Skip Navigation

Digest of Education Statistics, 2000

Chat Host, Tom Snyder, Digest Editor Hello, and welcome to today's StatChat.The new Digest has recently been released in a fully web-enabled edition and I'm sure you have many questions. Let's get right to them.

Eleanore from Lubbock, TX asked:
Comment: I am a doctoral candidate studying the dropout phenomenon among Hispanic youth using NCES' NELS:88. I received a hard copy of the Digest several months ago, and have nothing but praise for the extraordinary amount of information contained in it. It has provided more than enough supportive data for the literature review and purpose of the study. I have also examined the online version of the Digest, and find it extremely helpful in finding those tables containing data that are most helpful to my research, especially when I am having difficulty finding the answers I seek in the hard copy. Thank you for a wonderful compilation of highly relevant information, in both hard copy and online versions!
Tom Snyder: Well this is a great way to start! Thanks for the great compliments Eleanore! I am glad that you find both the online and hard copy versions of the Digest helpful. The online edition now allows you to download worksheet files for all of the tables in the publication, to make it easier to do calculations and rankings. Plus, there are PDF versions of individual tables, or the whole publication, for clean printing. Thanks are also due to our webmaster, Jerry Malitz, who has given us a lot of encouragement to develop tools to find the data.

Edith Aguirre from Bronx NY asked:
How many K-12 children in the US attend public schools vs. private schools?
Tom Snyder: I have to start out with our most traditional questions first. Counts of students in private and public schools are traditional items in the Digest going back to the first edition in 1962. Table 1 has the numbers of students: 47 million in public schools and about 6 million in private schools.

Vance from Falls Church, VA asked:
Congratulations on a great job on the 2000 Digest. When do you expect to publish the 2001 Digest, Condition of Ed, and Projections?
Tom Snyder: Well, by way of introduction, and with reference to the previous question..This question comes from none other than Vance Grant who was among those who initiated the Digest back in 1962. Our schedule is to release the 2001 Condition on June 1, the Projections of Education Statistics to 2011 in mid-August, and the 2001 Digest on December 1.

Carole from Austin, Tx. asked:
Are there any statistics on the type of technology and how often it is used in the classroom?
Tom Snyder: We do collect statistics on use of technology in schools. For example, we have an annual report on internet use, which is highlighted in the Digest:
Also, we have more targeted reports: Teachers' Tools for the 21st Century: A Report on Teachers' Use of Technology We also have a general guide on use of technology in classrooms: Technology @ Your Fingertips: A Guide to Implementing Technology Solutions for Education Agencies and Institutions

Gene from Jackson, Mississippi asked:
Does all of the data that one finds in the Digest come from NCES surveys?
Tom Snyder: Gene, we do emphasize NCES data in the Digest, but we draw on surveys that help us provide a wide ranging view of the American education scene. We draw a lot on other federal agencies such as the Census Bureau for educational characteristics of the population, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics for labor statistics. Also, we use material from various international groups. We use only material that is nationally representative, and meets high statistical quality requirements.

Tom from SF, California asked:
I saw a previous answer talk about the Condition of Education. How does that publication differ from the Digest. It's a bit confusing with so many publications around.
Tom Snyder: NCES produces numerous reports every year, some years nearly 100 including various short format reports. We have nearly 100 surveys and survey components in process at any given time so this large number is not surprising. Among our more general reports the Condition and Digest are often confused. The Digest is intended to be a reference volume containing a wide variety of statistics, in highly detailed tables. State level and in some cases district and institutional data are presented. The Condition of Education is an indicator report that highlights specific measures of the condition of American education. Text and graphics are used to display every indicator. The Condition is issue based, while the Digest is a reference publication that generally remains constant in general content from year to year.

Gloria from Tallahassee, Florida asked:
Thank you for taking my questiion. What is your take on why adult graduate students (30 years and older) make the sacrifices to attend or return to graduate studies, especially in the field of education? Can you recommend previous studies that could help identify why these individuals often juggle the responsibilities of family, finances, employment and leisure to obtain graduate degrees?
Tom Snyder: Gloria, large numbers of people do make sacrifices to juggle full-time jobs, families, and further education. Reasons for the further education activities, might be career changes or advancement, or personal fulfillment. Within the teaching profession, the economic benefits are quite tangible. While practices vary among states and localities, teachers are generally paid on a grid system that factors in years of experience and level of education. Attainment of a postgraduate degree or certificate will generally bring some sort of automatic increase in salary.

Dot from NY, NY asked:
Do you have any data on 2-year and 4-year colleges and the value of attending one or the other?
Tom Snyder: Dot, we have a lot of information on two and 4 year colleges, ranging from enrollment statistics
to degree data: We have comparisons on salaries for associate and bachelor's degree holders at:
Hope this helps!

