Back to School: 2008-2009

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Summertime winding down and summer vacations coming to an end signal that back-to-school time is near. It’s a time that many children eagerly anticipate — catching up with old friends, making new ones and settling into a new daily routine. Parents and children alike scan the newspapers and Web sites looking for sales to shop for a multitude of school supplies and the latest clothing fads and essentials. This edition of Facts for Features highlights the many statistics associated with the return to classrooms by our nation’s students and teachers.

Back-to-School Shopping
$7.5 billion - The amount of money spent at family clothing stores in August 2007. Only in November and December — the holiday shopping season — were sales significantly higher. Similarly, sales at bookstores in August 2007 totaled $2.3 billion, an amount approached in 2007 only by sales in January and December.

For back-to-school shopping, choices of retail establishments abound: In 2005, there were 24,659 family clothing stores, 6,305 children and infants clothing stores, 26,416 shoe stores, 9,501 office supply and stationery stores, 23,195 sporting goods stores, 11,077 bookstores and 9,589 department stores.

Teachers and Other School Personnel
7.1 million - Number of teachers in the United States in 2007. Some 2.9 million teach at the elementary and middle school level. The remainder includes those teaching at the postsecondary, secondary, and preschool and kindergarten levels.

$59,825 - Average annual salary of public school teachers in California as of the 2005-2006 school year — the highest of any state. Teachers in South Dakota received the lowest pay — $34,709. The national average was $49,026. High school principals earned $92,965 annually in 2006-07.

$15.48 - Average hourly wage for the nation’s school bus drivers in 2006-07. Custodians earned $13.78, while cafeteria workers made $11.16.

14.2 million - Number of computers available for classroom use in the nation’s schools as of the 2005-2006 school year. That works out to one computer for every four students.

The Rising Cost of College
$14,203 - Average tuition, room and board (for in-state students) at the nation’s four-year public colleges and universities for an entire academic year (2006-07). That is more than double the corresponding figure in 1990.

$38,400 - Average tuition, room and board at the nation’s four-year private colleges and universities for one academic year (2006-07). That also is more than double the corresponding 1990 figure.

The Rewards of Staying in School
$82,320 - Average annual 2006 earnings of workers 18 and older with an advanced degree. This compares with $20,873 for those without a high school diploma. In addition, those with a bachelor’s degree earned an average of $56,788 in 2006, while those with a high school diploma earned $31,071.

$59,408 - Average starting salary offered to bachelor’s degree candidates in petroleum engineering in 2007, among the highest of any field of study. At the other end of the spectrum were those majoring in the humanities, who were offered an average of $31,345.

$5,992 - Average monthly earnings for full-time workers 18 and older with earnings who had a bachelor’s degree in engineering.

$3,431 - Average monthly earnings for full-time workers 18 and older with earnings who had a bachelor’s degree in education.

3.3 million - Projected number of high school diplomas that will be awarded in the 2008-09 school year.

3.1 million - Number of college degrees expected to be conferred in the 2008-09 school year.

Government Spending on Public Education
$9,138 - The per-pupil expenditure on public elementary and secondary education nationally in 2006. New York ($14,884) spent the most among states or state equivalents, followed by New Jersey ($14,630) and the District of Columbia ($13,446). Utah ($5,437) spent the least per student, followed by Idaho ($6,440) and Arizona ($6,472).

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