October 5, 2006

The Changing Landscape of American Public Education: New Students, New Schools

Appendix A: Data Source

The enrollment tabulations are based on the U.S. Department of Education’s “Public Elementary/Secondary School Universe Survey” for school years 1993-94 and 2002-03. The latter year is the most recent available. Not all states report student enrollment by race/ethnicity. The number of states not reporting racial/ethnic counts increases in earlier school years. The 1993-94 school year is the earliest school year for which the missing data problems are manageable.

Not all public schools are included in the analysis. Using the 2002-03 school year to illustrate, the Public Elementary/Secondary School Universe Survey indicates that there are 97,531 public schools in operation in the 50 states and the District of Columbia in fall 2002. Of those, 92,330 schools reported students in attendance. Tennessee did not report student enrollment by race/ethnicity for the 2002-03 school year. Idaho did not report such data for 1993-94. To have an “apples-toapples” comparison over time, schools in Idaho and Tennessee are excluded, reducing the number of schools to 89,671. Finally, eliminating schools with missing racial/ethnic counts further reduces the 2002-03 school count to 89,599.

A school’s total enrollment can be measured two ways. The reported total student enrollment, MEMBER, can be used. Alternatively, the sum of the students by race/ethnicity groups may be used. For some schools the latter count is less than the MEMBER count. This report tallies school enrollment using the sum across the racial/ethnic groups. In the aggregate, it makes little difference. As the following table shows, for both years the difference in total student enrollment is quite small: