National News Roundup

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Total education spending in the United States during the 1991-92 school year will hit a record $414 billion, a 5.5 percent increase over last year, the U.S. Education Department predicts in its annual back-to-school forecast.

For their part, elementary and secondary schools--public and private--are expected to spend about $249 billion this year, up 5 percent from the $237 billion they spent in 1990-91.

Per-pupil spending in public elementary and secondary schools (including current expenditures, capital outlays, and interest payments on school debt) is expected to reach a high of $5,961 this school year, up $213 from $5,748 last year. In constant 1990-91 dollars, however, the figure is $5,702, a decrease from last year's figure, and the first decrease in recent memory.

Elementary and secondary school enrollment is expected to total 46.8 million, up from 46.2 million last year. Most of the increase will come in elementary enrollment, which should climb 500,000 to 34.3 million. Secondary enrollment is expected to increase only slightly, from 12.4 million to 12.5 million.

The department also reports that more parents are sending their children to preschool. Enrollment of 3- and 4-year-olds grew 44 percent--from 2.3 million to 3.3 million between 1980-81 and 1990-91.

College enrollment continues to increase, fueled largely by a jump in the number of students over age 24. Students in that age group increased from 4.5 million in 1980 to 6.0 million in 1990, the report says. The report also predicts that:

Most precollege enrollment growth is expected in the West, with only slight increases elsewhere.

  • The average public-school teacher will earn $34,814 this year, approximately 5 percent more than last year. Adjusted for inflation, the figure is $33,301.
  • One in four Americans will be involved in education as a student, teacher, administrator, or support-staff member.
  • Some 2.4 million students will graduate from high school, down from 2.5 million last year.

The 1990-91 school year saw 229 incidents in which groups tried to remove or restrict learning materials in the public schools, a 20 percent increase over the previous year, according to a report released by a national advocacy group last week.

The report, "Attacks on the Freedom to Learn," was the ninth annual summation compiled by People For the American Way, and officials of the liberal watchdog organization said it found more censorship attempts last year than in any previous year.

Incidents were documented in 45 states, with the Western region slightly leading the Midwest and Southern United States in censorship attempts.

Most often targeted was the whole-language reading series "Impressions," but other materials attracting the censors' attentions included Little Red Riding Hood, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Grapes of Wrath, and even Webster's Ninth Collegiate Dictionary for defining allegedly profane words.

According to the report, fully one-third of the requests for removal of materials were successful to some point.

Vol. 11, Issue 01, Page 1

Published in Print: September 4, 1991, as National News Roundup
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