The accuracy of the 2010 census has significant implications for the education of our nation’s school children. 2010 census data will directly affect how more than $400 billion annually is allocated to local, state and tribal governments over the next 10 years. For this funding to be allocated fairly and accurately, the goal of the decennial census is to count everybody, count them only once and count them in the right place. Additionally, every month of every year, the American Community Survey (ACS) is sent to a rolling sample of addresses throughout the nation to produce updated estimates annually of important socio‐economic indicators about the nation’s population. The ACS provides the U.S. Department of Education with the most comprehensive data on school enrollment and educational attainment. How are census data used to help improve education and provide for our school children? Census data are also used to help policymakers address specific functions, needs and challenges students might face in their communities, including drawing school district boundaries, determining new school construction, providing direct aid to schools that serve children with limited English proficiency, determining illiteracy levels and the socio‐economic conditions of school‐age children, measuring changes in education levels across communities so employers can determine where to locate new jobs, and job training. Furthermore, census data are used to help allocate approximately $26 billion annually in education funding (data from fiscal year 2007). What education programs directly benefit from census data? Data from the census provide federal, state and district governments with benchmarks for determining education program eligibility and for applying financial aid allocation formulas. Census information is also used for funding allocations for the following programs: Safe and Drug Free Schools programs; special education preschool programs; reforming elementary and secondary school programs that serve Native American students; Title I grants to local education agencies; Title III grants to local education agencies to supplement services for English language learners; Improving Teacher Quality State Grants; educational technology grants; rural education programs; Impact Aid; Even Start; and Comprehensive School Reform Program. What can you do to help ensure an accurate census?
• Devote time to building a greater understanding of the purpose and benefits of the census. Share the message that participation in the census is both important and safe. • Work with schools and community centers to spark conversations about the importance of the census. • Talk with local educators about how information on the census can be used in schools. The census is a great opportunity to learn about our country’s history. For more information about the 2010 Census, visit 2010census.gov.
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Way to go Wisconsin! Wisconsin Leads Nation in Census Response!