William J. Hussar and Tabitha M. Bailey
National Center for Education Statistics
September 2009

This, the latest in a long-running NCES series, projects America’s education future based largely on its past. The number crunchers forecast increases in nearly every sector, from Pre-K to graduate school, between now and 2018. Elementary and secondary enrollment will swell 9 percent. The bulk of these increases will occur in southern and western states--due to migration, legal and illegal immigration, and a 1990s-2000s high birthrate--while enrollment will decrease in the northeast. These additional students also mean that we’ll have more high school graduates (though perhaps not an improved graduation rate)--3.1 million in 2018 compared to 2.8 million in 2006. The number of teachers will grow, too, to 3.7 million from 3.2, further reducing the teacher-student ratio (from 15.2 to 14.2 students per teacher). Of course with more students and teachers comes more spending; despite recessionary burdens, school spending will reach $626 billion in 2018, compared to $461 billion in 2006, while per pupil expenditures will jump to $11,600. Will this really happen? Or will other pressures on the public fisc produce a different trajectory from what one sees when basing the future on the past? You won’t get an answer to that here. But you’ll get a lot of numbers. Read them here (pdf).

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