School is in session
September 5, 2011
by Jenni Sebora

About 27 percent of our population, 3 and older, is enrolled in our nation’s schools, including preschool and college. The cost of going to school is not cheap, even for those attending our nation’s public schools.

Parents have spent, on the average, more than $500 per child on basic school supplies for their elementary children and more than $1,000 for a high school student. These costs are up from last school year.

For private schools, add on the cost of tuition, and those numbers are even higher. (About 11 percent of our elementary through high school students are projected to attend a private school this fall.)

It is amazing, however, the amount of unused or used but still usable school supplies that are thrown away at the end of each school year. As a teacher, each year I pick up folders, tablets, pencils, pens, book covers, binders that are discarded at the end of the year during locker clean out. We put them in our closet to use them for the following school year for students who need extra supplies.

Backpacks can be expensive back-to-school items. If your child needs a new one, wait until school has started to make the purchase, as usually there is a big savings on school bags once the school year is underway. Have them use their previous one or another type of bag for the short term.

Private schools numbered 33,740 in the 2007-2008 school year. In 2008-2009, there were 98,706 public schools and 4,694 public charter schools nationwide. The options for education have also increased. Public, private, charter, and home schools are all options.

Remember the days when kindergarten was always half-days? The half-days included nap time and snack time. Today, the majority of kindergartners attend full-day kindergarten. In 2009, 75 percent attended all day.

Of course, these days, more people are attending college as well, especially women. In fact, in October, 2009, women made up 56 percent of college students. About 19.7 million students are projected to be enrolled in our nation’s colleges and universities this fall, which is up from 14.4 million 20 years ago.

(Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service)

Minnesota has one of the highest ACT (a college entrance exam taken by high school juniors and seniors) averages in the country.

But despite all of this, some things don’t change. Dedicated teachers and school staff, along with involved and concerned parents, remain the primary components for student success.

Have a great school year.