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U.S. Education Spending and Performance vs. The World [INFOGRAPHIC]

We’ve put together this infographic that compares the United States’ education spend and performance versus eleven countries.  The U.S. is the clear leader in total annual spending, but ranks 9th in Science performance and 10th in Math.

During the most recent State of the Union Address, President Obama put out the call to “prepare 100,000 new teachers in the fields of science and technology and engineering and math.”  While the need is there to improve student performance in these subjects, the question remains: Are Americans ready to rise to the occasion?

Interested in making a difference in education? You can pursue the following degrees from The USC Rossier School of Education:

Master in the Arts of Teaching
Master in the Arts of Teaching – TESOL
Doctor of Education in Organizational Change and Leadership

How much does annual spending per child impact educational outcomes?  What role will teachers play in improving math and science scores? How are you making a change in education? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

U.S. Education versus the World via Master of Arts in Teaching at USC

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  • Lewagner

    What was the measure used to compare the countries in their math and science performance?

    • Lukejf01

      Pretty sure it the SAT Reasoning Tests in those areas.

      • Iowehfw


  • Orlando36

    A blanket percentage of 33.7% of population is school age for any country? That’s a statistically ridiculous calculation. The birth rate in Japan is 7.41 births per thousand, while in the US it is 13.83 per thousand, nearly double. The average age of a resident of Japan is 44.6, while in the US it is 36.8. There is a higher percentage of school age children in the US than in Japan. Without the real numbers, the cost per student calculation is meaningless.

    • Hellmut Lotz

      Yes, that’s ridiculous.

    • Southelitegurl

      actually they calculate the cost per student by asking the countries, its not by how many students live in the country, the cost per student can be found out by looking into the government funding and where they seperate it. They dont “calculate” how much they spenc, its just a known fact

  • Matt E

    Nice work, this is a great way to explain the data.

  • Hellmut Lotz

    Did you control for comparative buying power? This comparison seems specious. A dollar in the USA is not a dollar in Finland or Sweden.

  • Acmehuang

    American people enjoy a much better system, and have more talented teachers; teachers are devoted and accommodating. People vote for the American system and way of life by emigrating from other parts of the globe to the US.

  • Cincybearcatfan

    What is the comparison between the expenditure for education vs. the total expenditures of that country?  That would be more helpful.  Is the US spending more or less, compared to total expenditures, than the other countries listed?

    • Nagasakisue

      I just looked that up. As a percentage of GNP, the US is 37th in education figures, or was in 2002. Cuba was first.

      • justin


  • Sell House Denver

    wow USA is contributing maximum in education sector

  • Elle

    What is the meaning of the overlap between the balloons?  This would imply to a statistician that there is some covariance between the overlapping countries’ performances. 

    Also, the size of the balloons is misleading.  The first bar graph correctly shows the relative spending by the different countries because it shows per capita spending.  The U.S. per-capita spending is about 33% higher than that of the United Kingdom, but the relative size of the balloons would draw the reader’s attention to the raw figures, which don’t take into account the size of the population. 

    • Timothy J. Grossano

       Thank you. Yes. Best comment of them all, by far. Good critical eye. Next questions are, how is the money being allocated, and where is the waste? It may not be accurate to blame the spending on teachers, and teachers unions.

  • Brenda Brenda

    I admit, I have not been on this webpage in a long time. however it was another joy to see It is such an important topic and ignored by so many, even professionals.


  • Lynne

    Regardless of how confusing/misleading the presentation of this information is, the US is failing educationally.  Parents are largely involved in not setting standards and expectations for their kiddos.  Teachers alone can’t get a kid to want to learn unless it is supported by the family.  I suspect an ethnically heterogeneous population is also a problem in that there are so many different levels of expectation and experience within those ethnicities.  Compare this to Finland where parental expectations are very very similar from family to family.  Just a thought.

    • Magic shoebox

      Ethnic diversity creates variety among a group and as such they become highly adaptive to new and changing environments, giving the group a distinct competitive advantage over the homogenous group. This quality has created vast opportunities in America and continues to be a competitive advantage in the world market. Sadly many Americans no longer have a commitment to leveraging America’s unique competitive advantage and seem more interested in making political hay out of humanity’s tendencies to be suspicious of groups that differ from their own.

  • Autumn Roodbeen

    One: The graphic is crazy looking. I understand what it is trying to get across that as supposedly one of the world leaders, who spend much more than many countries on each student, the U.S. is behind other countries in their testing. But do we really need new teachers trained in those areas? Wouldn’t it make sense to train the teachers who are already in the classroom to up their standards. Just because something may be a little broken doesn’t mean we should replace all the parts. Perhaps just a tune up is in order.

    • cinforest62

      Tune up the teacher? – Excuse me, but how about lets tune up the system so that there is accountability on all ends and not just on ours (the teacher’s)? Do you know how many hours are spent on remediation during and after the school day with students whose parents know what they are supposed to be doing to help but then nothing gets done at home? Many of us do have very high standards for our students but our work gets in the way of all the soccer practices, music and dance lessons or the fact that it might be the other parent’s night with the child – so, how could any work or studying get done? As a primary school teacher, we are not allowed to give these students a “0” but provide more opportunity for them to get the work done.
      So, until you have walked in our shoes, don’t make comments putting more blame on the classroom teacher. We are done with No Child Left Behind and having to allow all of the outrageous behaviours to exist in our classrooms because parents don’t know how to set boundaries and teach respect for the classroom.
      Sore point, why yes, it is!

  • mimi

    Yes, the data is confusing and possibly misleading in many areas. However, I am sure that this information can be substantiated in many other studies.  The question then becomes how are the educational expenditures being allocated in the US vs Other Nations.  How are our dollars being spent within our infrastructure as compared to other countries.

  • Ana

    so Finland rocks

    • mimi

      Sad to say, but; it looks that way

  • Sbivins0904

    Like others, I wonder where the money is being spent. It appears that the U.S. is spending so much money on education than other countries. Unfortunately, the chart demonstrates that other countries are doing better with less money. Another issue that I agree with is the fact that teaching should begin in the home. Teachers are asked to wear so many hat, and they are held accountable for so much. Parents need to be held accountable for their children, and they need to keep in mind that their children may behave in a different way at school than they do at home.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe we’re wasting money on teachers when we should be spending more on the home. I’ve more than a sneaking suspicion that kids growing up in an overstressed environment are going to reflect that stress in their academic performance.

  • Luke Luther

    Schools use supplies, have food expenditures, maintenance and upkeep.  Is all this taken into account?  Do the Finnish schools have the same amount of overhead costs?  Who pays for the books and education materials the students use?  What is the real cost analysis for comparing the schools across the board?

  • Angelina Stela

    It is little confusing but it is shown that expenditure in US is highest in education and though in litaracy level on third position. This show that there is lake of some factor in education system of US.
    automotive mechanic training

    • Magics Shoebox

      See my above post and it explains the source of the lake that is drownig our public  education system

  • Sameer Khan

    Nice infographics !! Best part to notice is that US spends highest and gets very less as per the industry standards. It simply highlights the importance of the immigrants to US and their contribution in their technological development.

    I think India should also be included in this chart.

    Sameer Khan’s BLOG

    • alan

           Though I do appreciate the hard work and intelligence of our Indian Scince Imports, I do not agree with the impotence of immigrants to the US and their contributions. Most of the immigrants are illegal and drain our systems, not improve them.

      • Sailuralan

        That should have been Science and importence. I R edumakated!

      • Sameer Khan

        Well I have been to US but I know what kind of people go from to US. And they are not unskilled and stupid people.

  • Firedeptmusic

    Im Pretty Sure that not many countries are building 60 million dollar high school football stadiums like they do in texas and that all goes into those education numbers.

  • Magic Shoebox

    How much of this is spent on actual instruction vs new textbooks, new testing programs, new assessment modules? As a parent I watch teachers and parents advocate for small classrooms, but what we get instead is a new assessment program or a new achievement test, which brings with it new textbooks and new experts to teach school districts how to perform better. But what we don’t get is more teachers, smaller class sizes, and more engagement in the classroom.  But then teachers and parents don’t have lobbyist and sales reps explaining all the joys and benefits of small classrooms. They aren’t wining and dining the school board or the state congress with slick pamphlets with cool graphs demonstrating  how effective these latest assessment programs, textbooks and modules work. And besides, this new program will create new jobs and a new industry, so it will work. Of course the hiring more teachers would create more jobs too. But they don’t work for as cheap as those printers in China and the big executives can’t increase their companies marketshare unless their is some new, great product to sell. And since the Civil War you can’t buy people and rent them out so there is not corporate profit in just hiring more teachers.  So instead of doing what teachers and parents know will work, we do what is best for our corporate system. We create jobs. We create a new market for new educational resources, but they really don’t solve the problem because if they did, the educational resources publishing and manufacturing industry wouldn’t have new products to sell, so school districts would not have to buy new, expensive programs and as a result, some guy in China wouldn’t have a job. So the system doesn’t really do much for education, but it sure does create a lot of economic activity.  And isnt’ that how we measure everything in the USA anymore, by the amount of private sector economic activity it creates?

    • Blangmaack

      omg yes you definitely are onto something here….  I beleive that we should be looking at what we already have that WORKS for our students and USE IT not replace it!  Teachers are asked to change, try, invent, create, and even pay for all these NEW ideas and what we really want to do is teach to our students how to learn using the skills we have aquired as teachers/parents and productive citizens to help our students learn.  Really we need to focus on what already exists and works for us to help them.  I also think that there is waaaaay to much emphasis put on testing and teaching to the test.  TEACH TO THEY LEARN even if you don’t get to every part of that test.  If it was up to me I would eliminate test grading should be understanding

    • OldMan

       Spoken like a true Liberal. Blame education on business. I lay more blame on grading on curves,  affirmative action, and relaxed standards to allow less than capable students an edge up. When you do that, you wind up with a less than capable graduate and a less than capable teacher. Maybe they are more likely to buy into commercial hype than someone who had to make it on their own without any of those “advantages.”

      Furthermore, when you add tenure, and teacher unions ( two mechanisms solely designed to protect bad teachers, in my opinion), we wind up with even more less than capable students. It’s a spiraling cycle downward exactly like we are seeing.  In my business it’s called garbage in equals garbage out.

      We need to learn in this country that most of the time when you give someone a break it doesn’t help them, it hurts all of us. There is no way to homogenize society without lowering the common denominator of standards for all of us. If you want to increase our ratings in education you need to set the bar high. Sure some won’t make it. That’s life. We’re not all cut out to be brain surgeons and rocket scientists but we do need some of them.

  • Fairlydiscreet

    The science score could be lowered by including Intelligent Design I guess.

  • Kshap24

    What about China? Include 12 countries but can’t add China, a contending global super power?

    • Matt

      Chinese guy ^

  • Peiceofpie

    Add a citation so i can cite this source

  • Omar Ismail

    I actually don’t think education is failing according to this. You’re just bigger… as a % GDP/Capita, you’re spending about as much as Mexico. 

    Using some crude assumptions here:
    Mexico pay their average wage per 7 students.
    You pay the US average wage per 6 students. 

    As a result you’re doing substantially better. 

