Education at a Glance 2007
This newsletter summarizes the US briefing paper for the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) Education 2007 at a Glance report.
The data shows that the US education system substantially favors those who can afford the best schools and who can afford to go to college. Then, the US economy holds the largest rewards for those who have graduated from college, and the biggest penalties for those who do not complete high school, providing few outlets or second chances to cross that gap upon leaving school. Other developed countries appear to be rapidly expanding their university-educated, but without the education spending and income disparities of the US.
Data from the briefing paper
37% of the US population ages 55-64 have some higher education, which is substantially over the average of other developed countries, and is first out of the 30 countries surveyed. This figure is pretty stable in the US; the number of college graduates as a percentage of the population is basically flat, while most of the rest of the world is rapidly increasing their supply of college grads. Thus, if you look at 25-34 year-olds, the US is 10th.
In the US, people with college degrees earned 75% more than those with high school degrees. Ten years ago, this differential was 68%. There are only three countries with disparities that wide. The rate of return on a college degree is about 13.5%, slightly more for males and slightly lower for females. College graduates also have lower unemployment rates.
In 2005, the probability that a young person will enter higher ed at some point in his or her life was 64%, as opposed to 57% in 2000; it is 71% for women and 56% for men. This compares with 54% as an average in other developed countries. On the other hand, only 54% of entrants to higher education in the US obtain degrees, which is last.
While US universities are the most popular for international students, with 22% of all international students coming to the US in 2005 (the UK is second with 12%), this is 4.5 percentage points lower than it was in 2000. 63% of the foreign students in the US come from Asia.
The US has stabilized at about 87% of the population with high school degrees over the last 30 years. While this was first 30 years ago, it is now 10th. Only 76% of the US population graduate high school with their class, 20th among the developed countries, with 5 countries above 90%.
The US has the 3rd greatest income disparity between those without high school degrees and those without, a person without a high school degree earns 2/3 what someone with a degree earns. 42% of those without high school degrees have incomes at less than half of the US median, 31% of those men and 56% of those women are unemployed ( as compared with 27% and 51% in other countries).
Increasingly, then, the US has lower HS graduation rates than other developed nations along with a greater penalty for not graduating; and lower university completion rates, along with a greater financial incentive to graduate college.
Furthermore, 56% of those with higher education degrees also receive training at their jobs, as opposed to 32% of those with high school degrees and only 12% of those with no high school degrees.
Total educational spending in the US was at 7.4% of GDP in 2004, second highest among OECD countries. Spending is growing between 6% and 7% a year, while 1/3 of OECD countries are seeing declining dollars. 36.4% of US spending is going toward higher education, as opposed to 23.9% on average in other countries.
In primary and secondary schools, 55% of the spending in on compensation to teachers, while the average in other countries is 63.5%. 25.7% is devoted to compensation of other staff, while the average was 15.5%.
On the surface, this seems that the US is wasting money on non-teaching personnel. Does anyone have any data on where the US's other 10% more paid to “other staff” than other nations goes?
US teachers earn the 12th highest salaries. However, teachers earn just under the average salary in the US, while in the average OECD country they earn 28% more than the average.
Spending on primary and secondary education increase by 40% between 1995 and 2004, while enrollments increased by 7%. This resulted in a net increase per student of 30%, which is lower than the OECD average of 38% per student.
The US pays $8,800 per primary student (2nd highest) and $9,900 per secondary student (4th highest) against averages of $5,800 and $7,300. In terms of percentage of GDP, the US is right in the middle.
Class sizes in the US are 23.1 in primary and 24.3 in secondary, which compare with OECD averages of 21.5 and 24.1.