What does education in the U.S. look like in 2017? How has it changed over time? How do U.S. student achievement levels compare to international achievement levels? The Condition of Education Report 2017, released last week by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), answers these questions and more! This congressionally-mandated report provides educators, students, policymakers, and parents with the most up-to-date data and trends on the U.S education system. This includes, but is not limited to, a snapshot of U.S. student demographics, school characteristics, student achievement levels, and school funding data.  Key student and school characteristics from the 2017 report include:

U.S. Public School Characteristics

  • Twenty-five percent of public schools in 2014-15 were high-poverty schools.
  • Nearly half of Hispanic and Black public school students attended high-poverty schools in 2014-15 compared to eight percent of white students.
  • Average public school spending in 2013–14 was $11,222 per student.

U.S. Public School Student Characteristics

  • About 71 percent of children ages three to 18 used the Internet in 2015.
  • Public school English Learners in 2014-15 ranged from 1.0 percent in West Virginia to 22.4 percent in California.


  • From 2000 to 2016, attainment rates increased. A higher percentage of 25-29 year olds had high school diplomas, bachelor’s degrees, or graduate degrees.
  • Wide high school graduation gaps still exist. High school graduation rates range from 88 percent for white students to 78 and 75 percent for Hispanic and black students, respectively.

Economic Outcomes

  • In 2015, young adults with a bachelor’s degree earned 64 percent more than those who only completed high school.

Postsecondary Education

  • Over a 15-year period, the college enrollment rate increased from 35 percent to 40 percent.
  • More than 10 million undergraduate students attended four-year institutions in fall 2015 and more than 6 million attended two-year institutions.

The 2017 report also dives into further detail on a number of topics including:

We’re going to dive deeper in to the reports and data over the next several days, digging into each of these three topics.