The DeHavilland Blog

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The future of education, part 1

It’s that time of year again – hunkering down to do some strategic planning for the business. But before you can start making plans for what you’ll do as a business, you have to give careful consideration to the conditions of the market in which you work. How is the market changing, and what’s driving that change? What will the market landscape look like as a result in 1, 5, or 10 years? Only when you have answers to questions like these and others can you chart a course for your company.

Rather than keep all this to myself, I thought I’d post my analysis of the education market. Today’s post is on population trends; future posts will address school management and finance, with a final post to explore what all of this means to the area of community/school partnerships.

Population Trends – Growth
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), “school enrollment is projected to set new records every year from 2006 until at least 2014, the last year for which NCES has projected school enrollment.” (see here) The table below shows historical data and projections:

Of course, some regions of the country will grow faster than others, and in fact NCES predicts a decrease in the Northeast. But the fact remains that we should see slow but continued population growth within this market overall.

Population Trends – Increased Diversity
In the year 2000, whites made up 69.9% of the total US population, with all other groups comprising 30.1%. We are on a track towards an even split by the year 2050, with whites comprising 50.1% of the population, and all other groups making up 49.9% (see here).

According to the Pew Hispanic Center, we have already seen a dramatic population shift within public schools. Richard Fry, Senior Research Associate, notes that “Latinos in 2005-06 accounted for 19.8% of all public school students, up from 12.7% in 1993-94.1 During this same period, the black share of public school enrollment rose slightly -- to 17.2%, from 16.5% -- while the white share fell sharply, to 57.1% from 66.1%.”

Based on fertility rates, demographic changes among school-aged children will continue at a quicker pace than the general population. According to work cited by the American Academy of Pediatrics, by 2020 approximately 40% of school-aged children will be from minority groups, and by 2025 we can expect to see that the child population will comprise 15.8% blacks, 23.6% Hispanics, 1.1% American Indian/Native Alaskans, 6.9% Asian/Pacific Islanders, and 52.6% whites.

Population Trends – Special Education
From the 1976/77 school year to the 2003/04 school year, the percentage of students characterized as having some type of disability rose steadily from 8.3% of the population to 13.7% (see here). There are no available projections related to the growth of this market; however, growth has been steady over the past 30 years, so one can expect this trend to continue.

The next post addresses other trends in the market - click here for Part 2.


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