School & District Management News in Brief

Education Statistics: Facts About America’s Schools

By Maya Riser-Kositsky — January 15, 2019 1 min read

How many K-12 public schools, districts, and students are there? What does the American student population look like? And how much are we, as a nation, spending on the education of these youth? These data points can give perspective to the implications and potential impact of education policies. In a new online fact sheet, the Education Week library provides answers to these questions. Below are some highlights:


As of 2015-16, there are 132,853 K-12 schools in the U.S. Here’s how they break down:

Elementary schools: 88,665
Secondary schools: 26,986
Combined schools: 16,511
Other: 691 (Includes special education, alternative, and other schools not classified by grade span)


In America’s public schools there are 50.7 million students, based on federal projections for the fall of 2018. The 2015-16 school year was the first in which the majority of public schoolchildren were minorities. Here’s a demographic breakdown of the student population in American public schools, as of 2015:

48.9% White
25.9% Hispanic
15.5% Black
5.0% Asian
3.4% Two or more races
1.0% American Indian/Alaska Native
0.3% Pacific Islander

The national graduation rate is 84 percent, according to the latest data.

Teachers & Principals

In America’s public schools there are 3.2 million full-time-equivalent teachers, according to federal projections for the fall of 2018.

When it comes to race and ethnicity, America’s teachers look very different from their student population, according to 2015 data:

80.1% White
8.8% Hispanic
6.7% Black
2.3% Asian
1.4% Two or more races
0.4% American Indian/Alaska Native
0.2% Pacific Islander

The average base salary for teachers is $55,100, based on 2015-16 data. How does that compare with principals’ salaries? According to data from the same year, the average principal salary is $95,700.

School Spending

In 2014-15, $625 billion was spent on public elementary and secondary education by local, state, and federal agencies.

On average, the nation spends $12,536 to educate each student, according to a 2018 analysis. Of course, these expenditures vary state to state. Want to see where your state stands?

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A version of this article appeared in the January 16, 2019 edition of Education Week as Education Statistics

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