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ERIC Number: ED528710
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Jan
Pages: 84
Abstractor: ERIC
A Public Education Primer: Basic (and Sometimes Surprising) Facts about the U.S. Educational System. 2012 Revised Edition
Kober, Nancy; Usher, Alexandra
Center on Education Policy
Public education matters, whether you're a student, parent, teacher, administrator, employer, or taxpayer. Although you undoubtedly know something about public education, you may be unaware of important facts about the U.S. educational system or may be surprised to learn how things have changed in recent years. This edition of "A Public Education Primer" updates and expands on the version originally published by the Center on Education Policy in 2006 (ED528711). Like the first publication, this revised edition pulls together recent data about students, teachers, school districts, schools, and other aspects of elementary and secondary education in the U.S. Included are facts and figures on the distribution of students, student demographics, educational entities and their responsibilities, funding, student achievement, teachers, and other school services. As much as possible, the data compiled here come from the federal government--primarily the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the data-gathering arm of the U.S. Department of Education. Where NCES data are not available, the authors have carefully chosen data from other reliable sources. This primer is meant to give an overall snapshot of elementary and secondary education in the nation's public schools. In general, the authors have used data for the most recent year available. In many cases, these recent data are compared with data from ten years earlier or with future projections to show how things have changed or are expected to change. A few indicators, such as those relating to student achievement, show trends going back two or more decades to provide a historical perspective. The data in this report represent national averages. The experiences, trends, and issues in your local community may vary somewhat from the broad picture presented here. The hope is that this primer will provide you with sufficient background information about public education to encourage your interest in education issues and your involvement in your local schools. [For the 2006 edition, "A Public Education Primer: Basic (and Sometimes Surprising) Facts about the U.S. Education System," see ED528711.]
Center on Education Policy. 1001 Connecticut Avenue NW Suite 522, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-822-8065; Fax: 202-822-6008; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Spencer Foundation; George Gund Foundation; Phi Delta Kappa International
Authoring Institution: Center on Education Policy
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: ACT Assessment; National Assessment of Educational Progress; Program for International Student Assessment; Progress in International Reading Literacy Study; SAT (College Admission Test); Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study