    Now Finland is winning, so lets look at them. Finland have almost identical spending to you (US wage per 6.1, Fin wage per 6.2), so now yeah, you need to improve, but keep in mind US education spending has only recently jumped to those levels too. 

    I mean this is showing things accurately. I just think it could be put a little more into context than what it is.

    Historical funding > Current funding.
    Vs average wage might be a better indicator than just outright spend.

  • Reno carpet cleaning

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  • Christopher Hagen

    The conclusion on the issue of education is clear and, surprise, surprise, it’s the same conclusion we must make with any government program — they don’t work well and, in practice, eventually bankrupt us.  We must move away from a Government monopoly on education and promote charter schools and competition to best educate our children.  Private enterprise is the “American Way” for a reason — because it works.  So long as we have a government monopoly of our education system, we will never accel, it’s as simple as that.  Good money spent on the wrong answer does not yield good results.  Tax all you want, but that isn’t the right answer.  Yours in Faith for a better America and a better world.

  • bttab

    As with any blanket stat, you need to look deeper to understand what is happening.  US spending is high because it includes all the exclusive, expensive private schools.  Finland has no private schools to speak of.  So, it’s interesting to compare *public* education spending instead:  The US and Finland are about on par.  And yet Finland greatly “outperforms” — but careful, because that’s global performance, which would include the privately schooled US students in the comparison.  That says that the US public schools perform even worse compared to Finnish public schools. 

    So what’s going on?  It’s all about income inequality.  The US measure of inequality (the GINI coeff) is about twice that of Finland.  So, we have many more poor people, and poverty suppresses scholastic performance.  Moreover, the effect is amplified when poverty persists over generations, and when it is geographically segregated — poor neighborhoods vs. rich.  The result is schools that systematically underperform.  The best students and teachers flee.  And no amount of spending on the schools themselves can correct the problem, because they are embedded in a larger context that will always suppress performance.  Add lots of these to your (US) average, and the numbers go down. 

    The birds-eye view, then, is a comparison between an egalitarian society (Finland) and the everyman-for-himself US culture.  Fins value an egalitarian society so much that they are willing to pay for it with higher taxes.  Americans universally want taxes lowered, no matter what the current level may be, so that they can individually pocket more.  (Voting records substantiate this.)  Fins think “We”, and Americans think “Me”.  The resulting societal costs in the States are high, with this issue of educational performance among them.  (Violent crime is another.)  So, yes, Finland rocks, as someone said here, no so much because of their particular school policies but because of the generally greater equality among Fins, which breeds all kinds of advantages — better schooling, safer society, and more. 

    • CJ

      The problem is not that fins think “we” and Americans think “me” … The problem is in this country destroying the work ethic, the dream to succeed, because due to our cultural mix, everyone is afraid of offending the other, so the good beliefs, ones that are positive, that work….. Are destroyed in this country. So what does this prove? I think we can deduce
      It for ourselves.

    • CJ

      The problem is not that fins think “we” and Americans think “me” … The problem is in this country destroying the work ethic, the dream to succeed, because due to our cultural mix, everyone is afraid of offending the other, so the good beliefs, ones that are positive, that work….. Are destroyed in this country. So what does this prove? I think we can deduce
      It for ourselves.

      • SDC

         Japan is an overwhelmingly polite culture. Much more so that in the U.S., but if you check the stats they are about even with Americans. While the culture of political correctness can serve to suppress, I don’t think it’s too much to ask people to be culturally sensitive, especially if you are a member of the dominant majority who knows nothing of real oppression (I’m a straight, Caucasian male, by the way). Being sensitive to other cultures, I think is better than being fearful, hateful, dismissive and even violent. It may not be the solution, but it’s certainly not the problem.

    • Jack

      States could still allocate spending better than our federal government could. There would be a greater sense of unity amongst citizens to pay for education within their respective state borders because the system would be more transparent. We could more easily see the disconnect between spending and performance if the greater responsibilities were localized. Decentralizing power largely decentralizes money, which would coincide with the egalitarian views you bring up, as well.

      • Jenny Hrvatska

         Jack, I’m not sure what you are referring to with regard to allocating spending and the federal government. While school districts receive money from both the federal and state governments, in most cases state funding dwarfs federal funding. Most decisions about how to spend that money is made locally. In NY state people vote on school budgets every year. If they approve spending increases they’re well aware that they’ll see a tax increase.  This is true in many other states as well.

    • Jenny Hrvatska

       Public schools in NY state spend an average of $15K per year per student.  I live in a small, not terribly well off rural school district in central NY.  Like all the other school districts around here our budget is about $15k per student.  The state with the lowest average spending per student is Utah, which spends about as much as Germany.  It’s not like private education is any cheaper in the US. Private schools cost even more, and when you factor out variables like demographics and family income of the students, they don’t perform any better. Whether it’s public or private schools, the US pays more and gets less.  This is a cultural problem that goes beyond income inequality or whether government can provide services more efficiently than private industry. 

    • Anonymous

      I dont think it is fair to compare a country of 5.6 mln people w/a country the size of the United States.  I agree w/some of your comments, especially when poverty hits the second generation. 

      I do think the only way to improve will be through a cultural change in the poverty areas.  There are many success stories but regretably far too many failures. 

      How about if family receiving govt funding, you will receive a ‘bonus’ if your child receives 90% score, I dont know, but current system is not working.

      • Dalelittle

         I think the current system is not working because too much time is spent on teaching things like cultures, ideology and other issues and evidently, not enough time teaching math and science.

        • Truculent Sheep


        • Anonymous

          Parents are spending too much time working… NOT enough time with their kids. As simple as that!

    • RTrask

      Excuses are like rectums, everyone has one. I find very little in your comments that means anything. “Oh the poor underprivileged, we can’t expect them to do well no matter how much we spend on them.” Yet that is not universally the case, and there are a number of examples where underprivileged communities have galvanized around their schools and out perform more affluent schools districts. 

      None of the factors you claim as why the Fins are succeeding and the US is failing have changed in the last 30 years, but Finland started with very lack luster academic performance and has shown consistent improvement year after year. Several states in the US have a lower ethnic diversity percentage than Finland. 30 out of 50 of the states have a population that is equal or smaller than Finland, yet there is no correlation of any of those states doing better academically because of that “advantage”.Your comments are just a bunch of demagoguery to explain away an inconvenient truth. We Americans are spending more and getting less, and until we really face that fact, we can not address the real issues.   

  • منتديات

    The problem is not that fins think “we” and Americans think “me” … The problem is in this country destroying the work ethic, the dream to succeed, because due to our cultural mix, everyone is afraid of offending the other, so the good beliefs, ones that are positive, that work….. Are destroyed in this country. So what does this prove? I think we can deduce

  • DanW

    These numbers are telling you nothing.  One has to drill down.  How much of this is education?   In many urban municipalities food assistance programs, busing and other activities are lumped into education programs.  Are they in the rest of the world?

    • Dalelittle

       How much of this is education?  Evidently too much of it is spent on side issues and not enough on math an science.  The education lobby and news media keep pleading for more money so they can have more to waste on teaching their pet social and culture issues

  • Dalelittle

    I graduated high school in 1965 and while I was in school I heard how we needed more money because our education trailed other countries. In the 1970’s it was “more money”, 1980’s “more money”, 1990’s “more money”, 2000’s “more money”, 2012 “we need more money because Johnny doesn’t know how to protest effectively”.  Johnny still can’t read, but now despite all the money, Johnny can’t think for himself. We used to tell our kids that money doesn’t grow on trees.  Today’s college students and graduates believe that money does grow on trees.  They want the government to provide them with “free” stuff, and cannot comprehend that nothing is free.  They can’t comprehend that the government gets it’s finances from the people, so when the government provides something for “free” they sing the praises of big government.
    As for the growing number of poor people in this country I will note two things.  One is how “poverty” or the “poor” are defined.  The other is that, yes, the percentage of the population living in poverty is rising, but it is our moral decay that contributes greatly to that.  Our society no longer values family and more singles are having children and that has become acceptable.  Single parents and their children are then are stuck in poverty and the percentage of poor people in our society grows.  So called income equality kills the incentive to work and produce.  However, I may be wrong.  After all Finland is the greatest, most prosperous and most powerful nation on earth and unlike the U. S., people are beating the doors down to live in Finland.  In contrast, people have been fleeing the U. S. for generations and we remain an obscure country with little influence in the world.

    • Andrew

      I guess they didn’t teach the use of the apostrophe in 1965?

      Anyway, income inequality is getting out of control. It is an extremist view that “equality kills the incentive to work.” A rational, moderate position is one that understands rich people will continue to be rich, but policies that enforce those people becoming exponentially richer while the poor suffer… those are horrible policies.

      • Adrian

        @yahoo-OXIMLFJHG6SE3TU5CV7DVOZ4IM:disqus  – Bravo!  Your ability to point out an improper use of the apostrophe proves you are much smarter than Dalelittle.

        Sorry Dalelittle, but your entire point has been rendered inconsequential.  That really sucks too, ’cause I agreed with everything you said.  Next time, punctuate properly.

        • Andrew

          I actually had a point in my comment. I’m assuming you’re too stupid too realize this?

        • Dbruce30

          No adrian yours is. I would like to know how many people can live on proper apostrophe’s

      • Enlightened

        You are just ridiculous, how could anyone assume anything like equality would ever be possible? There is no such thing as equality, people are not equal. For there to be a true equality everyone would have to be either robotic, or have a government like North Korea, and no possessions. You are indeed a dolt, the rich will get richer, and the poor will get more poor. This is a fact, but i think there was someone who said something along the same lines as what you are trying to get at…. his name? Karl Marx. Congrats. You are officially a communist. ;)

        • Dara

          lol how do people like you ever end up on sites like these. If you read correctly he was not, in fact, supporting communism in anyway what-so-ever. Here’s a line you probably missed: ”
          So called income equality kills the incentive to work and produce”. He only mentioned that Finland’s economy and society is running a lot more smoothly than the United States. Besides Socialism and Communism aren’t the same thing buddy. I don’t understand why you would choose to back up your argument with failed governments when he gave you examples of a perfectly working one. In case you didn’t know most of the well to do countries up there have socialist institutions. Also, your grammar is horrible.  

    • angel

      i disagree with pretty much most that youve said, please do not throw my generation under the bus, we are NOT all the same. as for single parents, i will agree that the meaning & importance of family have gone completely out the window & it is sad. i will be turning 21 this year & i feel out of place with almost all my friends because they are either married or with kids & i for one value my education too much to get married or even think about having a child. but all single parents or young married parents are not the reason for the rising number of poverty.
      all im saying is dont blame us for growing up this way. some of us do value family morals & values, some of us would rather have a career at the age of 30 than have a husband with 3 kids at 30. but then again some of us would rather party it up while still young & pay for the consequences later. we may be all screwed up my generation & the generation after me, but its not ALL our fault. have you forgotten who raised us?

    • Guest

      If you go back in history the government was paying ALL of the tuition for college students I am sure when you were in school.

    • Anonymous

       How dare you. My generation doesn’t work any less diligently that your generation did. As a matter of fact, we’re doing at least as much with a lot less. Every American should have the unhindered ability to meet their optimal ability so they can contribute their best to progressing society. And how dare you mention “moral decay” while condemning the poor. You talk about valuing family, but that starts with valuing children. You can’t say you value children and complain about them wanting free higher education. And I’m very sorry that poor being defined as malnourished instead of starving to death doesn’t meet your idea of poverty. Maybe soon.

