Education Statistics 2012:
Graduation rates are up, along with many other relevant education statistics, despite the many paradigm shifts schools have seen in the past decade. With the implementation of No Child Left Behind, to steep cuts in school budgets, it’d be an understatement to say today’s educators are facing difficulties.
In an effort to better serve students, schools across the country are constantly making changes by implementing different strategies to their curriculums. Schools faced with earlier testing and increased standards have been overwhelmed, leading parents and school officials to wonder whether it’s working.
Although it’s still somewhat unclear as to what we can attribute these early gains, the news might be more pleasant than you’d think.
Graduation Rates Improve
The Department of Education recently released via Homeroom, its official blog, that high school graduation rates are the highest they’ve been in three decades. The Huffington Post recently covered the release of this information to the public, which they called the, “First-ever list detailing state-by-state four-year high school graduation rates.” In Boston, the rate of increase was 4.8% with as much as 84.7% of high school students heading onward to graduation.
This is welcome news for parents and educators who hope the graduation rate will continue upward in coming years. The disclosure of this information undoubtedly brings much needed transparency to educational affairs.
ESEA Flexibility Increases as Waivers to NCLB Act are Granted
In addition to news of increased graduation rates, the Department of Education has also announced an increase in the flexibility of laws governing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, or ESEA. This will allow schools and districts within approved states to be more flexible in making changes to their curriculum than was allowed under previous provisions held under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.
Many states have applied to receive the NCLB waiver, but a few have not been so lucky, with many still under review. So far, the flexibility provided by the waiver applies to 34 states and the District of Columbia. California is one of the states that has not yet been extended this waiver, after a rejection by the Federal government in December of 2012. If you’re curious as to what this all means, there is an informational brochure made available on the Department of Education’s website.
According to the brochure, “ESEA flexibility is poised to better meet the needs of states, districts, schools and, most importantly, the students, as states courageously implement their chosen reforms.” This newfound flexibility is intended to empower educators and administrators, the people who work most directly with students, to have more influence in determining what best suits the needs of their students.
With student needs varying from school district to school district, and state to state, this move on the part of many schools may be the smartest one yet, and will surely lead to improved education statistics in years to come.
Despite New Technology, Books, Pencils Still Mainstays
With many new technologies available like Ebooks and Tablets becoming more alluring, many people have begun to question whether print books are on the way off the shelves and into the recycling bin. Fortunately, bibliophiles will be glad to hear the results of the PEW Research Center’s findings that 60% of people surveyed had some interaction with a library last year, with 91% saying “public libraries are important to their communities.”
Even the tech-savvy Internet web-zine Mashable is willing to admit that many readers would like to have the best of what technology has to offer while still respecting the value of traditional print libraries. In a recent article titled, “Libraries’ Love Affair with Print is Far From Over,” they suggest maybe a world where the physical and the digital can coexist is not so difficult a proposition after all. In fact, I think we’re already beginning to see that we’re in that world now.
The Pencils.com staff has conducted an education statistics survey of our own, finding that 93% of teachers feel that pencil quality is important or very important. In addition, our education statistics survey also found that 73% of those same teachers said their students’ pencil quality was either poor or terrible. Pencils, much like books are unlikely to disappear, so given the importance of this vital classroom utensil, we hope to help get quality pencils into our young students’ hands.