled at higher rates than females did both overall and within each racial/ethnic group studied.

High School Guidance Counseling

In 2009, about 48 percent of 9th-graders had high school guidance counselors who reported that the counseling program's primary goal was to help students plan and prepare for postsecondary education, and 35 percent had counselors who reported that the primary goal was to help students improve their achievement in high school. No measurable differences were found between male and female 9th-graders (overall or within racial/ethnic groups) for either of the primary counseling goals. However, a higher percentage of Asian 9th-graders (60 percent) than Black (44 percent), Hispanic (41 percent), and American Indian/Alaska Native 9th-graders (29 percent) had counselors who reported that the primary counseling program goal was helping students plan and prepare for postsecondary education. Among male 9th-graders, higher percentages of Asians (56 percent) and Whites (51 percent) than Hispanics (38 percent) attended schools in which the counseling program's primary goal was postsecondary planning and preparation.

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1 An alternative school is a public elementary/secondary school that (1) addresses needs of students that typically cannot be met in a regular school, (2) provides nontraditional education, (3) serves as an adjunct to a regular school, or (4) falls outside the categories of regular, special education, or vocational education.

  
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