      Furthermore, I’m sick and tired of hearing about how income equality kills the will to work and produce. No one who works for a living deserves to have to wonder if they’re going to be able to make the rent, pay for food/bills, or whether or not they’ll be able to save the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars it will take to send their children off to gain the skills and knowledge it takes to be a strong, independent contribution to society.

      Finally, I grew up under the impression that if I work hard, I’ll have everything I need. The point was not to amass unnecessary wealth. It was to have my needs and basic comforts met so that I could focus on making sure my contribution to the United States of America forged tears of envy in the eyes of every onlooker in the world. Our starve-the-workers free trade social molestation has made us not only a laughing stock around the world, it’s raised the depression, obesity, suicide, single parent household, and drug/porn addiction rates exponentially. The state of families in America has nothing to do with the common household and whether or not they go to church. It has everything to do with simple values–like limiting stress–not being followed on an economic level. There’s no morality in the center of our world: work. The US is overworked, underpaid, and undervalued by even our fellow citizens.

      • Chin Scratcher

        Well said.  Wealth worship is so bad here even Warren Buffett is asking how much longer before the American people quit it.

      • Guest

        Wow, what a bunch of sanctimonious drivel. “Boo hoo hoo! The world owes me a living! I deserve a huge paycheck, and electricity, and modern medicine, and luxury housing, because I was promised! Wah wah wah!” Let me sum it up for you: People are tired of paying the bills of ungrateful idiots and lazy losers like you. Get in the race and earn your keep or go die in a mudhole with the other scum too lazy to wipe your own cracks. And here’s a protip: The “people are starving” meme only works in countries where the “poor people” aren’t giant gooey slobs with hairy rolls of fat spilling out of their sagging boxer shorts.

      • Anonymous

        It is a fact that the highest single indicator that a child will live in poverty is being born to a single mother. And that is probably what dalelittle meant by “moral decay”

        • Just_da_damaja

          yup…cuz Bill Clinton and Barack Obama both lived in poverty…o wait…

    • ONE of many

      Amen. If we can simplify life we can easily see that moral decay leads to corruption, corruption leads to the death of a society. I am 28 years old and I am baffled by the ignorance and stupidity of my generation that wants everything simply handed to them and not worked for. It is a shame that it seems the majority of my generation accepts and promotes moral decay. It’s time for those who care about the United States of America to rise up and take a stand and take this country back again. This phrase rings true, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Let’s take our country back.

      • Guest

        Whatever. I’m 30 and I think you’re full of it. I work and so does everybody I know my age, often harder and longer than any of our parents did.

        All this “Youth of today” bullcrap is just that: bullcrap. Every generation blames the youngest for the mismanagement of their forebears.

        Here’s a thought: stop pushing blame and go do something.

        • liz

          Your parents were alive for the industrial revolution, most likely. So, based on that, I’m assuming they put in a whole more sweaty hours. And if you’re 30, “Whatever.” should not be the first thing that you think of to say. Grow up.

    • Red

      It is funny reading comment after
      comment of people with some sort of simple solution to the failing education
      system. All of America’s problems would be solved if it were as easy as each of
      your ideas make it seem. It would take a combination of many of claimed theories
      (along with others and the opposite of a few) to fix what is not simply broken
      but shattered into tiny pieces. We are not just talking about an
      educational reform because in order to change our education system we would
      need a complete social reform, accomplishing this is difficult to say the
      least. It is quite easy for adults to place blame and much more difficult to be
      a part of the solution. It takes the cooperation and participation of many for
      change to take place.

      Many of the comments placed “moral
      decay” at the head of our predicament and this is partially true, unfortunately
      (for those who cited this as being the problem) it is not the moral decay of
      which you mentioned. Yes, there has been a shift from family values, which
      partially stems from the shift towards focusing on our careers; example:
      “I don’t want to have kids, it will mess up my chance at a good career/life.”
      This has also been the main idea behind younger people misconstruing that plan
      and changing it to, “I don’t want to have kids that will mess up my
      private life and partying.” Both are equally selfish ideas, hence “Me
      Generation.” A problem made more difficult since America has become an
      ignorantly selfish society, or, a society that is extremely selfish and does not
      believe or understand that their actions are selfish. This is a huge moral
      dilemma. This ideology is the biggest hurdle for education reform, because we
      would have to change an entire society’s attitude toward life and without this
      reform our system will continue to fail.

      To answer “Dalelittle’s” comment; No,
      more money is not the answer, any person saying to put more money toward education
      is obviously unaware of America’s federal spending for public education, which
      is immensely greater than any other nation at $809.6 billion annually. No
      nations in the World put anywhere near this amount of money toward its
      education system. It is also a bold statement to say that the poor are just
      lazy because this does not account for the thousands of American parents
      holding multiple jobs and still barely able to support their children. There is
      no merit in blaming each generation on being poor. Little or no chance is given
      for a child of an undereducated home to receive a proper education. It would be
      a cruel claim if people truly believed it was a child’s fault for not being
      better educated when all they have seen around them is opposite of what one
      would want them to learn. Poverty begets poverty.

      aspect in the constant decline of American public schooling is the teachers
      union that, while being good in intention, is now being misused. Teachers are often
      not teaching their students properly or at all and have no fear of losing their
      jobs because they are tenured after only two years of teaching. The statement
      that “school is not for everyone,” should be coupled with “teaching
      is not for everyone.” Poor teachers produce poor students who are
      then unprepared for classes with “good” teachers who are teaching at the
      level a student should be. If a “good” teacher has to review previous year’s
      lessons all students are put at a disadvantage and thus education is set into a
      vicious cycle of undereducated students that are void of the knowledge they
      should have acquired. When speaking
      about this lack of education we must remember that the problem is affecting
      children. When we get caught up in playing the “blame game” the children are
      frequently overlooked. Although adolescents cannot escape all fault and must
      claim ownership to a sliver of the portion of consequence, a vast majority of
      the blame lay upon the shoulders of the adults responsible for caring and
      raising these kids. This does not simply mean parents of these children, every
      adult with whom this child is directly or indirectly associated is essentially
      raising this child (nature vs. NURTURE). We, for the most part, act within
      society’s norms created by the majority of the population, which means
      responsibility is dispersed among us all. It is an adult’s obligation to
      constantly set a correct example for youth. People may say, “it’s my life, I
      don’t have kids, why should I be responsible for someone else’s child?” This is
      a typical American thought or reaction to any sort of youth reform,
      unfortunately it is also very selfish and unbeneficial to oneself. If the
      generation after you are not acting right, who do you expect will take care of
      you when you are old?

      are many more factors that are required in order to fix our failing public
      school system. Along with the other changes I mentioned, it would also take having
      the right leaders throughout many levels of the American infrastructure, a
      shift from an entertainment centered society to educational society needs to be
      made (this is actually a problem that became most prevalent thanks to our good ol’ post WWII baby boomers,
      “unintentionally”) and finally comes down to everyone pulling together for the betterment
      of one another. In a society if some of us fail, we all fail. I could write
      about this much more however, that’s all I wish to say for now but if people
      have questions or statements feel free to comment and I will reply with what I
      hope is the correct answer and with the utmost honesty.

    • Just_da_damaja

      Thats hilarious, cuz everyone tells me that most colleges were publicly funded..for example the CUNY system was 100% funded by the public before the 1970’s when kids had to start paying tuition. The convenient amnesia some of you guys get is amazing.

    • Zifnab25

      “– Today’s college students and graduates believe that money does grow on trees. –”

      Do they also think babies come from the stork and hurricanes are caused by the gay? Please, enlighten us all about the crazy ideas that “Today’s college students” have. You seem so enlightened.

    • Liz

      I’m a college student paying $30,000/year for school plus books, supplies, parking, food, rent and $100/week on gas. I know money does not grow on trees. Other students paying their way to graduation knows that money does not grow on trees. We’re in a recession and we know nothing is free.

      Schools don’t need money. They need brains. Get better teachers, not better checks.

      So, don’t shit on this generation because remember: you help create this generation (;

      • liz

        know ****

  • Suhyr786

    Why isnt there a comparason to education inMiddle Eastern or other Asian countries

  • Faulkner

    You should read the “the deliberate dumbing down of america”, pretty much sums it up.

  • Anthony Kurt MacKAY

    What we need is more hours in school and more days in the year. That’s a key difference between most of the nations and correlates with outcomes.

  • Karlwespdx

    I’ve heard enough hating of learning. Has anyone ever tried? Please people, read and tell people what you’ve read.

  • Karlwespdx

    Actually, have anyone ever been overcame by information/sensory overload? This is even without concerning children, where brain structures are no where mature? I love my country. Besides, what’s the national expenditure for education, some 2%?

    • Kkohls

       your are a teacher aren’t you?

    • Lisa1j

      The word is overcome not overcame. Without concerning children? I think a course in basic english in order. Speaking of basic english, I would like to mention the fact that the internet is flooded with open source (free) basic courses and some that are not so basic. If we as a country are interested in saving money on education then this is a great platform to do so. My son has already taken three courses this summer and I am on my fourth. I am also currently designing a grant writing course and a creative writing course that I will be uploading to an open source platform later this summer, probably Moodle or Chamilo. 

      Please pass this information on for those parents who want to give themselves and their children and edge. A basic google search for open source courses will lead you to many of them. 

      I am glad to see that people are having a conversation about the state of our educational system and aside from funding an overburden, outdated system there are many other problems that need to be addresd. So far however, I haven’t heard a single solution. Isn’t that the grand idea of education to create thinkers who can analyze problems and find solutions?

      I do have some ideas, but I won’t bother any of you with them because this seems like a place for people who are more interested in ranting and rehashing problems that we already know about than a place for people who are interested in an open discussion to solve the problems.  

      I’d like to add one more thought that some of you probably won’t want to hear. None of you would be here in America today if your immigrant parents and grandparents were not allowed to come in to the States. Unless you are a Native American you are the product of an immigrant. Why on earth do so many American’s want to keep immigrants out? If it’s because they are taking our jobs, then open your own business and create some more jobs. There are after all plenty of customers. 

      I think for those of you who do feel that way are missing the big picture and it should be very obvious. And that’s overpopulation in general. 

      If you’re not part of the solution you are part of the problem. 

  • GAC

    I am doing a report for school, and this infographic was a huge visual and educational aid.  Thank You so much

  • ace

    Did you know in China even the poor children do extremely well on their tests. We need to emphasize the value of education more, because we are a larger country than most of these countries. 

  • fencing in melbourne

    Whether it’s public or private schools, the US pays more and gets less. 
    This is a cultural problem that goes beyond income inequality or
    whether government can provide services more efficiently than private

  • Black Tungsten Wedding Bands

    I love my country. Besides, what’s the national expenditure for education, some 2%?

  • Dbruce30

    Education is the new religion. Check out how much we spend on it and don’t even expect results. After all its for the kids right……? 

