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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

U.S. spends more on schools, gets less

The U.S. spends more on education than our competitors, but gets less brains for the buck, writes Dominic Rushe in The Guardian.

The US averaged $16,268 a year on education (including college and trade school) in 2014, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) report of education indicators, he notes. The global average of $10,759.

“Children in countries as diverse as Canada, China, Estonia, Germany, Finland, Netherland, New Zealand and Singapore consistently outrank their US counterparts on the basics of education,” Rushe writes.

The U.S. has more income inequality than other OECD countries and does worse at helping lower-income students succeed.

The U.S. doesn’t have much in common with the top-scoring countries, Singapore and South Korea, on OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which tests mathematics, reading and science skills every three years.

But take a look at Canada.

Forty percent of Canada’s students live in Ontario, where nearly 30 percent of the population are immigrants, Rushe writes.

Not only did Ontario students score fifth in the world in reading on the PISA exam, but  “children of immigrants perform compatibly with their peers with Canadian-born parents in educational achievement.”

How do they do it? “In 2013 teacher training was revamped – lengthening training and reducing the number of slots available in order to improve quality,” he writes. “Decision-making is local but there is a national focus on personalized learning, flexibility and high standards.”

I’d like to hear less about Finland and Singapore, more about Ontario.

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