U.S. education spending is in line with spending in other developed countries, writes Megan McArdle on Bloomberg View. It’s higher in dollars per student and average as a percentage of gross domestic income.
“We spend more than many of our peers on college and late secondary education, less than a few on primary and early secondary school,” she writes. But “Japan and Switzerland, which spend less than we do, are hardly Third World hellholes.”
. . . there is obviously an inequality problem in our schools, but that the big problem is not at the college level, but rather in the primary and secondary schools that are overwhelmingly government-funded. And those disparities are also not primarily about the dollar amounts going into schools — Detroit spends well above the U.S. average per pupil, and yet one study found that half the population of the city was “functionally illiterate.”
Fixing bad schools might require spending more, she writes, but “it is just as likely that improvements will come from changing methods and reallocating resources.”