Education Watch


In the United States, it’s generally up to state leaders to ensure that their state’s students receive a high-quality education. From allocating funding to deciding how to hold schools and colleges accountable for improving student outcomes, state leaders are responsible for many decisions that affect how districts, schools, and institutions of higher education do their work. But state leaders have a long history of making decisions that negatively affect students from underserved communities. Fortunately, impactful decisions can be made at all levels. That’s where the role of advocates come in.

Change rarely happens without pressure from people committed to educational justice — parents and families, community and business leaders, educators, and other advocates. Education Watch can help arm advocates with data that can push leaders in their states, districts, and schools to do better for all students —especially for students from low-income families, students of color, and English learners.

Use this tool to find out:

  • What the demographics of your state’s students look like
  • If your state is providing all groups of students with equitable access to key educational resources
  • How your state’s schools and colleges preparing all students for success after graduation


Demographic Overview

This section provides a context for understanding other data presented in this report. As you will see, access to learning resources and performance outcomes vary greatly across student groups. Knowing the size of each student group, and where students go to school can help education leaders plan more effectively to meet the academic needs of all students.


Student Enrollment

By Race and Ethnicity

Public schools educate students from diverse backgrounds. This chart shows the percentages of students by race and ethnicity enrolled in your schools.
Source: Data are for 2015-16. National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data

Opportunity to Learn

The United States is often touted as the land of equal opportunity, but you don’t have to look any further than the U.S. education system to know that the opportunities that this country provides today are anything but equal. In fact, the U.S. education system has a history of giving some students less of everything they need to succeed in school.

Is your state providing all groups of students with equitable access to key learning resources and opportunities? Use the indicators below to find out.


State and Local Revenues per Student

By District Poverty Level

This chart shows the state and local revenues of districts serving the most and the fewest students from low-income familes in your state. How do these districts’ funding amounts compare? To learn more about school funding in your state – including how your state compares to others – click here.
Source: Data are for 2013-2015. The Education Trust, Funding Gaps

Student Outcomes

Disparities in resources and opportunities for learning, in turn, lead to large disparities in student outcomes. In this section, learn how your state is doing at preparing all groups of students for postsecondary success. What percent of students are on grade level in reading and math? Are these outcomes improving over time? How do graduation rates and rates of college readiness compare across student groups?


Four-Year Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate

Whether a student plans to pursue college or to enter the workforce after high school, graduating with a high school degree is becoming non-negotiable. This chart shows the 4-year graduation rates for students overall and each student group in your state. How well is your state doing in graduating all groups of students on time?
Source: Data are for 2015-16. National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data

Higher Ed

College Enrollment

While U.S. colleges and universities are more diverse than ever before, many are not keeping pace with the growing racial and ethnic diversity of the country. In today’s society, diverse campus environments have powerful benefits for students. In today’s society, diverse campus environments have powerful benefits for students.

Do you know the demographic makeup of the students in your state? Use this tool to find out, and then in the next two sections, see how well Utah’s colleges and universities are supporting students to success


Higher Education Enrollment Rate for Recent High School Graduates

By State

How does your state compare to others in getting high school students to college? This chart shows the percentage of high school graduates in the 2011-2012 class who went on to attend a degree-granting postsecondary institution.
Source: Data are for 2012. National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics, Table 302.50

College Affordability

Research shows that campus diversity has a positive impact on student success. So how are colleges and universities in Texas doing to ensure that all students have equitable access to resources and opportunities?

The fact is, most elite colleges and universities in the U.S. produce a disproportionate percentage of the country’s “powerful,” who have influence in business, politics, and other aspects of society. They also over-enroll White students and under-enroll low-income students and students of color when compared to the makeup of the United States.


Average Net Price of Attendance at Four-Year Public Colleges

As a Percent of Median Family Income By State

The Average Net Price is the total cost a low-income student (Income $0 to $30,000) will pay after subtracting grant-based financial aid that students do not have to repay. Data are for students enrolled during the academic year 2015-16. Compared to median family income in 2015.
Sources: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and Census, American Community Survey

Student Outcomes

After decades of focusing on college access, especially for students of color and low-income students, education leaders should keep an equal emphasis on supporting students to graduation. It doesn’t mean much — and can even be financially disastrous — for a student to start college but never finish with a degree.

Unfortunately, there are inequities in graduation rates — from narrow to extreme — depending on the college students attend:

But there are also examples of colleges that are ensuring that more students make it to and through college.

See how colleges and universities in Texas are doing.


Six-Year Graduation Rate at Four-Year Colleges

By Race and Ethnicity

Graduation rate is the percent of first-time, full-time bachelor’s degree-seeking students who completed within six years of enrolling in the academic year starting fall 2010. (2010 fall cohort).
Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)