The end of the Civil War in the United States brought about a period of intensive reconstruction. Part of that effort included a desire to improve educational opportunities for all families. All states had tax-subsidized elementary schools by 1870, making Americans one of the most literate groups in the world at the time. The first public high school started in Boston in 1821, and public secondary schools finally outnumbered private institutions by 1900.
34 states had compulsory schooling laws by 1900, but only four of them were in the South. These rules meant that 72% of kids were attending school by 1910. By 1918, every state required students to complete elementary school.
Although educational opportunities continue to increase because of the education industry, the cost of teaching keeps rising. The amount spent per pupil through secondary school averaged $12,201 during FY 2017, which is 3.7% higher than the year before. Total revenues from all sources reached $694 billion, which was an increase of 3.4% from 2016.
Essential Education Industry Statistics
#1. Educational services in the United States provides an industry contribution of $2 trillion to the economy each year in revenues. There are over 1.3 million active businesses currently in this space. (IBIS World)
#2. The average rate of growth since 2013 for the education industry is 1.2%, with over 12 million people finding employment opportunities in the 13 sub-sectors found throughout the U.S. economy. (IBIS World)
#3. 90% of the revenues generated by the education industry in the United States come from operators in public or private schools, community colleges, non-profit colleges and universities, and for-profit institutions. (IBIS World)
#4. There are more than 132,000 public schools operating at the K-12 grade level in the United States, with over 88,000 of them listed as being an elementary school. (National Center for Education Statistics)
#5. Although charter schools are often a topic of controversy in the education industry, there were only 7,000 of them operating in the United States during the 2016-2017 school year. There are 5 times as many private schools offering services. (Education Week)
#6. There are only 2,500 junior high schools in public school districts operating in the United States. (Education Week)
#7. The average public school in the United States has an enrollment of 528 students, which is 8 kids higher in 2019 than it was in 2011. (National Center for Education Statistics)
#8. Suburban schools see the highest enrollment numbers, averaging 656 students per location in 2016. Urban students went to schools with an average attendance of 591. Rural institutions had an average enrollment rate of 358 students. (Education Week)
#9. Only 1 out of every 5 public schools in the United States offered at least one course that was entirely online. Out of that number, about 5% of the institutions provided all of their courses online for their students. (National Center for Education Statistics)
#10. The largest public school district in the United States is in New York City, which manages a total enrollment of almost 1 million students. The Los Angeles Unified School District comes in second with 639,000 students. Chicago (387,000), Miami (357,000), and Las Vegas (325,000) round out the top 5. (National Center for Education Statistics)
#11. Superintendents stay in their position for an average of six years when they manage a school district for a large city. (Broad Center)
#12. New York spends the most per student in the United States at $23,091 per pupil. The District of Columbia spends $21,974 per child. Connecticut ($19,322), New Jersey ($18, 920), and Vermont ($18,290) round out the top 5 for the 2017 figures. (U.S. Census Bureau)
#13. The 5 schools with the highest spending per pupil in 2017 were located in New York City, Boston, Baltimore, Montgomery County, MD, and Howard County, MD. 40% of the most expensive public schools in the United States are located in Maryland. (U.S. Census Bureau)
#14. New Mexico receives 14.4% of its revenues from the federal government, taking the lead in this statistic in the United States. Mississippi isn’t far behind at 14.1%. Additional leaders include Alaska (14%), Arizona (13.7%), and South Dakota (12.8%). (U.S. Census Bureau)
#15. New Jersey only receives 4.1% of its revenues from the federal government. Massachusetts and Connecticut only receive 4.3% in this statistic. (U.S. Census Bureau)
#16. The average starting teacher salary in the United States was only $39,000 for the 2017-2018 school year, which was over $12,000 below the national median income. Instructors in Oklahoma had the lowest pay as a first-year employee, earning an average of $32,010. Missouri didn’t pay much better at $32,226. (National Education Association)
#17. There is a racial disparity in the graduation rates found in the United States. Students from a white, non-Hispanic household graduate at an 85% rate. Asians and Pacific Islanders graduate at a rate of 78%, while Hispanics and African-Americans are graduating at a 72% rate. (Education Week)
#18. About 3.2 million teachers are working at schools in the United States. They receive support from about 90,000 principals. (Education Week)
#19. 76% of the teachers working in America’s public schools are women, and 80% of the employees are white. That means the instructors in the United States look very different from the student population they’re trying to help. (National Center for Education Statistics)
