Saturday, July 21, 2007

AZ`Gov. Napolitano on Innovation America

AZ Gov. Janet Napolitano kicked off the 99th annual meeting of the National Governors Association, a three-day conference that will focus on economic development, education reform and global warming, among other issues.

Much of the focus will be on Napolitano's chosen initiative: Innovation America. The centerpiece of her one-year reign as head of the NGA, Innovation America is an effort to reshape the nation's education system to create a skilled workforce that can feed a future economy built on innovation and ingenuity.

It's a complex undertaking aimed at a simple question that Napolitano posed today: "How does the United States maintain and grow its place in the world?"

Read more here.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Back to School Facts: 2007-2008

Summertime is winding down, and summer vacations are coming to an end. It’s back-to-school time! It’s a time that many children eagerly anticipate — catching up with old friends, making new ones and settling into a new daily routine. Parents and children alike are scanning the newspapers and Web sites looking for upcoming sales to shop for a multitude of school supplies and the latest clothing fads and essentials. This edition of Facts for Features highlights the many statistics associated with the return to classrooms by our nation’s students and teachers.

Source: US Census

Back-to-School Shopping

$7.1 billion
The amount of money spent at family clothing stores in August 2006. Only in November and December — the holiday shopping season — were sales significantly higher. Similarly, sales at bookstores in August 2006 totaled $2.1 billion, an amount approached in 2006 only by sales in January and December.

For back-to-school shopping, choices of retail establishments abound: In 2005, there were 24,659 family clothing stores, 6,305 children and infants clothing stores, 26,416 shoe stores, 9,501 office supplies and stationery stores, 23,195 sporting goods stores, 11,077 bookstores and 9,589 department stores.


75.8 million
The number of children and adults enrolled in school throughout the country in October 2005 — from nursery school to college. That amounts to about one-fourth of the U.S. population 3 and older.

Pre-K through 12 Enrollment

Percentage of 3- and 4-year-olds enrolled in school in October 2005.

Percentage of children enrolled in kindergarten who attended all day, as of October 2005.

55.8 million
The projected number of students to be enrolled in the nation’s elementary and high schools (grades K-12) this fall. (Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2008)

Projected percentage of elementary and high school students enrolled in private schools this fall. (Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2008)

Percentage of elementary and high school students who were minorities, as of October 2005.

Percentage of elementary and high school students with at least one foreign-born parent in October 2005.

Percentage of children 12 to 17 who participated in sports as of 2003, which was the most popular extracurricular activity. About one-third of children this age participated in club activities and 29 percent in lessons. Lessons include those taken after school or on the weekend in subjects like music, dance, language, computers or religion.

Percentage of children 12 to 17 who were enrolled in school and academically “on-track ” (i.e., enrolled in school at or above the grade level for peers their age) as of 2003.

Percentage of children 12 to 17 who were in a special class for gifted students or did advanced work in any subject, such as honors and advanced placement classes, as of 2003.

Percentage of children 12 to 17 who had ever attended or been enrolled in first grade or higher and had changed schools at some point as of 2003.


10.5 million
Number of school-age children (5 to 17) who speak a language other than English at home, about one in five in this age group. Most of them (7.5 million) speak Spanish at home. (Source: 2005 American Community Survey)


30.1 million
Average number of children participating each month in the national school lunch program in 2006. (Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2008)

10 billion
The nation’s total apple production, in pounds, in 2006. The chances are good that the apples your children present to their teachers or enjoy for lunch were grown in Washington state, which accounted for more than half of the nation’s total production.


18 million
The projected number of students enrolled in the nation’s colleges and universities this fall. This is up from 12.8 million 20 years ago. (Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2008)

Percentage of all college students 25 and older in October 2005; 56 percent of these older students attended school part time.

Percentage of undergraduates enrolled in four-year colleges in October 2005. Of those enrolled in such schools, 81 percent attended full time.

Percentage of 18- and 19-year-olds enrolled in college in 2005.

