How Does the US Rank On Educational Achievement?

Are you smart? Are you well educated? Do you know what you “NEED” to know? Our educational system is an abject failure. The United States scored lower that the top twelves education systems on fourth grade reading fluency*. Here are some key findings from the OECD.

• The U.S. ranks 14th in the world in the percentage of 25-34 year-olds with higher education (42%).

• The odds that a young person in the U.S. will be in higher education if his or her parents do not have an upper secondary education are just 29% -- one of the lowest levels among OECD countries.

• The U.S ranks 28th in the percentage of 4-year-olds in early childhood education, with a 69% enrolment rate.

• Across all OECD countries, 30% of the expenditure on higher education comes from private sources, while in the U.S., 62% does.

• Teachers in the U.S. spend between 1,050 and 1,100 hours a year teaching – much more than in almost every other country.


Taking into account spending from public and private sources, the U.S. spends 7.3% of its GDP on all levels of education combined. This is well above the OECD average (6.2%), and more than all other OECD countries except Denmark (7.9%), Iceland (8.1%), Korea (8.0%) and New Zealand (7.4%) (Table B2.1). Across all levels of education, annual per-student spending by educational institutions in the U.S. is higher than in any other country, at USD 15 812 (Table B1.1a).**

The foregoing statistics are useful for academic assessment. The facts tell us that we spend much more to get much less benefit for our educational efforts. Our investment in education, although huge, has a terrible return. If the people who run the ship were executives, many would get the axe and the entire system would be reformed.

Overall we are all consumers, who run the economy with our purchases and bury ourselves in debt based on several statistics from many sources.