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U.S. Public School Statistics Everyone With an Education Degree Should Know

Find out how public school students in the U.S. stack up and how you can earn your MS in Education degree online.

The United States has more than 50 million pre-K–12 students in classrooms around the country, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). And while all great teachers help students grow, those who hold advanced degrees such as a master's in education are uniquely equipped to apply an effective, innovative teaching strategy in the classroom.

As a result of many wonderful teachers who dedicate their time and energy, today’s U.S. public schools produce students who are more likely to graduate and go on to earn a degree in college. Here are a few statistics you may want to know.

U.S. Public School Statistics Everyone With an Education Degree Should Know

America’s Public Schools and Students

According to NCES data, America’s schools are more diverse now than ever.1 The country’s 50.7 million students enrolled in public elementary and secondary schools include 24.1 million white students, 7.8 million black students, 14 million Hispanic students, 2.6 million Asian students, 200,000 Pacific Islander students, half a million American Indian/Alaska Native students, and 1.6 million students of two or more races. In addition, the ratio of students to teachers is an expected 16 students per teacher.

There’s a projected total of $654 billion in expenditures for all public elementary and secondary schools in the U.S. for the 2018–2019 school year, which equates to $12,910 per student. An estimated 3.6 million U.S. students will graduate from high school this year, including 3.3 million public school students.

The Pew Research Center notes that the high school dropout rate has seen a marked decline in recent decades; today it stands at an all-time low of 6%.2 This includes a dropout rate of 10% among Hispanic students, which has fallen from 34% in 1999.

Despite these numbers, students in U.S. schools still lag behind their peers in many other countries in a number of subjects. According to a test known as the Program for International Student Assessment, 15-year-olds in the U.S. ranked 38th out of 71 countries in math and 24th in science in 2015.2 In addition, 92% of European primary and secondary students are learning a foreign language in school, while only 20% of K–12 students in the U.S. are doing the same.3

Public school students whose parents earn $75,000 or more each year are more likely to participate in after-school activities or attend an after-care program. These students are also more likely to be enrolled in sports and athletic activities and in lessons for music, art, and dance.

Earn Your MSEd Degree

U.S. schools need the most dedicated and trained teachers they can get, including those with a master's in education degree. If you’re passionate about primary and secondary education and want to help students, it might be time to enroll in Walden University’s MS in Education degree program.

Walden offers a unique master’s in education online program designed for students who want the flexibility of online classes without sacrificing rigorous academics. At Walden, you can earn your teaching degree while learning how to shape young lives, improve student outcomes, and become an effective educator at the forefront of your field. As you earn your MSEd degree, you’ll explore the factors that help teachers reach a higher level of performance, learn valuable teaching strategy, and develop the skills to adapt to different classroom situations. Walden also offers an accelerated MS in Education program for motivated students who wish to earn their degree in a shorter amount of time.

With so many online teaching degree programs available today, it’s important to enroll in an accredited university with quality education programs. Walden University is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). NCATE accreditation is a nationally recognized standard of excellence in the education profession and indicates that a university has met rigorous standards set by the profession.

If you’re ready to change students’ lives and make a meaningful impact in our public schools, find out how earning your MS in education degree can get you there.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering both an MS in Education degree program and an accelerated MS in Education degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,

Walden University is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) for a period of 7 years, from April 24, 2012, to June 30, 2019. In 2013, NCATE merged with the Teacher Education Accreditation Council to form the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). CAEP is the single specialized accreditor for educator preparation and administers NCATE accreditation. Walden University is eligible for and will seek accreditation based on CAEP standards beginning in fall 2018.