Percentage of undergraduates who were women in October 2005. Among graduate students, the corresponding percentage was even higher: 59 percent.

Learning and Earning

Percentage of high school students who were employed as of October 2005.

Percentage of full-time college students who were employed as of October 2005.

How Many Schools?

Number of public elementary and secondary schools in 2003-04. The corresponding number of private elementary and secondary schools was 28,384. , Tables 228 and 252.

Number of institutions of higher learning that granted college degrees in 2005. (Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2008)

1.1 million
Number of students who were home-schooled in 2003. That was 2 percent of all students 5 to 17.

The number of public charter schools nationwide in 2004-05. These schools, granted a charter exempting them from selected state and local rules and regulations, enrolled 887,000 students. (Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2008)

Teachers and Other School Personnel

6.8 million
Number of teachers in the United States in 2006. Some 2.7 million teach at the elementary and middle school level. The remainder include those teaching at the postsecondary, secondary and preschool and kindergarten levels. (Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2008)

Average annual salary of public elementary and secondary school teachers in Connecticut as of the 2003-2004 school year — the highest of any state. Teachers in South Dakota received the lowest pay — $33,200. The national average was $46,800. High school principals earned $86,938 annually in 2004-05. , Tables 240 and 241

Average hourly wage for the nation’s school bus drivers in 2004-05. Custodians earned $12.61, while cafeteria workers made $10.33. , Table 241


14.2 million
Number of computers available for classroom use in the nation’s elementary and secondary schools as of the 2005-2006 school year. That works out to one computer for every four students. , Table 248

Percentage of public schools with Internet access as of fall 2003. , Table 246

83% and 43%
Percentage of children 3 to 17 using a computer and the Internet, respectively, at school as of fall 2003.

Among children 3 to 17 accessing the Internet in fall 2003, whether at home, school or elsewhere, the percentage who used it to complete school assignments. This was the most common reason for children to use the Internet.

Among children 3 to 17 using a computer at home in fall 2003, the percentage who used it to complete school assignments. This was the second most common home computer use for children, behind playing games.

The Rising Cost of College

Average tuition, room and board (for in-state students) at the nation’s four-year public colleges and universities for an entire academic year (2005-06). That is more than double the corresponding figure in 1990. (Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2008)

Average tuition, room and board at the nation’s four-year private colleges and universities for one academic year (2005-06). That also is more than double the corresponding 1990 figure. (Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2008)

Average amount of aid received by full-time college students in 2001-02. More than half of college students receive some form of financial aid from outside their families to help pay for their education.

The Rewards of Staying in School

Average annual 2005 earnings of workers 18 and older with an advanced degree. This compares with $54,689 a year for those with bachelor’s degrees, $29,448 for those with a high school diploma only and $19,915 for those without a high school diploma.

Average starting salary offered to bachelor’s degree candidates in petroleum engineering in 2006, among the highest of any field of study. At the other end of the spectrum were those majoring in the humanities; they were offered an average of $31,183. (Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2008)


3.3 million
Projected number of high school diplomas that will be awarded in the 2007-08 school year. (Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2008)

3 million
Number of college degrees expected to be conferred in the 2007-08 school year. (Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2008)

Government Spending on Public Education

The per-pupil expenditure on public elementary and secondary education nationally in 2005. New York ($14,119) spent the most among states or state equivalents, followed by New Jersey ($13,800), the District of Columbia ($12,979), Vermont ($11,835) and Connecticut ($11,572). Utah ($5,257) spent the least per student, followed by Arizona ($6,261), Idaho ($6,283), Mississippi ($6,575) and Oklahoma ($6,613).


Among households with a child in the local public school, the percentage who expressed dissatisfaction with the schools in 2003. Fifteen percent of these households said they would prefer a different school for their child

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Massachusetts Steps Up Life Science Efforts

Joined by legislative leaders at a special Joint Session of the Legislature, Governor Deval Patrick today filed legislation providing for a major investment in and expansion of the Life Sciences industry in Massachusetts. The legislation is a comprehensive plan to make Massachusetts the global leader in the life sciences industry.

