The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has come out with its annual review of national education infrastructures, and the study finds that the US pays more for education than any industrial nation but has a mediocre educational output.
It is clear that the calls that American education is "underfunded" don’t meet the facts. We spend an average of $10,240 per student in K-12 education, yet our students rate firmly in the middle of the pack, and our high-school graduation rate is below average.
If spending was the primary factor for making an educational system work, then the US should be firmly leading the world. Yet we are not, because unlike the rest of the industralized world, the US educational system does not stress performance. Foreign schoolchildren are tested far more frequently and under far more stringent standards than schoolchildren in the United States. They are expected to excel.
In the United States, educational spending is doled out under a practically socialist system that funds schools regardless of performance. There is no sense of competition, in fact, schools have every incentive not to improve test scores as that leads to more funding and attention. Our educational system places more emphasis on paperwork and bureaucracy than actually educating students.
If we ran our economy the same way we run our educational system, the United States would be a third world nation. Education is too important to the strength of this nation to not demand accountability and demand better performance for our education dollar. Until real reform like school vouchers and better accountability become a cornerstone of the US educational system, the US will continue to spend more and get less.