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Stats That Stick: November 9, 2011

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November 09, 2011 09:41 pm


Once again, Bill DeBaun, policy intern here at the Alliance, uncovers some very interesting stats that will surely stick:

Number of current U.S. Secretaries of Education who think the Harkin-Enzi ESEA reauthorization bill could be stronger on accountability and standards: 1
Education Week
reports on an interview U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan says, “I appreciate folks are working together [on K-12] education—it may be about the only issue right now. I’m encouraged about the process, but it can’t just be about the process, it has to be about the product. You don’t want to have a weak bill or a bad bill at the end of the day.” Duncan also went on to say that the proposed bill could be “a step back on raising standards and accountability. We’ve seen so much progress, we’ve got to keep getting better, not going backwards.”

Percentage increase in enrollment in postsecondary online courses between 2009 and 2010: 10+%

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that a survey of more than 2,500 higher education institutions conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group shows an increase of 560,000 students from 2009 to 2010. This is the latest in a trend of steady climbs in online enrollment. 31% of all college students now encounter an online course as part of their postsecondary education.

Minimum number of online credits now required to graduate from high school in Idaho: 2
The Idaho Statesman confirms that state education officials gave final approval to a plan that would require all high school students to complete online courses in order to graduate. This policy is being rolled out in conjunction with teacher merit pay and a plan to provide laptops for every high school student and teacher in the state.

Amount of student loans held by the average college graduate in 2010: $25,250
This figure, reported by the New York Times, is a 5% increase over 2009. Mark Kantrowitz, the publisher of and, notes in the article, “We’re clearly heading in the direction of decreased college affordability. Among lower-income students, the canaries in the cage that squawk first, we’re already seeing a decline in enrollment in four-year colleges and an increase in lower-cost two-year institutions.”

Percentage of students from households earning over $100,000 attending community colleges in 2010-11: 22%
Speaking of increases in lower-cost two-year institutions, the Washington Post examines a survey by Sallie Mae that found that the number of students from households earning $100,000 who are attending community college increased from 12% to 22% from 2009-10 to 2010-11. Those interviewed in the article note that community colleges and two-year programs offer a cost-savings over a full four-year program at a college or university.

Maximum number of days in jail parents can face for their child’s truancy in Halifax County, NC: 120
Well, here’s one way to help make sure students make it to school. Myrtle Beach Sun News brings us the news that Halifax County has implemented a monthly truancy court session for parents of students who accrue more than 10 unexcused absences. If convicted of the misdemeanor crime, parents can face up to 120 days in jail.

Percentage of high school dropouts between ages 16-24 who were unemployed last year: 29%
The Wall Street Journal shares some troubling statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau. The 29% unemployment figure is much higher than the 17.7% unemployment the same group faced in 2000. The unemployment rate among 16-24 year olds who completed high school but did not attend college was seven points lower at 22%.



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