WASHINGTON — Schools and classrooms are spiffed up — maybe.
New textbooks have been ordered — perhaps.
Teachers are energized — hopefully.
What’s certain is that millions of children in the United States are heading to school after the summer. Many are there for the first time, while others are in the final year of their formal education.
There will be tears, from some prekindergarten and kindergarten youngsters starting school, and from parents as they leave their new college students at the dorm.
Statistics make clear that those with college degrees generally will do better than their peers who do not graduate and that those who drop out from high school face an even more dismal future.
As the school year begins, some facts and figures about education in America:
How many students are there?: The National Center for Education Statistics estimated that in 2013, 50.1 million children will be enrolled in U.S. public schools and 5.2 million will be in private school. That doesn’t include students who are home-schooled. The Education Department’s statistics arm also estimated there were 1.5 million U.S. students home-schooled in 2007; advocates of home schooling advocates put the number higher.
Enrollment in colleges and universities was estimated to reach a record 21.8 million this fall, according to NCES, the Education Department’s statistics arm.
Who’s teaching them?: There are about 3.3 million elementary and secondary public teachers in 2013, leading to a student teacher ratio of 15-to-1, NCES said.
The average teacher in a public school earned about $56,000 for the school year that ended in 2011, according to the agency. When adjusted for inflation, that salary is only 3 percent higher than it was for the year that ended in the spring of 1991.
What about spending on kids?: Teacher salaries are just part of the total spent on educating children. All told, NCES says $591 billion will be spent during the new school year. That breaks down to an average $11,810 for each student.