Public Education in the United States

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Public Education in the United States According to the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) over 49.4 million students enrolled in public elementary and secondary schools for the 2011-2012 school year. Of these 34.9 will be in prekindergarten through eighth grade and 14.5 will be in grades nine through twelve. An additional 6 million students are expected to attend private schools (NCES, 2012). In 2009 55% of the students enrolled in public schools were White, 15% Black, 22% Hispanic, and 8% others. In 1989 these figures were 68% White, 17% Black, 11 % Hispanic, and 4% other (NCES, 2012). Although trends play out differently from state to state and region to region, increasingly students in the nation's classroom are more diverse by race and of Hispanic origin than in the past. The United States Census Bureau's population projections indicate students will become increasingly diverse in future years. The changing demographics have clear implications for schools, particularly concerning the education of English language learners (ELL). 18% of the nation's population age five and older speak a language other than English at home (Crouch, 2007). Another concern for educators is the impact of low socioeconomic status (SES) on education. Research indicates that children from low SES households and communities develop academic skills more slowly than their counterparts and their parents are less likely to have the financial resources or available time to provide
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