Report on Trends in U.S Education Finds Fewer High School Students Are Employed Compared to 1990

AIR experts played a key role in producing the latest edition of The Condition of Education 2012, a congressionally mandated annual report that provides a definitive look at developments and trends in U.S. education. Released by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), this year’s report takes a close look at high schools and how they have changed over the last few decades. The report found that only 16 percent of high school students were employed in 2010, compared to 32 percent in 1990.

The report presents statistical indicators containing text, figures, and tables describing important developments in the status and trends of education from early childhood learning through graduate-level education. AIR’s team played a key role in authoring and producing the report, working with data from complex survey designs, conducting statistical analysis and testing, and writing key findings, as well as developing tools to centralize communication among authors and reviewers.

Documented trends found in the report include enrollment rates in all levels of the education system, achievement in reading and mathematics, high school graduation rates, immediate transition to college, and employment outcomes of graduates. The report incorporates indicators in four main areas:

  • closer look at high school students in the United States over the past twenty years;
  • participation in education;
  • elementary and secondary education; and
  • postsecondary education.

A sample of the findings in the report includes:

  • Public elementary and secondary school enrollment is projected to increase from 49.5 million in 2010-11 to 53.1 million students in 2021-22.
  • There were 1.3 million high school student enrollments in distance education courses in 2009-10, compared to 0.3 million 5 years earlier.
  • Between 1990 and 2010, the percentage of public school students who were White decreased from 67 to 54 percent, and the percentage of Hispanic public school students increased from 12 percent (5.1 million students) to 23 percent (12.1 million students).
  • In 2010, high school seniors who planned on attending college had higher participation rates (43 percent) in various extracurricular activities versus those who did not have college plans (25 percent).
  • In 2010-11, the average total cost of attending a postsecondary institution for first-time, full-time students living on campus and paying in-state tuition was $20,100 at public four-year institutions and $39,800 at private four-year institutions.
  • In 2010, adults ages 25-34 with a bachelor’s degree earned 114 percent more than adults without a high school diploma, 50 percent more than young adult high school completers, and 22 percent more than young adults with an associate’s degree.
  • Forty-nine percent of elementary school teachers and 54 percent of secondary school teachers held a post-baccalaureate degree in 2007– 08, compared with 45 and 50 percent, respectively, in 2003–04.

For more information and to view the full text of The Condition of Education 2012, visit