U.S. Education in 2017 in 10 Charts
Numbers can sometimes explain an issue better even than words. The charts, graphs, maps, and visualizations below all feature data that were released this year and convey some big takeaways about U.S. schools, students, and teachers in 2017.
1. U.S. Education Is a 'C' Student
Every January, the Education Week Research Center grades the nation and states on educational performance, based on a range of key indicators. The nation scored a 74.2 in 2017 and the majority of states (34) landed grades between C-minus and C-plus.
2. Disparities Continue to Plague U.S. Schools
Federal data from June showed a continuing deep gulf between the educational experiences of traditionally disadvantaged student groups and their peers on a broad range of indicators. Among the findings: High schools with higher levels of black and Latino enrollment are less likely to offer high-level math and science classes.
• Disparities Continue to Plague U.S. Schools, Federal Data Show
3. Black Students Are More Likely to Attend Schools With Police and Be Arrested at School
In 43 states and the District of Columbia, black students are arrested at school at disproportionately high levels, an Education Week Research Center analysis from January found. One reason may be that African-American students are more likely than any other students to be in schools with police.
4. Most Schools Named for the Obamas Are Segregated
In January, Education Week looked at the 19 schools named after former president Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama. More than 90 percent of students who attend the namesake schools are black and Latino. Fewer than 4 percent are white.
• 19 Schools Are Named for the Obamas. Most of Them Are Segregated
5. Some Inequities Are Hidden, Like the Effect of Parent Income
Parents who earn $75,000 a year are more likely than parents at the low end of the income scale to volunteer in school, attend school meetings, or move so that their children can attend a better school, according to data gathered by Education Week in April. And that can make a difference for their children: Parents who speak up tend to get what they ask for.
6. The Teaching Force Is Still Mostly White and Female
Teachers tend to be white, female, and have nearly a decade and a half of classroom experience, according to the most recent statistics from the U.S. Department of Education in August. But there are signs that the nation’s teaching force is gradually growing more diverse.
7. Many Educators Are Skeptical of School Choice, Including Conservatives
School choice may be U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ favorite policy topic. But an Education Week nationally representative survey released in December indicated that classroom teachers, principals, and district superintendents are highly skeptical of vouchers, charter schools, and tax-credit scholarships. And that includes many who voted for President Donald Trump.
8. When It Comes to Ed Tech: Four Tech Titans Dominate, and Google Most of All
Within school districts, the clout of Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon is undeniable. That was one finding in a nationwide survey of educators and administrators released by EdWeek Market Brief in May. The survey also showed that educators and administrators hold Google’s products in high regard and, among school-issued devices, Chromebooks rank highest.
9. The Nation’s School Buildings Are 44 Years Old, on Average
School facilities are the literal foundation for the learning that takes place every day in some 13,000 school districts large and small. They were also the subject of a special report released in November that included data from a variety of sources on the age of school buildings and how well they’re holding up.
(These numbers came from a variety of sources, including the U.S. Department of Education, and a 2016 joint report from the 21st Century School Fund, the National Council on School Facilities, and the Center for Green Schools.)
• Special Report: The New Schoolhouse: Building Facilities That Work
10. U.S. Graduation Rates Reached a Record High, and People Are Cautiously Optimistic
U.S. graduation rates reported by the federal government in December showed U.S. students are graduating at record numbers for the fifth year in a row, with improvements for students of different racial and language backgrounds, as well as those in poverty or with disabilities.
• Data: U.S. Graduation Rates by State and Student Demographics
• What's Behind the Record Rises in U.S. Graduation Rates?
• Who Gets Hurt When High School Diplomas Are Not Created Equal?