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Characteristics of Public, Private, and Bureau of Indian Education Elementary and Secondary Schools in the United States:
NCES 2009-321
June 2009

Selected Findings

  • In the 2007–08 school year, there were an estimated 119,150 K–12 schools in the United States: 87,190 traditional public, 3,560 public charter, 180 BIE-funded, and 28,220 private schools. Among these schools, 52 percent of traditional public, 55 percent of charter, 85 percent of BIE-funded, and 19 percent of private schools enrolled students receiving Title I services (table 1).

  • About 72 percent of all public elementary schools had students who were identified as limited-English-proficient (LEP). These students accounted for 14 percent of all students enrolled in elementary schools. Public secondary (7 percent) and combined (8 percent) schools had fewer LEP students enrolled than public elementary schools did (table 2).

  • The racial and ethnic composition of students enrolled in public schools was 58 percent non-Hispanic White, 20 percent Hispanic (regardless of race), 16 percent non-Hispanic Black, 4 percent Asian/Pacific Islander, and 1 percent American Indian/Alaska Native. Among private schools, the racial and ethnic composition was 74 percent non-Hispanic White, 10 percent non-Hispanic Black, 9 percent Hispanic (regardless of race), 6 percent Asian/Pacific Islander, and 1 percent American Indian/Alaska Native (table 3).

  • On average, 81 percent of 12th-graders graduated with a diploma in public schools in 2006–07. The average percent of 12th-graders in public schools who received a diploma was 86 percent in rural schools, 81 percent and 80 percent in schools located in suburban areas and towns, respectively, and 72 percent in urban schools (table 4).

  • Including full-time and part-time staff, public schools employed about 73,230 instructional coordinators, 81,670 librarians, 125,590 school counselors, and 361,730 student support services professional staff (nurses, psychologists, speech therapists or pathologists, and other student support services professional staff). Public schools also employed about 898,790 aides (regular Title I aides, English as a Second language (ESL) or bilingual teacher aides, special education aides, library media center aides, and other classroom aides), 269,350 secretaries and other clerical support staff, 401,310 food service personnel, and 369,210 custodial maintenance and security personnel (table 5).3

  • About 63 percent of public and 37 percent of private schools employed staff with academic specialist or coaching assignments. A higher percentage of public elementary schools had staff with academic specialist or coaching assignments (73 percent) compared to private elementary (37 percent), public secondary (42 percent), and combined public schools (46 percent) (table 6).


3 For estimates on principals and teachers, please refer to the Principal First Look (NCES 2009–323) and the Teacher First Look (NCES 2009–324), respectively.