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Ready for the school year

September 1, 2008

by Jenni Sebora

Many children of all ages and parents are once again preparing for the start of another school year.

The talk of who their teacher will be, the hunt for the best book bag, the purchase of that new pair of shoes, some new clothes and of course, the necessary back-to-school items are part of the traditional back to school fervor.

How much money is spent each year on clothes and books? How many children are enrolled in school? How many students attend private school, charter schools, are home schooled?

The US Census Bureau revises these statistics and keeps track of such information through a variety of sources. I always find this information interesting. So here goes for yet the start of another school year:

In August 2006, $7.1 billion was spent on family clothing stores and 1.2 billion was spent in bookstores. Sales were only higher in November and December.

The number of the children and adults enrolled in school (nursery - college) was $75.8 million in United States in Oct. 2007. This amounts to one-fourth of US population three and older.

Fifty-four percent of 3 and 4 year olds were enrolled in school in October 2005.

Full-day kindergarten has been a topic of discussion in many local school districts with many of these districts implementing it in recent years. Seventy percent of children enrolled in kindergarten attended all day, October 2005.

The projected percentage of elementary and high school students enrolled in private school this fall is 11 percent.

Forty-one percent is the percentage of elementary and high school students, who were minorities in October 2005.

Forty-two percent of children, 12 - 17, participated in sports as of 2003 (the most popular extracurricular activity).

The percentage of children, 12 - 17, enrolled in school and academically on track (at grade level for peers their age) as of 2003 was 75 percent.

Twenty-four percent of children, 12 - 17, were in a special class for gifted students or did advanced work in any subject, such as honors and advanced placement classes as of 2003.

Ten and half million children, 5 - 17, speak a language other than English at home, which equates to one in five. Most speak Spanish at home.

Regarding college, 18 million students are projected to be enrolled in a nation’s college or university, which is up from 12.8 million 20 years ago.

The percentage of 18 - 19 year olds enrolled in college in 2005 was 49 percent.

Fifty-six percent of undergraduates were women, October 2007. Among graduate students, that number is even higher - 57 percent were women.

In the area of learning and earning, 21 percent of high school students were employed as of Oct. 2005, and 50 percent of college students were employed.

Next week, I will give more of the US Census Bureau’s back-to-school facts and figures.

(Note: This information was collected from a variety of sources and may be subject to sampling variability and other sources of error, www.census.gov/press-release. This was last revised, August 2007.)

More winners

Here are a few more Newberry Medal winners:

1979: “The Westing Game,” by Ellen Raskin

1978: “Bridge to Terabithia,” by Katherine Paterson

1977: “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry,” by Mildred D. Taylor

1976: “The Grey King,” by Susan Cooper

1975: “M. C. Higgins, the Great,” by Virginia Hamilton

1974: “The Slave Dancer,” by Paula Fox

1973: “Julie of the Wolves,” by Jean Craighead George

1972: “Mrs. Grisby and the Rats of NIMH,” by Robert C. O’Brien

1971: “Summer of the Swans,” by Betsy Byars

1970: “Sounder,” by William H. Armstrong

I have read a number of these books, and once again, I can understand why they received such a distinctive honor.