by Dr. Terry Stoops
Former Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
A week and a half ago, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) published their annual “Education at a Glance” report. The bottom line is that the United States spends more on education than any other nation.
The United States spent more than $11,000 per elementary student in 2010 and more than $12,000 per high school student. When researchers factored in the cost for programs after high school education such as college or vocational training, the United States spent $15,171 on each young person in the system – more than any other nation covered in the report.
That sum was slightly higher than some developed countries and it far surpassed others. Switzerland’s total spending per student was $14,922 while Mexico averaged $2,993 in 2010. The average OECD nation spent $9,313 per young person.
Postsecondary education aside, spending on K-12 education in the United States was far above the OECD average. In 2010 (latest available), the U.S. was among the top five nations in elementary and secondary education expenditures but was not among the top five nations in student performance.