    • Richard Bunce

      Government education industrial complex must be fed…

  • mayorkl

    Fact – People are not equal
    Fact – Money does not solve problems
    Fact – fewer students per classroom makes for better students
    Fact – School is not for everyone, but reading, basic math, and social skills are universally required to be successful at any level
    Fact – Family values has to include discussing the divorce rate and teenage pregnancy rates, not just kids out of wedlock and abortions and gay adoption (aka – it’s not a right vs left, red vs blue issue)
    Fact – income inequality and unemployment are linked. Medium and large corporations have purposefully moved jobs off-shore, leaving fewer total jobs for American workers, specifically for those with limited education (see: manufacturing, call centers), thereby creating a permanent underclass of individuals who were the backbone of American dominance in manufacturing and middle class strength for decades after WWII. 

    Adding 100,000 teachers to America’s classrooms (at minimum), including teachers in vocational schools, will allow more personal attention to both high performers and low performers, while not leaving the average performers out to dry. Vocational schools play a HUGE role in building a successful middle class as well as giving low income families the ability to get job training for skilled work as defined by market need. 

    • Anonymous

       It’s always profound when people such as yourself express common sense.  KUDOS!

    • guestola

      Though studies suggest that smaller classrooms start to have an effect right around single digit number of students per teacher. 100,000 ain’t even close to what it would take. Lack of funds isn’t the problem, tax dollars getting sucked into the teacher-> union -> political contributions machine. (sorry, am too lazy to look up study, but here’s something worth watching…

  • Anonymous

    Mixing low performers in with high ones does not work. Higher passing requirements are needed for improvement. Making it easier to pass defeats the purpose of education. People have to be challenged and rewarded for better results to improve the education quality of all our citizens. Stop providing entitlements for slackers. 

  • Webnuts4u2-spew

    It’s more work, more desire and more drive. It’s not the money.

  • Kim Green

    I love your graph.  The color will appeal to the right-brained feelers of the world and might get the point across that money does not equal great academic results.  I home educate my three boys and the statistics for home education show that traditional factors in education matter little to the student.  Homeschoolers outperform even private school students although parent income and education might be far lower than those of the comparative students. (See stats from  Finland’s system is amazing in every aspect.  It looks at children as children and not education as a jobs-driven or government-driven directive.  HOW do children learn best?  Is homework ACTUALLY beneficial for students?  Turns out it’s not, really.  Do children really need to sit in desks for hours upon hours per day and does this aid in learning?  And that leads us to drugging our children (in actuality, our boys) to sit still and learn visually even if that’s not how they’re bent.  Watch the following videos, they are brilliant: and

  • Riley

    The United States still has the highest education system and this test was based on a survey of fifteen year old’s. Many people from other high education countries come to America for it’s good collages (mostly Asian student’s) and so far we still have the best model for education in the world, mostly due to the high amount of students going to college.

  • Monroeg

    Reading these posts is a joke. We are all equale in this goverment each and every one of us owes approx. $500000 of the national debt mabey we all need to realize that this is because WE as americans let money be spent foolishly. Lets keep spending money on $14 million dollar athletes and $25000 on teachers and then wonder why are we so far behind all these other countries. Lets elect career politicians that belive the average income is $250000.Read the Declaration of Independence and decide what Our Duty as Americans is. This goverment is not working for us any longer.We should change what we are doing in order to change the problems. A great man once said:
    “Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.” ― Albert Einstein

  • Brad Nova

    I wish they would have shown the spending on a per student basis instead of total spending for all students. It would have shown that the U.S. is not number one and that the differences are not that much.

  • Jim McGrath

    This is disingenuous.  I heard of this site through Bruce Tinsley’s cartoon Mallard Fillmore–a conservative justification to spend less on education.  It only takes a few minutes to adjust the per capita spending per country by average income–which must be done because personnel is the major cost, and personnel are paid according to a country’s economy.  Lo and behold, adjusting for income differences, the US, UK, and Finland are within inches of each other.

    The fair question then becomes, why does Finland do so much better than the US with essentially the same money?  Clearly adding money doesn’t guarantee performance.  But having volunteered in public schools for over 7 years now, and working with programs like “Reading Recovery”, taking money away from successful programs guarantees a poorer result.

  • Work. Share. Create. Educate.

    The US is the third largest country, and has a population of roughly 300 million people. It’s no wonder that they invest more money into education than all of the countries on that list, who all have a relatively small population. When you account for population, we probably spend less on education than the other countries on this list. After all, over 50% of taxes go to the military. I do agree that we should work hard learn and improve on the systems of countries with successful and accelerating education, and strive to create state and federal based curriculums that place an importance on math and science, but I do not believe we should acheive this goal by investing less in education.

  • roland

    Consider the size of the united states population to these other countries.
    Those countries that are ranked higher than us probably spend more money on each child.

    • Richard Bunce

      First bar chart is annual spending per school aged child.

  • Jeff Ebel

    I don’t know about any of you, but I went to a high school with a principal, 2 vice principals, and a lady with the title Dr. before her name. I never EVER saw the main principal, the vice principals walked around being useless. And Dr. Marshall? What a joke! I am not sure the exact$ amounts they “earned,” but I’m guessing it was at least a combined $ 500,000yr. At the current market rate, you could employ at least ten teachers complete with classroom supplies

    • Jeff Ebel

      And that was just at my school. Multiply that by the number of all high schools in the country, and I’m sure you’ll find why we spend so much in education and get so little. All you assholes want to talk about entitlements?! These “administrators” are the entitled ones. Along with their pay, they also receive health benefits, better than those of the people that actually educate the children.

  • Franz Schober

    The information on this chart is EXTREMELY INCORRECT if you look at the US department of education’s budget, we’ve never spent more than 90 Billion dollars on an education budget, and the current budget is 60 Billion.


    “Today’s college students and graduates believe that money does grow on
    trees. They want the government to provide them with “free” stuff, and
    cannot comprehend that nothing is free. They can’t comprehend that the
    government gets it’s finances from the people, so when the government
    provides something for “free” they sing the praises of big government.” Pardon me? I’m the exact opposite. I don’t take my money for granted, so stop stereotyping.

  • blukeeper

    After reading many of the comments, I can conclude that people agree on one fact: Education is the solution to many critical problems (poverty, national economy, etc). Spending more money is not a solution to our failing educational system. Moral decay in our generation? Perhaps. How about all generations? How about lack of family values? We live in a society where people believe that their problems are caused by someone else. Now, I don’t believe that these charts are a true indicative of where our future is heading. But, I do know that we have a problem and that the problem was caused by all of us. It is really easy to fix our educational system. It is not about how much more money we spend! Look at other nations!!!! We, parents, need to be parents again. I am of an Asian descendant, and it is believed that the society must be based upon families in the Asian culture. It is almost disgusting to discuss about the parents in the United States. So many of them are selfish, immature, and immoral. Kids with two moms, two dads, step dads and steps moms, single moms. A few days ago, a kid from my next door neighbor told me and my daughter that his biological father was almost killed by police officers. Guess what folks. That is preciously what our American families are doing to their kids. So many American families have become so defendant on the government and lack personal responsibilities. So many American families want police officers, teachers, social workers, and other people to raise their kids. Teachers in the United States aren’t any better. So many of them are lazy, ineffective, and ignorant. My wife and I raise and teach our children. My children will learn to be polite to others, to respect the elders, to learn the values of hard working and success, to be the essential part of the society, and inherit the same family values to their children.

  • Peop Mea

    : Despite all of the decade’s efforts, our education systems are not
    improving. I think that along with distractions and spoiled mentality, American
    students have too much of life handed to them. We think its okay to do as least
    as possible to get by. Other countries are pushing students to do their very
    best. School is a top priority in other countries. We can’t just keep throwing money at the
    school district, expecting them to improve. Teachers need to understand that
    their job isn’t just for money, it to change the lives of youth. America needs motivation
    and a new mentality. It is not the lack of money, considering that American
    spends the most on the education system. The money isn’t used wisely. America spends 809.6
    million dollars every year towards the education system. Even the next leading
    country Japan spends, 649.1
    billion less.

  • Mitty

    The US spends more on education per child than any other country and yet does not rank at the top. Think about that. Teachers in America are not the highest paid. We are led to believe that you either care about teachers and kids or you do not, every time a new levy hits. The first question asked should be “why are schools, fire and police not funded first in the budget cycle?” The answer is simple, it is lumped in with 100’s if not thousand of other general fund expenditures and gets funding at the end of the cycle. By design. Every one is passionate about those 3 groups and the chances of passing levy’s is much higher because of it. If they were funded at the beginning of the cycle then politicians would have a hard time getting pet projects funded for would be voters.

    The second question you ask is “how much does a classroom cost to operate? you will find that a teachers salary is about 1/8 of the that cost. That means that administrative infrastructure is consuming the majority of expenditures and ultimately protected by Unions. Step rate compensation programs are unproductive and provide no incentive to dismiss low performers and do not incent high performers. 1962 public and federal employees were given the right to collectively bargain due to an executive order by JFK. They get to bargain with public employees for taxpayer money. That is inherently negative and even FDR warned against the negative effects of allowing public employees to collectively bargain.

    Until the power of NEA is forced to compete and forced to compare results the system has no chance to right itself. So every 2 years expect to be asked to shell out more money “for the kids.”

    If Unions lost their stronghold on education, education systems has infusion of competition, pay structures changed to mirror private sector where innovation and achievement are rewarded instead of squashed, then teachers who deserve to be paid more, will continue to be oppressed and a students ability to achieve remains suppressed.

  • Lan

    Thanks for the statistics. I been trying to follow up on how much US spend on education. Make me wonder how do we spend alot of money but still not get better?

    • Andragogical

      Spending has nothing to do with results. That’s the fallacy that needs to go by the wayside.

    • Cajsa

      Politicians mandating that students be taught false information such as creationism might have something to do with it. All the time teaching to tests rather than teaching might have something to do with it.

      • tjslaub

        There are no politicians mandating the teaching of creationism. Calm down. If you don’t want to go to a private Christian (I don’t either) then don’t. Nobody is making you do anything.

        • Mitchell Brown

          A spate of bills appeared in states this year that purported to help
          guide public school teachers in helping students apply “critical
          thinking” to select “controversies.” Not surprisingly, the controversies
          singled out always included evolution.

          Legislation in Colorado
          would have directed teachers to “create an environment that encourages
          students to intelligently and respectfully explore scientific questions
          and learn about scientific evidence related to biological and chemical
          evolution, global warming, and human cloning.”

          An Indiana bill
          would have compelled teachers to “help students understand, analyze,
          critique, and review in an objective manner the strengths and weaknesses
          of conclusions and theories being presented in a course being taught by
          the teacher.”

          In Montana, a bill mandated that schools to
          encourage “critical thinking regarding controversial scientific
          theories” such as “biological evolution, the chemical origins of life,
          random mutation, natural selection, DNA, and fossil discoveries.”

          Oklahoma legislation would have required Sooner State teachers to
          “help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective
          manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing
          scientific theories pertinent to the course being taught.” Covered
          topics included “biological evolution, the chemical origins of life,
          global warming, and human cloning.”

          The similar language of these
          bills (which all failed, thankfully) is strong evidence that they come
          from a central source. The National Center for Science Education, a
          California-based group that supports good science instruction in public
          schools, has traced them to the Discovery Institute, a Seattle-based
          group that promotes “intelligent design.”