#20. Only 0.4% of teachers in the United States list themselves as being an Alaska Native or an American Indian. That’s even higher than the 0.2% who say that they are a Pacific Islander or a native Hawaiian. (Education Week)
#21. The average principal in the United States earns $95,000 per year, or roughly $30,000 more than a teacher. Men are also twice as likely to work in this position compared to their role as a classroom instructor. (National Center for Education Statistics)
#22. During the 2018-2019 school year, the average teacher-to-student ratio in the United States was 16:1. The lowest ratio was found in Vermont, where it was only 10.5:1. California had the highest rate, with a ratio of 23.9:1. (National Center for Education Statistics)
#23. Global private tutoring contributes another $1 billion to the American education industry each year. The rate of growth in this segment has averaged 3.1% since 2014. (IBIS World)
#24. There are over 3,000 businesses providing tutoring services right now, employing about 35,000 people directly. Options include test preparation, admission exams, summer classes, and make-up work. (IBIS World)
#25. 90% of the global private tutoring market occurs in the U.S., Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region, with a total value of $102 billion. Over $14 billion, or roughly 15% of the entire market, is in South Korea. (Forbes)
#26. The United States invested $134 million into private enrichment programs for low-income students in 2011 to help fill in the gaps left behind by fewer at-school tutoring opportunities. (Forbes)
#27. Despite the significant investments into the American educational system, there isn’t a single category where students are at or above being NAEP proficient in the United States. Only three categories are above 40%: Grade 12 economics (42%), Grade 4 Mathematics (41%), and Grade 8 STEM literacy (46%). (Nation’s Report Card)
#28. Only 12% of Grade 12 students are NAEP proficient in U.S. history. That figure is significantly low for Grade 4 (20%) and Grade 8 (18%) students. (Nation’s Report Card)
#29. Just 25% of Grade 12 students rated at or above NAEP proficient in mathematics. (Nation’s Report Card)
#30. Only one-third of students coming through the American public school system are at or above NAEP proficient in reading. Grade 12 (37%) has the highest percentage, followed by Grade 4 (35%) and Grade 8 (34%). (Nation’s Report Card)
#31. About 7 million students are currently receiving services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in the United States. This figure represents 14% of the total student base. (National Center for Education Statistics)
#32. 34% of the students who receive special education services in American public schools have a specific learning disability, making it the most common reason to receive attention in this area. 19% of students have a language or speech impairment. Autism is found in 10% of the individuals being served by the 1975 law. (National Center for Education Statistics)
#33. American Indian and Alaska Native students are the most over-represented for special education needs, with 18% of the total student population for their demographic needing higher levels of assistance. Asians have a 7% representation in this category, making their demographic the least likely to require help. (National Center for Education Statistics)
#34. Boys (17%) are more likely to need special educational help at public schools than girls (9%) in the United States. (National Center for Education Statistics)
#35. Girls are more likely to have a specific learning disability that requires assistance in school (44%) than boys are (34%). (National Center for Education Statistics)
#36. The number of students under IDEA who spent most of the school day in general classes was highest for those with speech or language impairments (87%). It was the lowest for those with hearing impairments (62%). (National Center for Education Statistics)
#37. Special education teachers actually make less at $59,780 than almost any other educational category. The only instructors who make less than the median annual wage are vocational education teachers at $49,470. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
#38. Health specialties teachers have the highest median annual wage in the United States, earning over $90,000 per year at the K-12 level. Instructors in the post-secondary education industry earn an average wage of more than $105,000 annually. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Education Industry Trends and Analysis
There are approximately 51 million students attending a public school in the United States for the 2019-2020 school year. About 3 million kids are currently attending a charter school. Another 5.7 million attend private schools, with 1.68 million being homeschooled.
The education industry is one of the most stable institutions in the United States and around the world. Mandatory attendance laws mean that compliance occurs at high levels. With funding coming from property tax levies, federal grants, and similar resources, the goal is to provide safe classrooms and useful learning opportunities so that today’s children can become tomorrow’s leaders.
How do we ensure that the education industry can continue to thrive? By paying teachers more. American instructors might earn an average salary of $60,000 per year, but there are dramatic variations in pay when you compare states. There is a $40,000 difference between what a teacher in New York makes compared to one in Mississippi.
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