A quarter of students between 4th and 12th grade read below basic standards, and half of ninth graders in disadvantaged urban schools read two to three grade levels below where they should.
Some 14 million ‘latch key children’ go to an empty house on any given afternoon. The parents of 15.3 million children say their children would participate if an afterschool program were available.
Public school enrollment will reach new records over the next decade; teacher shortages are growing and close to 50% of new teachers leave the profession during their first five years.3 Over the past decade wages for teachers haven’t kept up with other jobs that demand similar education and skills.
Higher education tuition costs are rising far faster than inflation, while real wages have been stagnant. Between 2000 and 2005, the average cost of tuition at a public college has increased 42 percent5 but median household income has fallen 2 percent.
The proportion of undergraduate funding in the form of grant aid declines every year. In 1975-76 a Pell grant covered 84% of tuition at a four-year public school—now it only covers 40%.
Forty-one organizations, representing millions of Americans, have signed this letter to Congress, asking them to stand on these four principles against those who would "hold our economy hostage in order to dictate the terms of the debate.