          Critical thinking is
          great. We’re all for it. But that’s not what these bills are about. They
          are about warping the concept of critical thinking and using it as
          vehicle to introduce religious concepts into the classroom. Arizona lawmakers this year deliberated a bill that identified a
          series of “controversial” subjects and signaled them out for special
          classroom treatment. These included “biological evolution, the chemical
          origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.”

          already has a law on the books permitting public school teachers to use
          “supplemental” material when discussing certain controversial issues,
          evolution among them. No one knows for sure what these supplemental
          materials are, but given that state’s constant efforts to undermine
          evolution, it’s safe bet On the Origin of Species is not on the list.

          school board in Springboro, Ohio, is considering a similar ruse, only
          its list is even longer. Once again, the idea here is to attempt to
          seize some type of moral high ground as proponents claim they are only
          trying to teach “both sides.”

          Unfortunately for the board, that only works when there are two sides of equal validity.

          “teach the controversy” movement gives the far right an additional
          bonus: They can use it as a vehicle to undermine climate change, which
          they also reject. Academic freedom is an important concept at colleges and
          universities. It has not been extended to public secondary schools
          because those institutions teach impressionable youngsters. Thus, school
          officials and democratically elected boards have the power to rein in
          teachers who start acting like preachers or who stray too far from the
          accepted curriculum.

          A common creationist ruse is to assert that
          teachers have the right, under academic freedom, to introduce material
          that undercuts evolution. They do not. Over the years, several public
          school teachers have made this argument in court. All have failed.

          if this argument were taken to its logical extent. What’s to stop a
          teacher from espousing 9/11 conspiracy theories, Holocaust denial,
          claims that we never landed on the moon, etc.? Even though there is no academic freedom right to teach creationism,
          some public school teachers behave as if there is. They simply don’t
          teach evolution or teach it in such a way as to instill doubts in
          students’ minds.

          A recent survey of public school high school
          science teachers in Pennsylvania found 19 percent backing some variant
          of creationism. One biology teacher in Altoona said he believes Earth is
          10,000 years old and that the methods used to date it at 5 billion
          years are faulty.

          “Sometimes students honestly look me in the eye
          and ask what do I think?” wrote this teacher in response to a newspaper
          survey. “I tell them that I personally hold the Bible as the source of
          truth. I tell them that I don’t think [radiocarbon dating] is as valid
          as the textbook says it is, noting other scientific problems with the
          dating method. Kids ask all kinds of personal questions and that’s one I
          don’t shy away from. It doesn’t in any way disrupt the educational
          process. I’m entitled to my beliefs as much as the evolutionist is.”

          anonymous teacher in Indiana County, Pa., reported, “Most parents and
          officials do not want evolution ‘crammed’ into their children. They have
          serious philosophical/religious issues with public schools dictating to
          their students how to interpret the origin of life.”

          Courts can
          strike down creationism repeatedly. That won’t matter if teachers refuse
          to offer proper instruction about evolution or are afraid to do so due
          to pressure from their superiors or the community. Back in the 1980s, “creation science” was all the rage among
          fundamentalists. They seemed to believe that all you had to do was tack
          the word “science” onto something and presto, it was science. (“Flat
          Earth Science,” anyone?)

          That stunt failed when the Supreme Court
          struck down a Louisiana law mandating “balanced treatment” between
          evolution and creation science in 1987. The term “creationism” became
          more popular, even though it was the same old thing. When courts failed
          to fall for it, some advocates began using the term “the theory of
          abrupt appearance.”

          Still others glommed on to “evidence against
          evolution.” Again, these name changes failed to fool anyone. It was the
          same old creationism in a new dress.

          Most recently, “intelligent
          design” has become all the rage. Sometimes known by the acronym ID,
          intelligent design tries to cover up some of the more outlandish claims
          of standard creationism (6,000-year-old Earth, dinosaurs and humans
          living at the same time, Noah’s Ark was real, etc.) and instead posits
          that humans and other life forms are so complex that they must have been
          designed by some intelligent force. If this force just happens to be
          the Christian god, then so be it.

          But at the end of the day, ID
          proponents are left to fall back on religious explanations. Just exactly
          who is this designer? Other than space aliens – and they aren’t really
          serious about that – ID backers have no candidates other than the god of
          their choice.

  • Evaniaenlanya

    thanks you hepled me alot!!!

  • Dsoan95

    because our culture is comparable to a laxative. Money does not encourage kids to achieve and work hard and contribute to society is some manner or form later in life. Money does not make classes dynamic enough to influence and bring student enthusiasm or at least a sprinkle of interest for the subject. Money doesn’t change anything in education. Korean students on average only sleep for 4 hours every school day you twat

  • Jeff

    How do the results shown here fit in with the finding that we are doing well except with poor students? See here:

    • SD Sun Devil

      This is an excellent link. The US is huge and the most diverse in any category you can think of. It’s hard to just take the average and draw meaningful conclusions.

  • Martin S

    This decline started when the dept of education was implemented. Cost went up and results went down. This is what happen when you try to implement the socialist idea that everyone has to be equal. It is impossible to make everyone equal to the brightess so we take the brightess and dumb them down. Results is all are equally mediocre. It cost a lot of money to do this.

    • Grampas

       The socialist system in Finland seems to work quite well for they greatly outperform the US in all areas. Do note that Finland does not allow private/charter schools to exists, only socialized/public schools exist in Finland. Note also that all teachers in Finland must have a masters degree, that teachers are the fifth highest paid profession, and that there are more teachers per student than in the US. you may also want to look at what the taechers pay to receive their masters degree in education.

      • JanDO

        Yet, private schools here in America have been shown to outperform public schools even though they are in “disadvantaged” with significantly lower teacher salaries, lower degrees of teacher education, and higher teacher turn over rates. Also, private schools here find a way to spend 1/3 to almost 1/2 of the amount that public schools do per student. I wouldn’t blame private schools for our education problems, I would look to them for solutions.

        • John Czarnecki

          Including our private schools, socialist Finland outperforms them all.

          • Evolusi

            It’s not the schools that are outperforming, it’s the parents.

          • Chris Pasquariello

            How diverse is Finland?

          • Jude the Obscure

            I always get a good laugh outta comparing Finland to us. 5 million people, tough to manage a entire country’s student population less than Bostons Public Schools. Return all education to local control. Open up competition.

          • Jim Seneczko

            Yea, Socialism! ……….Idiot!

          • DaTruthSucks

            Socialism works in many cases much better than free market capitalism. Deal with it.

        • Lennerd B.

          The first and most important teacher every child has is her/his parent. The kids in private schools generally have benefited from the superior parenting that money helps to provide, that is, opportunities for exploration, travel, music, dance, golf, tennis lessons, etc. A person’s outlook is mostly formed by the time they are five years old. Those so-called “disadvantages” you’re citing that private schools have are more than made up for by the counterweight of parental education, involvement, and the esteem with which such parents view the education of their kids. The schools and their teachers have a far easier lift than a school and a teacher have in a ghetto. I know, I’ve taught in both: Los Angeles public schools where almost all the parents of the kids are 1st generation immigrants and in private schools where the kids were the children of famous Hollywood actors and the children and grandchildren of Nobel Prize-winning scientists. And yes, I got paid less at the private school.

          It’s not the schools that are out-performed, it’s the parents who are out-performed by their much richer peers. Mostly the teachers at both types of schools have the same level of education and expertise because they’ve all been to the same US colleges and universities. When I went from public to private to and back to public school teaching I didn’t suddenly become a better or worse teacher. The tuition at the private school was over $20,000 a year, so they certainly didn’t underspend what the public schools put into each kid!

        • Ophelia

          Families invest heavily in the private school education. This is not counted in per pupil expenditure. Also, they do not accept students who do not fit a certain profile.

          • memo

            bullshit, where did BO go to school?

        • Emerson Gravely

          To say that without considering the difference of pupils in private schools with the difference in pupils in public schools is beyond ludicrous. If we look to private schools for solutions, the solution will be to make 99% of all students rich and white.

          • Kyle

            Your last statement couldn’t be further from the truth. I attended a private school in Oklahoma that is consistently top 10 in the state in test scores, and it was roughly 50% white. I would guess that 5% of the families earned more than $100,000 a year. The vast majority of the students were squarely middle class. The reason my school was successful was because they held us to extremely high standards because they were held to extremely high standards. If their students didn’t learn, parents would stop sending their kids there and the school would close. Because of this, poor teachers who were doing a poor job were fired.

            The problem with our current public school system is that schools get punished for kids not graduating through decreased funding, decreased demand for teachers, etc. I would rather have 70% of kids graduating with an excellent education than 95% graduating with a watered down education.

            I would highly recommend you look into the model set forth by the American Indian Public Charter Schools. They consistently rank at the top of California schools in spite of having a student body that is made up of poor minorities who qualify for free lunches. They’re currently being investigated for mishandling funds which makes their success even more impressive in my opinion because it shows that they were successful with even less funds than we were initially led to believe.

          • ICBM904

            My statement is very close to the truth if you ignore outliers like your private school. You can’t possibly expect the same educational outcomes for affluent kids who start schools with larger vocabularies than the mothers of kids living in poverty. You can’t possibly expect the same educational outcomes for motivated kids whose educated parents are highly involved in their educations with unmotivated kids whose uneducated parents don’t care about their educations. That would be dismissing all research to the contrary and would be contrary to common sense and logic as well. Your diagnosis of what’s “wrong” with public schools is too simplistic, in the face of myriad social problems, to be credible.

          • CurtCharlesPDX

            Yes we can expect great outcomes regardless of circumstance. As long as we continue to say “you’re ‘disadvantaged’ therefore you can’t do as well”, we’re perpetuating the problem and providing an excuse – it’s the victim mentality. It’s time to set high expectations and hold kids and teachers to them.

          • ICBM904

            That shows your ignorance. You can’t rationally expect “great” outcomes when students are so disadvantaged that they can never catch up. I’m not perpetuating the problem or providing and excuse. I’m stating reality. All the latest research shows the difficulties, in not the impossibility, of taking someone who arrives at preschool having heard millions of less words than affluent kids. All the latest research suggests that kids who arrive at school with one-tenth the vocabulary of affluent kids will never read at grade level, no matter what remediation you take.
            It’s a matter of how the wiring in your brain develops from birth, and suggesting that just snapping your fingers and saying, “We’ve got higher standards” is some kind of cure is ludicrous.
            Your scenario, if it were even possible, would require lots of extra funding for all the extra remediation. Let me know of any state where you see that happening.

          • memo

            Why don’t you get a clue and read Bill Cosby PHD Ed’s book Come on People?

          • Christina Williams

            Poverty is not an excuse. Compare the list of countries by literacy rates to the list of countries by GDP. These can be easily found. I used wiki. Setting high standards in education and making education a high priority is what makes the difference.

          • ICBM904

            Poverty is an excuse. When you compare affluent schools, we rank right with the top countries. When you compare poor schools, we rank near the bottom. The latest scientific research shows that the wiring for language and reading and learning is developing from birth. It’s showing that when you’re raised in less-than-optimum circumstances, the delays you incur are difficult, if not impossible, to overcome. Of course, if you don’t believe in science ….
            By the way, GDP isn’t a very accurate measure of poverty. Try wealth distribution.

