According to an international study, the rest of the world is catching up to the U.S. in educational attainment. Some 87 percent of Americans 25 to 34 have finished high school, which ranks 10th in the world.
“They’re catching up with you in the proportion that finish school (and) the proportion that go to college,” said Barry McGaw, director of education for the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which develops the yearly rankings.
“The one area you remain ahead is how much you spend,” McGaw told U.S. reporters Monday. “They don’t need to catch up with you on quality, because many of them are already ahead.”
The U.S. ranks second, behind Canada, in the percentage of adults with a four-year college degree: 38 percent. But other countries are sending more young people to college, narrowing the gap.
The U.S. spends an average of $10,871 per student, more than any other country. In addition, the U.S. “has the highest number of teaching hours per school year in the primary and high school grades, and the second highest for middle-school students.” U.S. teachers are paid more than teachers in most developed countries.
U.S. teen-agers have average academic skills compared to students in other developed countries, but much loftier ambitions.
. . . U.S. students’ reading performance sits around the middle of a 27-nation pack, just five points higher than average; math performance is five points lower than average. U.S. students also rank below average in high school graduation rates and just about average in school “engagement,” or how much they participate and feel a sense of belonging.
But when asked what kind of job they expect to hold by the time they’re 30, 80.5% of U.S. students said they’d have a white-collar, high-skilled job, far exceeding the average of 62.2%. U.S. girls had even higher expectations of themselves, with 85.8% expecting a top job by age 30. Among all nations, only students in Mexico had higher expectations.
America’s best students are as good as the best in the world; our worst students drag down average scores.
Via Education Gadfly.