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Eighth-grade math and reading proficiency fell more between 2019 and 2022 than any other period for which data is available.

The share of students at or above a proficient level in reading dropped from 33.6% to 30.8% and from 33.9% to 26.5% in math.


The public-school student-teacher ratio dropped from 15.9 in fall 2019 to 15.4 in fall 2020, the lowest since 2009.

This is partly due to school enrollment dropping in the pandemic and follows 10 consecutive years of a student-teacher ratio between 15.9 and 16.1. Several factors affect the student-teacher ratio, including class sizes, the number of classes educators teach, and the number of special education teachers.


Public schools spent an average of $15,375 per student in the 2019–2020 school year, more than any previous year after adjusting for inflation.

Spending per student varies across states — in 2019, it ranged from $9,428 in Utah to $28,754 in New York. Many factors influence per-pupil spending, including salaries, benefits, and supplies across functions such as instruction, administration, and operations and maintenance.


Of the students who started high school in 2010, 23% completed a four-year college degree by 2020. Another 27% had enrolled in college but not yet graduated.

Among Black and Hispanic students who entered high school in 2010, the share who earned a four-year degree by 2020 was lower than the overall student rate — less than 14% for either group.


The median student loan balance for Black families is increasing faster than for families of other races or ethnicities, reaching $34,000 in 2019.

Black families’ student loan balances rose 96% between 2010 and 2019, compared to 44% for all families. Preliminary findings from Federal Reserve economists indicate that various factors contribute to higher student loan debt for Black borrowers, such as remaining in school longer and being more likely to attend for-profit colleges.


Forty-eight percent of the population ages 25 and older has a college degree.

Asian Americans consistently have the nation’s highest levels of education; as of 2021, more than two-thirds have at least an associate degree.


On average, people with no more than a bachelor’s degree earned $1,432 per week in 2022, roughly 68% more than workers with no more than a high school diploma.

Wages for workers with only a high school diploma have fallen since 2000, while wages for people with at least a bachelor’s degree ticked upward.

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