          • Mitchell Brown

            Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps! Right? What about those kids who don’t have boots? This guy, and all those who think like them are nothing more than atavistic “Not one thin red pfennig for anyone!” type folks (except for the MASSIVELY bloated Pentagon. That paragon of True-Blue Americanism will always get even more than they ask for).

          • memo

            How come with the highest $ per student we are 17th in the world?

          • Jay Vincent Ray


          • Christina Williams

            Great question ‘memo’. It is because the bar is set low and a lot of parents do not give a rat’s behind how their kids behave, much less whether or not their kids have learned anything. We live in a culture where it is cool to be an unemployed punk who only makes money if they become famous for being a… well… I have no word that I can post to describe it without this post being removed, but you get the point. If we, the US, collectively raised our standards and moved our priorities toward a higher level of education instead of focusing on fame, fortune and the latest $500+ gadget that will be obsolete 6 months later when a newer one is released, then MAYBE we could get somewhere. Instead, we blame shift EVERYTHING rather than taking responsibility for ourselves. We can make a good start by implementing the change we want to see in your own households and communities. If your kid is making bad grades, or being reported for behavioral issues, don’t fuss at the teacher or take them to a psychologist strait away. Get with your kid, assert your position as a parent (not a friendly, mythical money tree), state your expectations and the consequences they will pay if those expectations are not met and ENFORCE YOUR RULES! Say what you mean and have them pay the consequences if needed. It may take a little while, but it works in most cases. Kids will only do the things they think they can get away with. Yes, they push boundaries, but not very far. Be strict, but don’t forget to balance that by spending quality time with them. Some think that the only way to boost their child’s self esteem is to buy them the latest and greatest, yet they neglect to feed their kids decent food or to ask how their day went at school. Then, they wonder what they did wrong as a parent when the kid is locked or knocked up by age 18, or is 30 years old and has never had a steady job. Let us not blame the government for all of our problems, especially education, when most can be resolved at home.

          • memo

            Dear Christina, A 5 second note on the news today was broadcast regarding the US education system being below average generally and way below average in Math and Science. In my school these were important subjects. Oh well we aren’t last at least until they check how many are bilingual. When I took my first trip to Europe in 1966 I found many new friends by staying in the Dutch student hotels all over Europe. The kids all spoke English and were quite pro Americn. Lots of them were trying out for the jobs at the Netherlands pavilion in the up coming Worlds Fair in Montreal. The minimum requirement was to have command of 4 languages. One girl told me “This is not a problem for us but there are lots of requirements” I said if that was the requirement for US students we would have to hire young people from Amsterdam.

            Seems like my birthdays are accelerating at the same rate as our country is circling the drain. Thank you so much for writing your views , we used to be a melting pot in my youth and now we are a melt-down pot.


          • ICBM904

            Whoa! It almost sounds like you’re saying it’s our society that’s causing the problems … but we all know that it’s really our educational system that’s causing all these problems, not that our educational system’s on the receiving end of all these problems.
            It’s much easier to blame the teacher, and it also alleviates any guilt that the parent might feel for raising a child who causes problems and doesn’t value education. Add to that that the departments of education and local school boards are directing the schools to hold the kids less and less accountable for their actions (kind of like what’s happening in society in general) and you have a recipe for a classroom that’s not conducive to learning.

          • CurtCharlesPDX

            Reads like “love and logic”. Let kids know the expectations and have consequences for non-compliance. Once the kids realize that you’re serious, they get serious. We take an active interest in our daughters’ education, but she’s in charge of choosing classes and performing in them. She sets a higher bar than we would, mostly, demonstrating that she’s engaged. Despite being 2 full years ahead of grade level in math, she’ll have to take a 1/2 step back in order to gain enough math credits by graduation. That is, the school doesn’t offer a sequence of math classes that fit her ability.

          • ICBM904

            Because that’s about where we’ve always been. We haven’t dropped. Aside from a few early colonies, we’ve never valued education as much as other countries have. We didn’t have to. We were the United States of America with unlimited resources and unlimited potential.

          • Blair Schaan

            disadvantaged kids could mean nobreakfasts before school no lunches, i know some schools where they started meals for the kids 5 days a week break fast and lunch and on saturday a lunch, and when those kids were fed their marks and skills went up by 150%, and some of the most skilled kids these days come from schools for the disadvantaged who enjoy free meals at school.,. how can you learn on a empty stomach.

            Way back before Ronald Reagan became Govenor of the great state of California, the state had free education for any/all Californians from grad 1 to university but when RR took over as Govenor this was to socialist for him and he changed it, then when he became president he hired Bill bennett as secretary of Education, and his job was to dismantle the whole dept , he didnt suceed it was to big they sure screwed it all up across the country.


          • Cynthia L Smith

            You are clearly yet another victim of a poor education system that failed you by not feeding you. Your sentennce composition and spelling is atrocious.

          • Blair Schaan

            I was a farmer cows and horses dogs cats and pigs and sheep goats didnt care how you spelled the word as long as they understood it. its only those who think they are smarter then the rest of dummies who point out how terrible others spell and do things, thank Cynthia Im not here to get a medal on how smart O am I was on here telling something that I see probably went over your head anyhow!

          • Cynthia L Smith

            Blair, I went back in the conversation a little and I don’t know why I was so mean to you. I have a lot of conversations on here and get very aggravated sometimes. One truth you got right. It isn’t your fault if you weren’t educated fully. And being a farmer is a proud tradition. We may not be in agreement on some things but I do agree children need to eat to learn.

          • Blair Schaan

            Thank you cynthia I appreciate your looking back and i get frustarted and angry too but not by spelling and puncuation I get pissed off by the contents of what brain dead people say.
            I live in Canada we have programs and services for the people Americans can only dream about like universial health care, and its not a one payer system in many province the people of all ages pay premiums from families $55.00 a month to $110.00 a month then all you do is walk into a hospital see a doctors and simply show them your medicare card no paper work and all that crap and when you get your services you say bye and thats it

            My family and I have used our medicare system and Ill explain.
            My moms older sister Laura was 90 when she had a hip replacement, she lived till last August, 2012 she was 96 so she had 6 years of a better quality of life.

            IN 2003 my little sister had a couple growths on her voice box and no doctors in Canada do those operations so ok the saskatchewan medicare commission sent her and her husband to Rochester Minnesota to the Mayo clinic and she had the operations there and her husband 2 weeks all living expenses and 2 return check ups and all expenses air fare costs etc covered.
            In 2008 I was living In Edmonton, Alberta and in 2008 in mid january I was attacked by that flesh eating decease called Necretising Facititis,I was in hospital 2 weeks had 3 operations and all my meds pain killers etc and when I walked out i had a bill of $00.00 Alberta medicare paid for it.
            In March of 2008 I moved back to saskatchewan where im from, and have had numerous things like MRI and stuff waited 2 weeks and was free.
            My mom who was 90 on 17th of Nov, well on 4th of Nov the Caridac doctor had her wear a harness that monitors her body functions like heart beat ,pulse, blood pressure,
            On the nov 5th they took harness off and on thurs,., nov 7th Cardiac doctor calls mother at 830PM but shes downstairs playing cards so next call is sister and tells her to get mother to hospital ASAP.
            So sister drives over and moms not impressed by the excitement and finally gets her butt in gear sister gets her to Emergency and triage shows her medicare card and is immediately sent to Cardiology already had a bed for her.
            It seems she had a number of flat lines meaning no heart beat and longest time was 9 seconds so Friday morning at 11;00AM she was fitted with a pacemaker on Nov 12th shes released and sent home and gets 2 weeks home care all covered by health care cost her nothing..

            Now health care in Canada is a Federal program but run by the provinces and some provinces offer more services then others but they all have to cover the basics, dental and eyes are not covered but if some decease causes eye problems medicare will cover it. in the provinces the health regions are all run by doctors and the hospital adminstraters are doctors who are private businessmen they run their own businesses hire their receptionists and bill medicare instead of a insurance company.
            sorry for my typing Cynthia but you get the point. ill write more on another post.

          • Blair Schaan

            Our higher education is subsidised so going to university usually costs a student abut 5500 to 6700 a year see below



            The province of saskatchewan is a union friendly province of 1.2 million people the capital city is regina, and our unemployment rates lowest in Canada with 2.6% and the citys 2.4% see below


            Our minimum wage is $10.00 an hour and we have something Americans havent seen in years is jobs jobs jobs and more jobs and we are about 50,000 worklrs short to fill those jobs again see below


            job sites with jobs



            These 2 sites are example we have many more sites but this gives you an idea.

            we have paid maternity leave for workers


            we have regulated holidays for all workers which is 3 weeks and we also get 3/52 holiday pay or 23 weeks salary as holiday pay paid for by our employers


            Seniors in Canada and the USA depend on their social security and in canada CPP ( Canada pension plan) and there are also many people who have never worled and as suich have never ever paid into the SS or CPP plans and when they reitre theyd better havce a good nest egg put away or rich kids to look after you.

            Now if a senior in USA has no saved income and ghets a SS check or 980.00 thats all theyd get to live on and if they havent paid in they get nothing.

            In Canada we have say a person gets CPP check or 980/.00 well Canada also has a supplementary old age pension paid for by taxes and thats 597.00 so with 980.00 another 470.00to make the countrys poverty level opf 1450.00 per person,so hed get another 470.00 from old age pension .

            Now if the senior only gets say 568.00 from social security or CPP well then theyd get the whole old age pension,597.00 so thats 1183.00 then theres another fund its called the income supplement fund which totals 641.00 or so per person per month so this fund will give the senior another 267.00 so thjis senior also collects about 1450,.00 a month

            Now say someone retires and hasnt ever contributed to a SS or CPP? then what well in Canada they are automat5ically eligible for the old age pension and full income supplement whidh would total 1238.00 a month.
            Now the province of saskatchewan has a income supplement of up to 250.,00 am month, so now that kicks in and the senior would recieve 212.00 from the saskatchewan fund so their mincome is 1450 like everyone elses. sow e dont ahve seniorws sleeping in cold no heat water or water and eating dog or cat food.

            see below both old age pensions and income supplements forms you have to apply for and fill.



            Now you may wonder what the nheck have i goptten myself into writing back to that farmer, well I live in a socialist Democratic country, and the p[rograms we recieve there are still others I never l;isted or Od have to write anothger post and I post the veruifying because seems many americans want proof verify prove what ya say and I see your an eduicated lady you can read and decide too what we have is better, ohh and teachers forgot as your a teacher just a moment ill get that too sask teachers wages see below


            here is pay scale for the top brass at university of saskatchewan in saskatoon


            here is pay scales for some university professors are your wages same or better?


            Ok thats it cynthia have a great weekend where I live now its snowing and we have a temp of about -18 with blowing snow take care dear and all the best with the nuts in here hehehe reqards Blair in canada

          • Cynthia L Smith

            Hey Blair! I want to thank you for taking all that time to inform me of all that. I try to keep myself informed of many different cultures and various subjects. It sounds like what you have there is awesome. My son is trying to talk his fiance into moving to Canada. Sounds great but I personally hate the cold. I , again, apologize for being critical. I’m afraid it’s a very bad habit. I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas. I hope we can talk again soon.

          • Blair Schaan

            well Good afternoon , yup still is!!

