The DEMML™ blog is about the Distributable Educational Material Markup Language™,
an XML standard being developed by Grant Sheridan Robertson.
Learn more about learning more at

Friday, October 23, 2009

Some Education Statistics to Brighten Your Day

Of the 2.2 billion children worldwide there are anywhere from 33 million (1) to 121 million (2) who are not even enrolled in school. Countless more are enrolled but don't or can't attend. The average adult has spent only 6.2 years in school (3). Only 44% of people get to their senior year of high school (4) and only 28% even make it to college (5). Closer to home, the high-school drop-out rate in the U.S. is almost 9% (6). Only 70% ever graduate and only 32% are actually ready for college (7) if they do graduate. Although, 63% of high-school graduates enroll in college, 25% don’t make it to the end of their first year (8). In even the best educated areas of the country, only 33% make it all the way through (9). After taking thinner and thinner slices of the worldwide education pie, we can see we live in a world that is woefully uneducated. Almost every education-oriented organization in the world has the same solution to this problem: Produce more and better teachers. It sounds like a worthy goal. However, the world’s population is expanding exponentially while the number of colleges remains relatively constant. In addition, the average burn-out rate for teachers is about two years. As Malthusian as it may sound, there is absolutely no way the world can produce enough qualified teachers fast enough to keep up.

I originally gathered up these statistics for my class about GrantWriting. The point is not to depress you but to demonstrate that a drastic change in thinking is needed within the education community. Millions of dollars are granted to non-profit organizations every year for programs to increase the number of teachers available or to make a few more teachers available in some remote areas. I do not believe this will ever be enough. In fact, I am starting to believe that providing these "services" is starting to become a major industry, simply because the problem is so insurmountable. There will always be room for one more service agency. It is easy for anyone to demonstrate need simply by describing how bad things are in any one location. Heck you can't swing the proverbial dead cat without hitting on some location that needs better educational services. We need something that will completely change how we think of education. We must empower every individual to educate themselves (entirely on their own if necessary). I believe DEMML can be that change.


1: Children out of school, primary (most recent) by country. (n.d.). . Retrieved October 4, 2009, from

2: Anup Shah. (2009, March 22). Poverty Facts and Stats — Global Issues. Global Issues. Blog, . Retrieved October 4, 2009, from

3: Average years of schooling of adults (most recent) by country. (n.d.). . Retrieved October 4, 2009, from

4: Senior Secondary > Educational Attainment statistics - countries compared - NationMaster. (n.d.). . Retrieved October 4, 2009, from

5: Educational Attainment tertiary (most recent) by country. (n.d.). . Retrieved October 4, 2009, from

6: The NCES Fast Facts Tool provides quick answers to many education questions (National Center for Education Statistics). (n.d.). . Retrieved October 3, 2009, from

7: Jay P. Greene, Ph.D., & Greg Forster, Ph.D. (2003). Public High School Graduation and College Readiness Rates in the United States. Education Working Paper (p. 32). Center for Civic Innovation at the Manhattan Institute. Retrieved October 3, 2009, from

8: Kinzie, J. (. L. (2005). Understanding and Reducing College Student Departure (review). Journal of College Student Development, 46(2), 213-215. doi: 10.1353/csd.2005.0016.  

9: Getting in isn't enough - The Boston Globe. (2008, November 17). Newspaper, . Retrieved October 4, 2009, from

This post is Copyright © 2009 by Grant Sheridan Robertson.

No comments:

Post a Comment