The plan is a significant milestone in moving forward on the administration’s 10-year, $1 billion investment package that will both enhance the Commonwealth’s already nationally recognized assets in the fields of medicine and science, and fill gaps in federal funding to strengthen the state’s capacity to support life science progress from the idea stage through the production and commercialization stages.

Read more here.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Dubai Building the Tallest

Developers of a 1,680-foot skyscraper still under construction in oil-rich Dubai claimed Saturday that it has become the world's tallest building, surpassing Taiwan's Taipei 101 which has dominated the global skyline at 1,667 feet since 2004.

The Burj Dubai is expected to be finished by the end of 2008 and its planned final height has been kept secret. The state-owned development company Emaar Properties, one of the main builders in rapidly developing Dubai, said only that the tower would stop somewhere above 2,275 feet.

When completed, the skyscraper will feature more than 160 floors, 56 elevators, luxury apartments, boutiques, swimming pools, spas, exclusive corporate suites, Italian fashion designer Giorgio Armani's first hotel, and a 124th floor observation platform.

After North American and Asian cities marked their 20th century economic booms with skyscrapers, the Gulf grew eager to show off its success with ever taller buildings. In Dubai, long an oil-rich Gulf symbol of rapid economic growth, the building reflects the city's hunger for global prestige.

"It's a symbol of Dubai as a city of the world," said Greg Sang, the project director for Emaar Properties.

Read more here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Happiness and Economic Development

Discussion and research on "development" emerged in the middle of the 20th century. Since World War II the focus of international attention has been development in developing countries. And since the implementation of the "First UN Development Decade" by the UN General Assembly in the 1960s, development has become a prominent research topic. However, the concept has shifted from concentrating on GDP growth to more comprehensive social, environmental and economic conditions.

Beginning in the 1970s, with the expansion of the meaning of development, the focus shifted from developing countries to developed Western countries. Concepts such as quality of life and indexes of happiness or well-being began to be proposed. Researchers in psychology, economics, sociology and public policy studied the topic.

With this perspective, people realized that economic growth should not be the goal of life. It is merely a means of promoting human happiness. After distinguishing the ends from the means, academic circles began to conduct studies on the relationship between the sense of happiness in people and economic growth.

Many studies have been conducted on the impact of economic growth on happiness. For example, a study by the University of Leicester ranked Bhutan as the planet's eighth-happiest place. Nevertheless, statistics generally show that the more developed a nation's economy is, the happier its people feel. This shows that a sense of happiness relies to a degree on economic development. But beyond that point, the marginal utility of material wealth will diminish.
Well-being index studies show that the meaning of happiness is not limited to the subjective sense of happiness. It also includes objective appraisals of living and development conditions. In other words, the concept of happiness has a material level of social welfare and economic conditions as its foundation, as well as the non-material level of things like culture, education, social networks and the living environment.

Read more here.

Monday, July 16, 2007


Greensboro's Downtown: More Residents, Fewer Jobs

In recent years, the revitalization of Greensboro's downtown has produced some impressive numbers: $265 million in new construction and renovations, about 50 new restaurants and entertainment venues and 275 new residential units, with another 285 planned. But those developments haven't translated into more jobs. Just more residents. Between 2000 and 2006, employment downtown lost more than 700 jobs, a decline of 3.6 percent.

Read more here.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Whatcom County, Washington: Gearing Up for Tech

With the heavy-hitters of high tech nearby in Seattle, it has been a struggle at times for Whatcom County to stand on its own in the industry.

When the Seattle area was enjoying the dot-com boom in the late 1990s and early 2000, the thinking by the local economic development leaders was to try and lure companies to this area, touting the quality of life factors. Although one company, Logos Bible Software, did make the move to Whatcom County and has grown since then, it became apparent that another strategy was needed: Try to expand what was already here and encourage people with great ideas to get started.

Read more here.