            Its a ;lovely day december 8th m,y birthday, hehehe went to my moms last night for supper and sister and family was there, other sisters birthday is december 6th and her and her hubbie are in florida for winter so shes where its nice and warm’

            Last night it was -46 right now at 526PM its -21 with wind chill -35 and blowing snow.

            Yes the weathers a hinderance but we manage and we cope in winter we do a lot of sports hockey is Canadas national game then we have skiing and ski doos and right now the older folks favourite game curling will go for 2 months various tournaments so my moms and her friends and many women in my building are busy all day watching curling hehehe..
            Mosty people either have garages or we use that popular thing remote car starts which start cars and warm them up while your still in house so when you come out the cars warmed up .
            Many people dont have parking stalls to plug into in winter so they get special remote car starters which can be set so when interior of the car gets to -15 the car automatically starts and runs for 15 minutes and warms it up never have to plug it in but does use more gas hehehe.
            THis happens in many parts of the city where there are many apartments because many are single people and room mates and usually each suite has one parking stall so the others have to park on the street and their cars face the elements..

            Many of the better highrise apts have heated underground parking for all cars but then too people have to be careful how they handle things like always keep gas tank full of gas because if you park in heated parking then go to work and park outside your gas tank will get frosted up and when you come home and park it in nice warm parking again this frost melts into water in your tank and when you go out in the cold can freeze up your gas line, remember the gas tanks at back if car and gas runs in a pipe the size of a pencil to front where engine is and if you have water in gas and its cold when gets in middle of the line freezes up and stops the car as it gets no gas..

            Wow that would be great mom if your kids wanted to come to Canada its a varied country, in west coast British coilumbia is like washuington state rocky mountains forests etc Alberta is like northern california with some small mountains then flat prairies like Kansas or Nebraska, then theres saskatchewan where I live and its flat and open as far as you can see its all prairie where they grow wheat canola we have oil timber agriculture mining potash as provincial industries, Manitoba is poorer province largely agriculture fishing timber then ontario is mostly manufacturing mining etc. Quebec is a beautiful province but they want you to speak french so ok we ll pass, hehehe the atlantic provinces are beautiful, like Vermont Maine etc in America.

            Now we have a shortage of workers if your kids are skilled workers they can get work visas to work then permanent visas then they can apply for immigrant status and next is citizen ship .
            ILl again post a whole bunch of job sites of tjheres something in there they like have them checkl it out, see way system works if they find a job they like they can contact the business and applya nd ask about it then they have to have a letter from that business offering them a job then nthey can start the paperwork ohh yes lots of paper work.

            I have a computer phone system called a magic jack its about 49.99 to buy and 20 bucks a year or 99.00 for 5 years I love mine as I can call anywhere in north america for free ,s plugged into a USB port and plug a phone into it and away you go..

            If the kids want look around they should buy one then they can make all the calls they want and no long distance charges or even to call around the states looking for a job etc again no long distance charges. ok job sites in saskatchewan










            Now I dont know what part of canada the kids would like to move to but bring up google and type in job sites for say vancouver, Calgary Toronto montreal and will bring up all local job sites and the jobs they have listed. so can help them figure out what they want, once they get here they have to wait 90 days before they get their medicare its for all people after 90 days they are eligible for their medicare card and away they go which means then if they come visit mom and get sick theyd better get their butts back across the border hehehe but many canadians when they travel buy supplementary health insurance because our system only covers about 1/4 of the US they dont have to worry about that, and just think then youd have a reason to come visit our little country and when your kids get here and find out what we get maybe mom will give it a thought too but can move to Vanacouver where temps are like seattle hehehe
            Anyhow Cynthia thanks for all this and I also hope you and your family have a great christmas but seems mother natures pushing it kind of early this year with storms all over the world hehehe so all the best to you and yours take care and God Bless!

          • Blair Schaan

            and no problem cynthia if I wanna prove my point I have to have the proof of what I say so I do what I did for you this way you can check out what I say by checking out the sites , and when agruing with brain dead people makes life so much easier hehehe because first thing they say” whats your source? wheres your proof? so I automatically do it and never get hassles from people then hehehe

          • Blair Schaan

            Cynthia here are some videos and man it shows how poorly schooled americans are I knew all the answers to the questions asked on these videos, but gives you an idea and one id from one of the late night shows interview people and ask what they like better Obamacare or the ACA its so funny what people say and that shows how informed Americans are and is soo sad because it shows they dont know how badly they are off, compared to rest of world in programs and social things hehe






            if you are an educator this is a sign siomethings wrong and maybe students should learn hisotry as history not just american history or Americana hehehe

          • ICBM904

            The irony in you “sentennce” is hilarious. Thanks.

          • Ray Sinbran


          • memo

            the school system in California was one of the best several years after Reagan was Governor from K to graduate the UC system was among the top systems in the US. The problems started with Governor Moonbeam and …HE IS BACK!

          • Jay Vincent Ray

            Read the history of regan in CA and Prop 13!

          • Jim Seneczko

            Bad Reagan. Yea Socialism!…..Idiot!

          • Ray Sinbran

            Do you ever comment without calling somebody an idiot, idiot?

          • memo

            Curt, you got it right I probably live a short distance from you with what is considered a good school to pay my taxes to. Sadly it is pathetic compared to the pubic schools I attended when growing up. In those days the parochial high school was far out classed by the public school system.

          • ICBM904

            Yeah, you can expect great outcomes regardless of circumstance … if you ignore reality and scientific research. The latest research is showing that the language circuits are set in the first couple of years, and that the affluent get greater exposure that can never be fully made up. You can sit there and proclaim differently, but you can’t make up that facts to support your position.

          • art teacher

            Where do the parents come in…how about high expectations for them…again, someone not involved with education on a daily basis setting parameters…the teacher’s expectations are always high…they get watered down because they deal with parents who don’t do their job…if you don’t care about the education of your child…don’t put it on the teacher…I’m middle school…affluent district…100 students a day… (I’m part time) MOST of the kids are engaged and I love to move them higher each day…then there are some who just don’t care…is that my fault as a teacher (art) when I see them once a year for 10 weeks…or parents…who have lived with them for 12 years and helped form the attitude…I know you can say Art…not a biggie…but I tell you the students who perform on a high academic level…are always my best students…BECAUSE they are willing to accept instruction and try their hardest…WHERE does that come from??…Not the teacher your child just met this year

          • memo

            Real result mirror the expectations. Of course the expectations should be high you idiot

          • memo

            Wow teachers live almost like the rest of us,and to think Okies were met at the border of California by vigilantes trying to keep them out. Could have used a few more before the official language became Spanish.

          • Walt

            Here in Texas if a public school under-performs, that school’s funding gets cut. If the schools don’t improve their performance, in some cases, the schools are closed down.

            That means dispersing the kids to other schools, increasing their enrollments to what may already be exceeding those schools capacities.

          • Jack Klompus

            What a hysterical lie.

          • ICBM904

            What a ridiculous post.

          • memo

            then why did you post it?

          • Jason

            You’re inferring from JanDO’s suggestion that looking to private schools for the example implies that only the rich and white can succeed in education, which is complete BS. Lennerd B. gets closer to the truth.

          • ICBM904

            No, I implied that touting the success of private schools compared to public schools while ignoring the differences between students in public and private schools is ludicrous. It’s just that simple. If you think the students in a poverty-ridden public school with parents who barely get them to school, never interact with the school, and never involve themselves in their child’s education are going to learn at the same rate as affluent, private-school students who begin with vocabularies greater than the parents of the welfare child, then you’re short on the latest educational research and on logic and common sense.

          • memo

            what the fuck does that have to do with anything?
            Your question indicates the mind set that got the us into the mess that our children will have to suffer with.

          • ICBM904

            Oh, sorry. It has to do with reality versus whatever delusions occupy your mind. If you don’t think that the difference between students accepted in public schools and students accepted in private schools has everything to do with differing achievement between public and private schools, then you don’t think.

          • Snowy Oak 15

            Maybe one of the biggest problems with education is not lowering our science, reading, etc.. skills, but total ditching our ability to communicate. So many people are so set on their opinion that anything different is obviously completely wrong. In kindergarten we were taught to share, what happened? As people grow older they seem to forget the basics in life. Many may see that as a naïve statement and in response I ask the question: Why do we teach it to our kids if we don’t care about it when they grow up? Seems like a waste of time to me.

        • ruffsoft

          Yet, private schools here in America have been shown to outperform public schools ” Thumbs up for this falsehood. Go, propaganda!

          There is evidence to the contrary, that tests scores are about the same (with private schools able to cherry pick best students, reject special ed and at risk youth, with public math scores higher.

          “A 2009 study conducted by professors at the University of Illinois found that, contrary to conventional wisdom, public schools outscore private school when it comes to math. Despite their small class sizes, a national sample of private schools did not measure up to public schools with regard to standardized math assessments. The study was published as Achievement Differences and School Type: The Role of School Climate, Teacher Certification, and Instruction in the November 2008 issue of the American Journal of Education.”.

        • Jay Vincent Ray

          NOT! Private schools can hire any one to teach. No teaching credential, background check or any qualifications. They are not regulated like public schools. Their test scores can be private! Private schools are not performing better than public schools according to most studies. Do you really think lower standards, pay and training will help education? Most private schools cost more than public schools, check out the price of Catholic schools.
          Private schools can deny anyone access. Public schools can deny no one access like kids with special needs.

        • Marion Keith Nichols

          You are so wrong here. Many charter schools cherry pick their students from more affluent communities and then spend most of their efforts organizing the affluent parents into fund raising organizations while often performing worse than the public schools they denigrate

      • Richard Starr

        Finland does not have quite the same challenges with an influx

        of illiterate/poor immigrant population that adds a significant burden to the system. Add to that the burdens imposed by political correctness that insists on equal results, resulting in a dumbing down of our kids and the problems related to politically powerful teacher’s unions that make removal of poor/incompetent (sometimes criminal) teachers an expensive if not impossible task.

        • Claudia Gold

          “Sahlberg doesn’t think that questions of size or homogeneity should give Americans reason to dismiss the Finnish example. Finland is a relatively homogeneous country — as of 2010, just 4.6 percent of Finnish residents had been born in another country, compared with 12.7 percent in the United States. But the number of foreign-born residents in Finland doubled during the decade leading up to 2010, and the country didn’t lose its edge in education. Immigrants tended to concentrate in certain areas, causing some schools to become much more mixed than others, yet there has not been much change in the remarkable lack of variation between Finnish schools in the PISA surveys across the same period.”

        • Cynthia L Smith

          And the truth shall set you free! Bravo, finally a fully competent statement I can agree with wholeheartedly.

        • ChemicalEngineer

          Wah, wah, wah. Liberals always have some pathetic excuse for why their theories always fail. “We need more money.” And “It’s the immigrants fault.”
          Well who is behind massive illegal immigration? What do you know. Democrats.
          America is collapsing and Democrats are accelerating the decline.

          • richardstarr

            LOL. Calling “me” a liberal or a Democrat just shows
            you did not read my comment. Reread it and then think, does it really sound like I’m supporting the status quo here?

            In any case, sadly, the Republicans can’t be trusted all that much on immigration either. Look at McCain and Rubio. There are four forces driving illegal immigration.

            1) Public Service unions want new “clients”. Things were getting better and the need for them was dropping. Additionally birth rates were also dropping reducing the need for teachers specifically.

