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Stats that Stick: August 24, 2011

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August 24, 2011 07:26 pm

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Students in rural America who are of color: 28 percent

Education Week reported on the increasing population and diversity of rural schools in the United States. Rural school enrollment is growing — between 2004 and 2009, rural schools grew 11 percent, from 10.5 million students to 11.7 million. In that same time, growth was fastest among students of color – this number went up 31 percent. Education Week also reported the highest-poverty schools are even more diverse. Roughly 59 percent of children in the top 10 percent of districts in poverty are students of color.

Money Americans spend on back-to-school shopping: $7 billion

As the school year starts around the country, the New York Times reported on census data that showed American spend billions of dollars while preparing their children to go back to school. Other interesting statistics from the census included: 55 million students will be enrolled in pre-kindergarten through high school this fall, 11 percent of them will be in private schools, and minority groups made up 43 percent of pre-kindergarten through high school students in October 2009.

Jobs in the American South that require “middle-skills”: 51 percent

The Associated Press reported on the American’s south shortage of workers who maintain the right qualifications to fill the middle-skills positions that make up over half of the region’s job market. Examples of these kind of jobs include medical technicians or computers support workers. According to the National Skills Coalition, while over half of the jobs in the South require middle-skills, highly skilled jobs make up 29 percent of the market and low-skill jobs make up 20 percent. The South is finding it difficult to fill these positions even when four-year graduates face difficulty finding a job and paying off their student loans.

Amount awarded to schools during the last Race to the Top competition: $4 billion

The U.S. Department of Education recently announced its guidelines for its next Race to the Top competition, which will focus this time on improving preschools. The Obama administration wants to have the same kind of effect on pre-K education this time around as it did in its Race to the Top competition, which awarded roughly billions for use in K-12 education to schools that took on new education reforms.

Magnitude of earthquake that shook DC: 5.8

This unlikely number had to make Stats that Stick this week. The biggest earthquake in Virginia’s history jolted the entire East Coast Tuesday afternoon, and residents are still talking about the startling experience many had never witnessed before. No deaths were caused from the quake, which originated in the tiny town of Mineral, Virginia, but the Washington Monument and National Cathedral have reportedly seen some damage. Here’s to hoping no natural disaster makes our list next week!

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