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|This article was originally published as a Statistical Analysis Report. The universe data are primarily from the following two components of the NCES Common Core of Data (CCD): "Public Elementary/Secondary School Universe Survey" and "Local Education Agency Universe Survey." Technical notes, definitions, and supplemental tables from the original report have been omitted.|
This report summarizes information about public elementary and secondary schools and local education agencies in the United States during the 200001 school year. The information is provided by state education agencies through the Common Core of Data (CCD) survey system.
Types of Public Schools and Agencies
States reported 93,273 public elementary/secondary schools in the 200001 school year (table A).1 This was an increase of almost 7.1 percent over the more than 87,125 schools reported 5 years earlier, in the fall of 1995.2 Most of these were regular schools, those that offer a comprehensive curriculum and may provide other programs and services as well. A smaller number of schools focused primarily on special education, vocational/technical education, or alternative programs. Students in these specialized schools were often enrolled in a regular school as well and were reported as part of the membership of that regular school (table A).
Among the schools that reported students in membership, 93 percent were regular schools (derived from table 1). The second largest category with student membership was that of alternative education schools (4 percent), followed by special education schools (almost 2 percent). Note that two-thirds of the vocational schools identified in table A, as well as smaller proportions of other types of schools, do not appear in table 1 because no students were reported in membership for these schools.
Most local education agencies are those that are typically thought of as "school districts." Operated by a local school board, they provide instructional services for students and comprised 88 percent of local agencies in 200001 (table 2). A smaller proportion, 8 percent, were supervisory unions or regional education service agencies whose major responsibility is to offer administrative, special program, testing, or other services to school districts. Finally, around 5 percent of the reported agencies were operated directly by a state or federal government or were other than any of the preceding categories. The number of regular school districts increased by less than 1 percent from the 14,766 reported in 1995 to a total of 14,859 in 200001.
The governance of charter schools varies from state to state. In some cases, they are not considered under the administration of the regular public school district within whose boundaries they operate and are reported on the CCD with a separate education agency associated with each charter school. When this occurs, these agencies are reported under the category of "other education agency." For example, in the District of Columbia the establishment of 33 charter schools explains why the District is shown with 34 total agencies in table 2.
|Table A.Public elementary and secondary schools in the United States: 2000-01 |
NOTE: Totals include the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), "Public Elementary/Secondary School Universe Survey," 2000-01.
In the 200001 school year, 90,640 public schools provided instruction to 47.2 million students in the United States (table 1), an increase of less than 1 percent from the 46.9 million students in 1999 (Hoffman 2001, table 1). Five states (California, Florida, Illinois, New York, and Texas) each enrolled more than 2 million students in their public schools. At the other end of the size distribution, the District of Columbia and Wyoming reported fewer than 100,000 students.
Most of the 200001 students, 98 percent, were reported enrolled in regular schools. One percent were in alternative schools. Special education or vocational schools each accounted for less than one-half of 1 percent of students. Kansas, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and Oklahoma reported operating only regular schools.
Schools come in all combinations of grades. To allow comparisons across states, instructional level is determined in this report by the lowest and highest grade in a school. Among the 90,640 schools with membership during the 200001 school year, 58 percent spanned the primary grades, beginning with prekindergarten or kindergarten and going no higher than grade 8 (table 3). Middle schools, those with grade spans ranging from as low as grade 4 to as high as grade 9, made up 17 percent of schools with students. High schools (low grade of 7 or higher, high grade of 12) accounted for an additional 19 percent of schools. Some 6 percent of schools had a grade configuration that did not fit into any of these three categories.
A total of 14,514 regular school districts reported students in membership for 200001 (table 4). As with the instructional level of schools, grade span categories were assigned by the lowest and highest grades offered. Approximately 74 percent of school districts included the range of grades from prekindergarten or kindergarten to grade 9 or higher, and these districts accounted for 92 percent of all public school students. (In fact, only in Illinois, Montana, and Vermont did as many as one-third of the students attend school districts with other grade spans.) A little more than 5 percent of students were in districts with no grade higher than 8, and about 2 percent were in secondary districts with no grade lower than 7. Less than 1 percent of students were enrolled in districts with some other range of grades.
School and School District Size
Primary schools tended to be smaller than middle and high schools (table 5). The average number of students in a primary school was 443 in 200001. Middle schools served, on the average, 605 students each while the average-size high school had 751 students. There was considerable range in school size across the states. High schools ranged from an average of fewer than 300 students in Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota to more than 1,400 students in Florida and Hawaii.
