July 3 2013

Spending More for Mediocrity

Vicki E. Alger

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development recently released its (mammoth) Education Indicators at a Glance report. The indicators aren’t pretty for the U.S.

We officially outspend 34 OECD countries, an average of $15,171 per student per year counting pre-school through postsecondary. Counting just through high school, the U.S. spends an average of $12,464—second only to Switzerland. (See indicator B-1)

And, over the past decade the proportion of private funding for public education has increased from 28 percent up to 31 percent—25 percent of which comes from family expenditures. (See indicator B-3)

Yet for all that spending experts find that:

While 24 countries trail the U.S. rate of improvement, another 24 countries appear to be improving at a faster rate. Nor is U.S. progress sufficiently rapid to allow it to catch up with the leaders of the industrialized world.

We need to put parents in charge of education funding, and let it follow students rather than trickle down through schooling bureaucracies. Maybe then we’ll start seeing real results from all our spending.

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