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Chapter 2: Preprimary, Elementary, and Secondary Education Participation

This chapter examines characteristics of students in preprimary, elementary, and secondary education. Indicator 5 focuses on care arrangements for children under 6 years old who were not enrolled in kindergarten. In 2012, rates of participation in center-based care were higher for Black (34 percent), Asian (33 percent), and White children (29 percent) than for Hispanic children (22 percent).

Indicator 6 looks at components of elementary and secondary enrollment in schools. The racial/ethnic distribution of public school students, which includes students in both traditional public schools and public charter schools, has changed over time. Between fall 2003 and fall 2013, the percentage of students enrolled in public elementary and secondary schools decreased for students who were White (from 59 to 50 percent) and Black (from 17 to 16 percent). In contrast, the percentage increased for students who were Hispanic (from 19 to 25 percent) and Asian/Pacific Islander (from 4 to 5 percent) during the same time period. The shares of Black and Hispanic students in public charter schools (27 and 30 percent, respectively) were greater than the shares of Black and Hispanic students in traditional public schools (15 and 25 percent, respectively). However, the shares of White and Asian/Pacific Islander students in public charter schools (35 and 4 percent, respectively) were less than the shares of White and Asian/Pacific Islander students in traditional public schools (51 and 5 percent, respectively).

Indicators 7 and 8 explore the demographics of children who may require special services in order to address their disabilities or the challenges they face in learning English. In 2014, about 4.7 million public school students participated in English language learner (ELL) programs. Hispanic students made up the majority of this group with around 3.6 million participants (Indicator 7). The percentages of Hispanic (29 percent), Asian (20 percent), and Pacific Islander (15 percent) students participating in ELL programs were higher than the average percentage of students participating in these programs in 2014 (9 percent). In 2013–14, the percentage of students served under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was highest for American Indian/Alaska Native students (17 percent), followed by Black students (15 percent), White students (13 percent), students of Two or more races (12 percent), Hispanic students (12 percent), Pacific Islander students (11 percent), and Asian students (6 percent) (Indicator 8).