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State Profiles of Public Elementary and Secondary
Education, 1996-97State Profiles of Public Elementary and Secondary Education, 1996-97
IntroductionUS ProfileRanking of StatesState ProfilesItem DefinitionsAppendix

  Download, view and print the Introduction section as a pdf file
Download, view and print the Introduction section as a pdf file.
There are many people to thank for the development of this report. First, thanks go to the CCD Coordinators who collect and report much of this data to NCES. We wish to commend them for their efforts. Second, thanks go to the CCD team at NCES for painstakingly reviewing multiple drafts of this report to make sure we have everything right, they include Lee Hoffman, Frank Johnson, and of course, John Sietsema. Also, thanks go to Arnie Goldstein, Andy Kolstad, and Jeff Owings for volunteering to read this report in draft stage. This early review assisted in the quality and timeliness of the report. Special thanks also go to AIR staff who contributed to the development of this publication, particularly Andy Davis for his assistance in the identification of data sources.

The authors are grateful for the assistance of the following persons who reviewed the report and made valuable comments and suggestions. Reviewers from outside the U.S. Department of Education were Judith Thompson, Connecticut Department of Education; Steven King, Wyoming Department of Education, and Rolf Blank, Council of Chief State School Officers. From NCES the reviewers included: Steve Broughman, Michael Cohen, Arnie Goldstein, Andrew Kolstad, and Tom Snyder. Department of Education reviewers included: Patricia W. McNeil, Office of Vocational and Adult Education; Judy Holt, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services; Robin Bouckris, Planning and Evaluation Services; and staff from the Office of the Deputy Secretary/Budget Services.

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Examinations of the status and quality of education in the United States are often based on comparisons among states. Comparisons of this type are most useful, valid, and constructive when states are examined alongside other states with similar characteristics. It is also helpful to have a variety of factors that are important to public education conveniently arrayed for individual states. State Profiles of Public Elementary and Secondary Education, 1996-97 is the third in a series of publications reporting summary data on the general characteristics, fiscal revenues and expenditures, educational agency and school numbers and sizes, and students and staff for each state, the District of Columbia, Department of Defense Dependents Schools, and the five outlying areas—American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

The factors for which these data are reported are those most commonly used to present a thumbnail sketch of the resources, needs, organization, and special characteristics of education within a state. When available, equivalent data for the 1987/88 school year are presented side-by-side to help in the assessment of changes over a ten-year period. This information is displayed in numeric and graphic form to make it useful for a wide range of audiences and purposes.

This report is divided into three major sections:

  • U.S. Profile, summarizing the statistics across the 50 states and the District of Columbia on all variables;

  • Rankings of the States, consisting of a collection of tables depicting the relative position of the various states and the District of Columbia on selected variables; and

  • Profiles of the States and Outlying Areas, providing numeric and graphic information, listed alphabetically with Department of Defense dependents schools and the outlying areas appearing after the states.
Each profile presents five categories of relevant information:
  • General characteristics: demographic and fiscal characteristics of the state, as well as number of students, teachers and public schools.

  • Agency/school information: membership characteristics and sizes of schools and education agencies, grade levels in schools, and proportion of students and schools in different locales.

  • Student information: the numbers and ethnic backgrounds of students, the numbers of high school completers and dropouts, and achievement levels for students in selected grades.

  • Staff information: the numbers and proportions of instructional, support services, and administrative staff, average students to teacher ratios, salary information, and teacher characteristics.

  • Fiscal information: revenues and expenditures data for elementary and secondary education, as well as federal aid to education under selected programs.
Data items that were not reported by the state or otherwise not available are indicated by the special character —. Since the U.S. Profile displays aggregate information for the 50 states plus the District of Columbia, some of the data items include estimates for the non responding state(s). Where it was not advisable or feasible to estimate, the character — is used. For percentages, details may not add to 100 percent because of rounding.

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The major source of information used in this report was the Common Core of Data (CCD) survey for the 1987/88 and 1996/97 school years and 1988 and 1997 fiscal years. CCD is a comprehensive, annual, national statistical database of all public elementary and secondary schools and school districts, which contains data that are designed to be comparable across all states. CCD is the Department of Education's primary database on public elementary and secondary education in the United States.

Most of the data are obtained from administrative records maintained by the state education agencies. Statistical information is collected annually from public elementary and secondary schools (approximately 90,000 in 1996/97), public school districts (over 16,000 in 1996/97) and the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Department of Defense Schools, and the outlying areas. CCD comprises a set of five surveys sent to state education departments:

  • Public School Universe

    - information on all public elementary and secondary schools in operation during the school year including school location and type; enrollment by grade and student characteristics; and number of classroom teachers.

  • Local Education Agency (LEA) Universe

    - information for the universe of LEAs including name and address, location and organizational type, metropolitan status, number of students, and number of high school completers and dropouts in the previous year.

  • State Aggregate Nonfiscal Report

    - statewide totals of the numbers of students by grade, number of teachers, administrators, and other education staff, and numbers of high school graduates and completers.1

  • State Aggregate Fiscal Report

    - detailed data aggregated to the state level including average daily attendance, school district revenues by source and expenditures by function and object.1

  • School District Fiscal Data (F-33)

    - detailed data by school district, including enrollment, revenues by source and expenditures by function and object.

Additional information about the Common Core of Data including publications and data products may be obtained at

Other sources used in this report included information from NCES Schools and Staffing Survey, various issues of NCES Digest of Education Statistics, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 1996 Mathematics and Science Report Card for the Nation and the States, and several reports from the Bureau of the Census and Bureau of Economic Analysis. A detailed bibliographic reference list identifying the source of each data item is presented in the last section of this report.

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1. NCES imputes and adjusts some reported values in order to create a file that more accurately reflects students and staff counts in the nonfiscal report (and revenues and expenditures for each item in the fiscal report) and improves comparability between states. Imputations and adjustments are implemented to correct for item non response only and performed on the 50 states and the District of Columbia only. In the case of the State Aggregate Nonfiscal Report, no adjustments or imputations are made to high school graduates or other high school completer categories (except for New Jersey which in school year 1996/97 did not report any data). No adjustments or imputations are performed on race-ethnicity data for any state.

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