Meighan from Portland, OR asked:
Great job on the Digest, and REALLY great job on the website--it's one of the best functioning and organized sites I have found. Can you lead me to some stats regarding age groups and cognitive abilities? Especially regarding abilities using digital technologies and interactivities? thanks.
Tom Snyder: Thanks for the great compliments Meighan. I may end up pointing to a few of my favorite Digest tables more than once through this chat..there are some that are staples in the business... The best work I have seen on performance by age group is a student of adult literacy that is featured in the Digest at:
We also have some 1997 statistics on computer use at:
The material has suprised some by the relatively heavy use of computers by persons in older age groups. Many had thought computers much more likely to be used by very young people! And the type of applications they use is at:

Chuck from springfield, Illinois asked:
I'm really interested in finding finance information especially per pupil expenditures in different areas. Is this available?
Tom Snyder: Chuck, we normally only show the overall expenditure per pupil. However, thanks to the release of the worksheets on the web, you can compute per pupil amounts for all the detailed categories very easily after downloading the spreadsheet. You can get the detailed finances at:
and the enrollment at:
State tables are also available.

Martin from Washington, DC asked:
Why does NCES refuse to disaggregate NAEP scores for students with IEPs and report them to the public?
Tom Snyder: NCES does release the scores for the IEP students taking the NAEP. You can generate the data on the NAEP Summary Data Table tool on our website at:
We don?t generally analyze this material because it is not representative of all IEP students because about half of the IEP students are excluded from participating in NAEP. Examples of why students were excluded could be their impairment was too severe to take a test like NAEP, or that the accommodation necessary for the student to take the test was beyond the scope of the NAEP program. While the numbers are available, they have to be used with extreme caution.

John from Upper Marlboro, Md. asked:
Is there any interest in constructing a combined index to the Digest of Ed. , Condition of Ed and the projections publications? To some information professionals this seems like a good idea.
Tom Snyder: John, we don't have a published index for these publications together; however our online tool Encyclopedia of Education Statistics does work in this fashion. You can try it out from the Encyclopedia button from the NCES home page or go directly to:

Brittney from Memphis,TN asked:
Why is staying in school so important?
Tom Snyder: Many young people wonder why staying in school is important; it seems to take so long to complete and sometimes the payoff feels so remote. Aside from cultural and social advantages of knowing more about the world around you, there are major benefits in terms of jobs and salaries. Eight-one percent of the young college graduates are employed compared to 58 percent of the high school dropouts. Even for dropouts who do find jobs, their salaries are much lower. The advantages of higher levels of education are particularly important for women. Women with a bachelor?s degree earn an average of $17,000 more per year than those who graduated from high school, and those who graduated from high school earned more than $6,000 per year more than those who were dropouts.

NED from Baltimore, Maryland asked:
In the report I saw very little information on students with disabilities disaggregated. Is this because students with disabilities are in the aggregate and are viewed as having similar trends to the aggregate or is it due to a lack of national information on students with disabilities?
Tom Snyder: We do have some tables on disabled students. For example, Digest tables 53, 54, 56, and 59. A new edition to this year?s Digest was the table on number of special education schools by state (97). In some cases, such as for financial data, and some types of student characteristics and performance we don?t collect representative data for disabled students so we don?t generally present it. Also, we don?t want to entirely duplicate another great source of data on disabled students such as the Annual Report to Congress on IDEA, prepared by the Office of Special Education. You can download the report at:

Susan from Palm Beach Gardens, Fl asked:
It seems that education statistics are getting more and more "real-time;" that is, data is being collected, massaged and put up on the web much sooner than in the past. Are there any problem areas? And what is being done to insure and/or improve the timely release of statistics
Tom Snyder: Susan, getting statistics out to the public in a timely fashion has always been a challenge for statistics agencies. One of the problems has always been how to balance analysis of the data and releasing up-to-date, but pretty raw information. Analyzing the data takes a lot of time, and some people just need the latest number. Others want the data explained and the significance highlighted. One of the things we are doing to improve quality and timing is to collect statistics through the web. Respondents can have their data reviewed for consistency instantly and give feedback if their data are out of range, either verifying or changing it. Also, the data can then be immediately dumped into a database. Plus, the information can be collected in large volumes quickly without relying on a pool of telephone interviewers or keypunching a vast number of hard copy survey forms.

Paul Kimmelman from chicago, il asked:
How many Public School districts in the US?
Tom Snyder: There are 14,891 regular school districts in the United States. You can get some historical trends at:

i would like to know where i can find the statistics that would show the number of children placed in special education classes broken down by race
Tom Snyder: Mike, you also might want to refer to the Annual Report to Congress on IDEA, prepared by the Office of Special Education. They carry the racial/ethnic distribution of disabled students about every other year in their report. You can download the latest report at:
Earlier editions are also available online.

