Relevant Statistics

EDUCATION TRENDS IN THE USA

 

Quick facts for context on the State of Education in the USA:

  • In 2012, there were approximately 55 million K-12 students enrolled in 130,000 schools in 13,500 school districts in the United States.

  • In 2013-2014, the US invested roughly $634 billion in primary and secondary education, or $12,509 per public school student.

  • Compared to other OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries, this is more than all but 4 other countries – Austria, Luxembourg, Norway, and Switzerland.

  • Despite this significant investment, the US ranked 19th in science, 20th in reading, and 31st in mathematics out of 35 participating OECD countries (PISA 2015).

 

What this means: The above data do not suggest a successful, competitive US education system, nor do the larger trends bode well for America's future as a world leader. Children in schools today will grow up into a world where the solutions to serious problems will require a solid understanding of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM). How can one address challenges from, say, climate change, ocean acidification, or overpopulation if one doesn't understand the dynamic processes and data that influence them? Solutions to these and other problems will come only from well-informed, science-literate citizens with solid critical-thinking skills. As it currently exists, the US education system does not typically instill this in students. This is the first challenge Explorer At Large seeks to address.

THE PARADOX OF MODERN TECHNOLOGY

 

As bleak as this may appear, there is a silver lining to this cloud: the technology-driven world that distracts kids and dilutes social engagements also offers a solution. Investments made at the federal, state, and district levels over the past 5 years now connect our classrooms like never before. 

  • In 2013, only 4 million students in the US had access to high-speed broadband in their schools.

  • As of 2016, roughly 35 millions students and 2.4 million teachers at 70,000 schools were connected, and those numbers are growing quickly.

  • Over 3,100 superintendents––representing 19+ million students––have taken the pledge to bring personalized or blended digital learning strategies into their schools.

  • 95% of schools are connected by fiber, giving them the capacity to meet current and anticipated future needs. 

  • 83% of schools report sufficient Wi-Fi in their classrooms at this time for digital learning.

 

What this means: For the first time in history, technology now connects millions of students to a world of interactive and virtual digital content, expanding classrooms well beyond their four walls and exposing students to an unlimited supply of educational content. This is one of the reasons why Explorer At Large is focusing on platform-agnostic viewing options and why the licensing rights must allow for strategies involving freely- and broadly-distributed content. Explorer At Large knows that children today are attached to their screens; our goal is to entice them to watch our content, enjoy it, and learn from it.

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