Middle-Class Schools Miss the Mark

Monday, September 12, 2011
Middle-class public schools educate the majority of U.S. students but pay lower teacher salaries, have larger class sizes and spend less per pupil than low-income and wealthy schools, according to a report to be issued Monday. The report, "Incomplete: How Middle-Class Schools Aren't Making the Grade," also found middle-class schools are underachieving. It pointed to their national and international test scores and noted that 28% of their graduates earn a college degree by age 26, compared to 17% for lower-income students and 47% for upper-income students. Third Way, a Democratic think tank that claims to "advocate for private sector economic growth," based its report on data from the Census Bureau, the U.S. Department of Education, and national and international testing programs. The report doesn't include parochial or private-school students. Over the next decade, nearly two-thirds of job openings will require some post-secondary education, the report says, arguing that middle-class schools need to help better prepare their students to graduate from college.

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