HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
September 17, 2007, Herald Journal

Back-to-School facts and figures


For many students in the area and across the state and nation, this time marks the beginning of the school year, 2007-08.

With the start of the new school year, supplies, clothes, backpacks will be bought, and million of students and teachers will enter their classrooms ready for a new year.

“Facts for Features,” www.census.gov, highlights the many statistics related to the return to classrooms by our nation’s teachers and students. Here are some of those statistics that I found interesting:

• $6.6 billion was the amount of money spent at family clothing stores in August 2005. Only in October, November, December, the holiday shopping season, were sales equal or higher.

• Bookstore sales in August 2005 totaled $2.2 billion, an amount approached only by sales in January and December.

• There are 75.5 million children and adults enrolled in school throughout the country, from nursery school to college. That amounts to more than one-fourth of the U.S. population age 3 and older.

• Fifty-four percent of three and four-year olds are enrolled in school, up from 10 percent in 1964.

• The percentage of children enrolled in kindergarten who attend all day is 68 percent.

• The projected number of students enrolled in the nation’s elementary and high schools (k-12) is 55 million.

• Twenty-two percent of elementary and high school students have at least one foreign-born parent.

• Ten million school-age children (ages five to 17) speak a language other than English at home. These children make up nearly one-in-five in this age group. Most of them (7.1 million) speak Spanish at home.

Source: American Factfinder

• There are 95,615 public elementary and secondary schools and 29,273 private elementary and secondary schools.

• There are 4,216 institutions of higher learning that grant college degrees.

Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2007

• The number of students who are homeschooled is 1.1 million. That is two percent of all students ages 5 to 17.

• The number of teachers in the United States is 6.8 million. The bulk of them (2.6 million) teach at the elementary and middle school level.

• The average tuition, room and board (for in-state students) at the nation’s four-year public colleges and universities for an entire academic year is $12,605. This is more than double the corresponding figure in 1990.

• The average tuition, room and board at the nation’s four-year private colleges and universities for a year is $34,698, double the 1990 figure.

Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2007

• $74,602 is the average annual earnings of workers age 18 and older with an advanced degree. This compares with $51,206 a year for those with bachelor’s degrees, $27, 915 for those with a high school diploma only and $18,734 for those without a high school diploma.

Here are some more “FamilyFun,” September, 2006 back to school tips:

• Prepare a morning emergency box for those things that you may need in the morning that were forgotten about the night before or for those last minute small “emergencies.” Items in this box could include money for lunch or milk, tissues, lip balm, ponytail holders, band aids, a hairbrush.

• Make personal fridge magnets to show off those school papers and art work. These magnets are created from wooden clothespins with a spring, pipe cleaners, markers, felt, tacky glue, scissors, photo of your child’s face (cut to size), and a three-inch length of self-adhesive magnetic strip.

Draw pants or skirt and shirt on felt to fit your clothespins. Cut them out. Glue the pipe cleaner, cut to four inches, to the shirt (across the arms to make the arms movable and flexible); then glue the shirt to the clothespin, sandwiching the pipe cleaner between the felt and the wood. Then glue on the pants or shirt.

Glue the photo in place and add details. Allow the glue to dry completely and draw on shoes and legs.

You could also use a toothpick and a triangular piece of paper to create a “Great Job” flag to attach to the pipe cleaner hand.

Cut a triangle from paper, write words of encouragement on the flag and glue the flag to the toothpick. When dry, wrap one of the pipe cleaner hands around the pennant.

Then, of course, add the magnetic strip to the back of the clothespin, and hang the personal cheering magnet on the fridge ready for a masterpiece.