Ying from Boulder, CO asked:
The Digest is great! We use it a lot. Thanks for the good work. The web version is good, but I find it difficult not having a hard copy, because I use the information a lot. When is the paper version of the 2000 available? How can I obtain one? I am interested in some finance data. Do you have per student expenditure at public 4 year and 2 year institutions for each of the 50 states? Thanks.
Tom Snyder: Ying, the print version is now at the printer and should be ready next month or by the beginning of May. One of the trade-offs I didn't mention in a previous note is that we are now releasing publications on the web in advance of printing. Generally this results in wider availability because far more copies of publications are downloaded nowadays than printed! However, this does not always mean more convenient use.. We don't have the expenditure per student for 4 and 2 year colleges by state in the Digest. We have the data to do the public by state figures on tables 349, 350, and 202. The national figures (per student) are on:
Adding the 2 and 4 year public expenditures by state is a great idea. I will put that in the 2001 edition. Thanks for the idea!

Darlene Sowers from Clinton, Arkansas asked:
How many universities in the United States have teacher training programs?
Tom Snyder: Education programs are among the post popular in colleges and universities. More than 1,100 college have teacher training programs.

James from South Orange, New Jersey asked:
Hi, Tom__ Might your statistics 2000 reflect age group percentages for PK-12 public school teachers, and also age group percentages for the same population on computer literacy, comfort level in using computers? Thanks so much in advance for your consideration of this question. Jim
Tom Snyder: We do carry statistics on teacher?s use of technology and their feelings about how well they are prepared. Getting comparable data on other professions is a little tricky. However Digest table 423 has actual computer use statistics and type of use statistics for teachers as well as the rest of the employed population. Although the data are somewhat old at this point (1997), we do expect an update for 2000 in the 2001 Digest. When the last survey was done teachers were more likely to use computers at work than the general employed population, but less likely than the rest of the managerial/professional group of workers. See:

Marjorie Suckow from Sacramento, CA asked:
What is the total number of higher education institutions (2-yr, 4-yr, private and public) in the country?
Tom Snyder: Marjorie, There are 613 public 4-year institutions; 1075 public 2-year; 1,730 private 4-year and 652 private 2-year institutions. See table 245 for a historical trend:

Matthew from Alameda, Ca. asked:
can you tell me how many kids drop our of high school in 1998 in Alameda, solano, marin, contra costa, santa clara, san francisco, and san mateo county,all above counties are in california, thanks
Tom Snyder: Sorry Mathew, I don?t have the counts of dropouts for those school districts. However, our CCD data collection is working together with state officials on collecting them now. Digest table 90 has dropout rates for the larger districts in the country reporting data?however many districts are missing because their states are working on preparing data that are nationally comparable. In the meantime, I would look at the data prepared by the CA state education agency. Our CCD website has links to all of the state agencies at:

Miriam from Joplin, Missouri asked:
I appreciate your great job! I would like to know if the NCES data is always in accordance with states' data.
Tom Snyder: Miriam, thanks for the compliments. Your questions points out one of the problems with data collection. Education is a state and local responsibility and they have data systems in place that meet their needs. These systems are generally NOT consistent from state to state. We work with many groups of state officials to make sure the data collection instruments we use are the best compromise between national data needs, and abilities of states and localities to match those definitions. This often means that states must adjust their data to meet national definitions. The same thing happens when NCES reports data on the U.S. to international organizations! We have to make adjustments to the U.S. data to meet internationally definitions. Everybody has to make some compromises since nobody's definition exactly matches!

Steven from Bangor, ME asked:
The most recent data contained in the 2001 digest appears to be from two academic years ago (1998-1999). With increases in reporting technologies, do you foresee the digest containing information from the previous academic year?
Tom Snyder: Steven, we are working on making the Digest more up to date. We depend a lot on the timing of the survey used in the publication. Because there is a small staff that works year round, and there is a lengthy review period, we can't update all of the data in the book at the last minute. However, because of the advances in data collection, I do forsee improvements in making the data more up-to-date. For example, the IPEDS (postsecondary data) is retooling with a web collection. Many of the statistics that will appear in the 2001 edition, will have two new years of data rather than the usual one. Slow but steady improvements..

John from Upper Marlboro, Md. asked:
I like all of the NCES's products. Is there in the works, a one or two page summary of the top 20 statistical questions being asked by Ed customers?
Tom Snyder: John, We don't have a top 20 list exactly, but our FastFacts site was based on the most frequently asked questions to our information office. You can look over the questions in Fast Facts at:
I only have time for one or two more questions

Barbara from Baltimore, MD asked:
The Digest is one of the most important reports that NCES puts out, as it is used a lot in our work with doctoral programs. Is there a way that the Digest could add more data on charactersitics of doctorate recipients?
Tom Snyder: Barbara, we have one table on characteristics of the doctoral recipients, but a lot of detail on the types of degrees earned. I would appreciate any specific suggestions you might have. See:

Thanks for all of those excellent questions. I am sure some of them will have an impact on what goes into next years Digest. Unfortunately, I could not get to all of the questions, but you know how to reach me in case I missed yours. I hope that you found both this session and the report to be interesting. Thanks.