Student/teacher ratios were higher in primary schools, which had a median number of 16.0 students for each teacher, than in high schools, with a median number of 14.8 students per teacher (table 6). (The median is the point at which half the schools had larger student/teacher ratios and half had smaller. Note also that student/teacher ratio is not the same as average class size, since not all teachers are assigned to a classroom.) The median number of primary students for each teacher ranged from a low of fewer than 13.0 in Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming to a high of 21.0 or more in Kentucky and Utah.
Twenty-four school districts enrolled 100,000 or more students, while 1,794 districts served fewer than 150 students (table 7). While few in number, the larger districts included a considerable portion of the students in America's schools. Although less than 2 percent of school districts reported 25,000 or more students, almost one-third (32 percent) of students attended school in these districts. At the other end of the size range, more than one-third of school districts had fewer than 600 students but these districts accounted for only 3 percent of public school enrollment.
Other School Characteristics
The majority of schools, 57 percent, were in large or midsize cities or their accompanying urban fringe areas (table 8). These schools accounted for more than two-thirds (69 percent) of all public school students. About 1 of every 6 students was in a large city school in 200001; a smaller proportion, about 1 in 10, attended a rural school that was not within the fringes of an urban area.
Table 9 shows the number of Title I eligible schools by state, and the number of these schools that have schoolwide Title I programs. Seven states did not indicate which of their schools were eligible for Title I services. Among those states that could provide this information, the District of Columbia, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota reported that more than 7 out of 10 public school students were in Title I eligible schools. Within the states identifying schools with schoolwide Title I programs, more than half of the students were enrolled in these schools in the District of Columbia, Mississippi, and Texas.
States were asked to identify magnet schools. Thirty-nine states (including the District of Columbia) were able to report magnet school information (table 9). Of these, 21 states had at least one magnet school, 2 states reported no magnet schools, and an additional 16 reported that magnet schools were not administered in their state. California and Illinois reported the greatest number of magnet schools, 447 and 372, respectively. Illinois served 13 percent of its students in magnet schools; in California, the figure was 9 percent.
Thirty-seven states (including the District of Columbia) recognized charter schools in 200001. Of this group, 35 reported that one or more charter schools were in operation (table 9). The number of schools ranged from a single charter school in Maine and Mississippi to more than 300 in Arizona and California. In four states, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, and Michigan, charter schools enrolled more than 2 percent of all public school students.
Student Program Participation and Selected Characteristics
Nationally, 13 percent of public school students had special education Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) in 200001 (table 10). Among those states reporting students with IEPs, the proportion ranged from less than 10 percent in Colorado to more than 19 percent in New Mexico and Rhode Island.
Some 39 states (including the District of Columbia) reported the number of students who were English language learners and receiving services for limited English proficiency (LEP). In California, there were 1.5 million LEP service recipients (one-fourth of all students) in 200001, while Texas reported more than half a million students (14 percent) receiving LEP services.
Thirty-three states (including the District of Columbia) provided information about the number of migrant students enrolled during the 19992000 school year or the following summer. Because a single migrant student may enroll in several schools during the year, this is a duplicated count of students. Therefore, table 10 cannot estimate the proportion of students who were migrants. The greatest number of migrant students served, almost 294,000 when regular school year and summer program participants were combined, was reported by California.
All but five states reported the number of students eligible for free or reduced-price meals. More than half of all students were eligible for this program in the District of Columbia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and West Virginia. The largest numbers of students eligible for free or reduced-price meals were in California and Texas, with 2.8 and 1.8 million eligible students, respectively.
Table 11 shows the distribution of minority students (all groups except White, non-Hispanic) across cities, urban fringe areas, and small towns or rural communities in 200001. A majority, 62 percent, of students in large or midsize city schools were minority students, while only 20 percent of students in small town and rural schools were. Three-fourths or more of students were minority group members in the large or midsize city schools of the District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York. Small town and rural schools tended to have smaller proportions of minority students, but this was not the case for all states. In the small town and rural schools of Arizona, Hawaii, Mississippi, and New Mexico, half or more of the students were minority group members. (The District of Columbia is not included in this list because it operates a single school outside the District's boundaries.)
1CCD respondents include the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Dependents Schools, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and five outlying areas (American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands). Totals in this report are limited to the 50 states and the District of Columbia, referred to collectively as "the states."
2Comparisons with 1995 are based on tables 87 and 88 in the Digest of Education Statistics: 2000 (Snyder and Hoffman 2001).
Hoffman, L.M. (2001). Overview of Public Elementary Schools and Districts: School Year 19992000 (NCES 2001339). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.
Snyder, T.D., and Hoffman, C.M. (2001). Digest of Education Statistics: 2000 (NCES 2001034). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.