            2) Race based politics. The Demographics show huge growth potential. The problem for the GOP is that the only thing they have to offer this group is their “pro life” stand vs the Democrats “Free stuff”
            message. Guess which one wins out among poor people, especially when you act to fund the needs of those kids they had.

            3) Churches need to replace the people they lost as more and more people see priests as just ordinary people, nothing special, and they want the tithes to start coming back.

            4) Businesses like cheap labor. An over supply of labor drives down wages and demands. The new immigrants are more pliable. So, if you are black and have not secured a government job, you better have talent or the odds are getting worse for you. The Latinos will vote Latino the way Blacks vote Black which means Obama is the first and likely last Black President.

      • Chris Pasquariello

        Socialism works when it is not mixed with diversity.

        • Robert

          Racism works when its not mixed with inteligence

          • Chris Pasquariello

            lolol, that’s racist? It’s true. I said nothing of anyone’s race on this post.

          • tjslaub


        • Dale Little


          • Chris Pasquariello

            Homogeneous cultures. When every person in a society is genetically and physically similar, it is actually a natural inclination to want to share resources; as genes are already shared, sharing food or money becomes not that big of an issue.

            Off the top of my head, China and Germany are known for their lack of racial diversity. But, Communism is successful in China and Germany’s Socialist system has made its economy the best in Europe (least debt and lowest unemployment).

            When dealing with mixed-raced cultures though, one race will always feel as if it is carrying the weight of others. Whether or not this is true, is a different story. But it is definitely a natural inclination to NOT pool resources with competing genes. Where it works in a society of shared genes, socialism in a diverse society is actually mentally retarded.

            It’s like when you play a sport; you share equipment, bandaids, Gatorade, etc. with your own team mates; no problem at all. When you ask your team mate for his bottle of Gatorade, then walk it across the field and give it to the other team….. that’s a problem.

        • Blair Schaan

          Chris what is socialism? you use a number of socialist things in America, public education for all, POlice forces.,fire dept, you also have and may use a Credit union not a bank, its owned by its members as socialist as ya can get, a CO-OP or CO-OPerative store company or busness owned by it members again all socialism at its finest and they work very well too. in Canada and rest of the industrialised and civilised world have one form of universial health care or another and the USA has nudda companies get stuck footing the bill for their workers and decided to move off shore because they couldnt compete.

          • Chris Pasquariello

            I’m not a right-wing conservative parroting what I hear on the anti-Obama media. Socialism works in some countries, it doesn’t work in others.

            Of course, libraries, police, fire, post offices… all important local social-services. But, the American public school system is an argument AGAINST Socialism and universal healthcare. Americans all know what it was supposed to be, and we all know what it really is; two opposite things.

            The conservatives’ argument against universal healthcare is about putting money over the population’s health. That’s not my argument. My argument is about competence. The “leaders” in America are too incompetent and friendly towards the healthcare industry to actually run a universal healthcare program properly. I mean, look at how the website launched…. American leaders can not run a website!!!!!

            I am self-employed (sell things on the internet). I’ve gone without health insurance for years because it would have cost $500 a month to get individual insurance (much more per year than just paying out-of-pocket). Now, with Obamacare and these exchanges, I have the option of getting insurance at…… $500 a month!!!!! The only thing that has changed is that, now, if I don’t buy Healthcare, I will be fined.

            America loves Canadians the same way a parent loves their children. Never grow up, Canada : )

      • Former Trojan

        This issue isn’t whether private vs. public schools do better because of just socioeconomics. The real difference is that private schools can pick and choose who their students will be. Good students with supportive parents, etc. come from all socioeconomic backgrounds. Sure, having more money makes it easier, but there are plenty of lower income kids who have the social support they need to do well. The real difference is that public schools MUST take everyone. Those kids who get kicked out of private schools? They become public school problems. Parents who aren’t involved in their children’s schooling – they go to public schools. Kids whose parents can’t afford to send their kids to private school go to public schools. People who believe in public schools send their kids there. Public schools get the full spectrum of students. Private schools can screen and select only those students they want to let in. They then can’t get rid of those kids who later don’t perform whether academically or socially. Private schools siphon off more of the achieving students (regardless of their socioeconomic background) making the “average” performance for public schools go lower as they are left to deal with the “problems” the private schools don’t want, as well as the remaining full spectrum of students.

        • ChemicalEngineer

          Sorry, but your pablum is straight from the mouths of teachers’ union bigwigs. In New York City, the Union Boss stood up in front of a preening bunch of know-it-alls and said, “I’d like to see the Catholic schools take our bottom 5% of students and teach them!” The teachers of course cheered their approval. Then a dignified nun stood up and said, “On behalf of the Catholic Archdiocese of New York City, I accept your proposal.”

          The cowardly teachers’ union never delivered on their big mouth “offer.” Nota bene: The Teachers Charter School of New York is ranked in the bottom 5% of 1600 NYC schools. Carl Icahn’s four charter schools are ranked from 88% to 99%. So much for teacher professionalism and expertise.

      • ruffsoft

        Nonsense; socialism always fails. The test results, income, etc of Finns is govt issued lies. Finland is descending into poverty and chaos. Socialism always fails. That’s a first principle: facts are irrelevant.

        PS: I am home-shooled.

        • Andrew

          Wow, talk about high expectations, or maybe it’s just tunnel vision. What does a country have to do to succeed; educate its people so they can contribute to society, insure personal freedoms similar to those guaranteed to citizens of free market capitalist nations, economic success? Because socialist leaning countries tend to do these things as well as free market countries, perhaps one should make this determination based upon the percentage of the population who fail to take part in society.
          I personally think that the system’s failure to incorporate a proportion of its population more than eight times larger than socialist systems is a pretty good indication of what is truly failing.

        • Mitchell Brown

          It shows.

        • Blair Schaan

          it shows!!

        • Blair Schaan

          Really home schooled it shows if youd read up on whats happening in the world the social democratic country of scandinavia are the best most content and happy and well off people in the world by scandinavian I mean Norway, Sweden, Finland Denmark and Iceland.
          Ya ever travel go visit them and see how much ahead they are in many areas we think we are doing great in

          Funny in USA socialism works very wello, public schools for all, police depts, fried depts credit unions instead of banks hey you the members own it, same as CO-OPS and Co-operatives companies businesses owned by their members thats socialism at its finest and is booming in USA sadly to say must be a bitch eh, home schooling ya sure explains a lot

          • lompico

            It seems I can’t outcrazy crazy. My absurd post was meant to be satire.

            Socialism in the US has been a dirty word, a smear, but the younger generation is changing everything; from pot legalization to non-racism to same sex marriage, and a recent poll showed that 30% approve of the label socialism. The most popular political label in the US is progressive!

            Sadly, the US is not a democracy; elections are not democratic (that’s how we got Bush), in the HOUSE, the Dems got the most votes but the Repubs rule because of district boundary manipulation (gerrymandering), and in the Senate, Montana has the same votes as CAlifornia, tho Cali has 70 times more citizens. In the Senate, 41 votes blocks 59.

            The US, technically, is a fascist nation (“merging of interests of the state and the corporations” Mussolini) or a plutocracy/kleptocracy…….but things are changing.

            I attended public schools through UC Berkeley and, with 8th grade educated parents and public education, earned a fellowship to Harvard and NYU graduate schools.

            I am a libertarian socialist in the mold of the Diggers, the Levelers, the anarchist/syndicalists, and Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Richard Wolfe–all of whom are banned from the corporate media in the freest nation on earth (if you are rich).

      • ZoomZoomDiva

        However, despite the relatively high pay within Finland, their pay is not higher than teacher pay in the United States. However, the prestige of the job and relative pay compared to other options makes teaching more attractive.

      • Mgga

        My mother was Finnish, all my maternal relatives are Finnish and live in Finland. I know what it is like to have a Finnish parent and Finnish culture driving you. Finland is highly consistent culturally. Education and literacy are expected and lack of educational success is shameful to the family. This may be very similar to Asian culture! Face the facts all, cultures are different. Education in the US will not improve unless we accept high education cultures as more desirable and diminish low education cultures. If doing so is deemed discriminatory or racist then it won’t happen and neither will our educational standing in the world regardless of how much money is spent. Improve the culture or lose!

    • John Czarnecki

      Well Martin, mostof the countries ahead of the US on the charts above are far more socialist then we are with better results. Blows your theory all to hell.

    • beseriousplease

      I hope you’re a leftist trying to mock the right, because what you posted isn’t even close to a rational thought.

    • Lennerd B.

      Martin, it is not a socialist ideal that everyone has to be equal. Clearly, people are not at all equal. Some people are born smart, rich, and good-looking, others stupid, poor, and ugly. That’s Nature for ya.

      But the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America states in part that “all men” are created equal. What that means is that in the eyes of the Founders of the country, the law (and some would say God) views each citizen as worthy of being afforded the equal protection of the law, such as the law provides. If you don’t believe in this proposition, then you are at odds with the founding principles of this country.

      I invite you to look at my post about poverty and to read the link below, posted by Jeff which goes into some detail about the effects of poverty on pre-school and school-aged children.

      All the so-called socialists are trying to say is that to give a child born into poverty an equal shot means that we have to give them a hand up where a rich kid already has the hand up and the handout — from his family.

      • Andy W

        That is a complete twisting of the intention of the founders and the plain language of the Constitution. We are born and treated equally *under the law*…not treated to *equal outcomes* or an “equal shot”. Stop conflating the two. The truth is: there is no mythical “equal shot”…it is an idea created by charlatans to draw to themselves money and power. It is snake oil salesmen logic. You can have equal standards, or (artificially) equal outcomes…but never both.

        • Mitchell Brown

          Have you ever read the writings by Thomas Paine regarding a guaranteed income? This is basically social security 90 years before the Iron Chancellor implemented the scheme in Germany. Have you ever read the writings of various founding fathers like Jefferson, Paine, Hamilton, et. al., regarding estate taxes (death taxes in your parties partisan parlance)? They were talking about taxing greatly the vast estates extant in the new United States for the simple reason of not giving some an un-equal shot. They were not too keen on seeing monied dynasties in their new country. Andy W, I think YOU’VE been indoctrinated. I think YOU might want to increase your education on the Founding Generation.

        • Blair Schaan

          Andy the constitution w2here it says we are all born equal under the law that is sir if you are a WHITE MAN IF YOU ARE A BLACK MAN you are listed as chattel ya know what chattel is? its cows horses hogs goats sheep, and finally niggers who are slaves., and tjhe slaqve owner could tqake children sell them sell a female black lady or her husband because hed be a good stud like a horse stallion or a bull, NO Andy that constitution is way behind times and not equal at all as I said unless you is a white man then its great! , and even today if your black yellow brown you are not equal in the eyes of many in society as many label you all; as terrorists or called other nasty names, so sad though it really is.

      • Blair Schaan

        thank you!!

    • wisdompersonified

      Martin, your point is right on. Much of the commentary here disagrees with you because they cannot handle the truth, and it definitely doesn’t coincide with their socialist agendas. True equality is to develop the potential of each child to the greatest level, not to feed everyone the same slop in the name of “equality”, even if it is “good” slop.

    • ruffsoft

      Who told you this? Equality means equal opportunity for all, which requires good healthcare, nutrition, education, and shelter for all.
      Equality also means equal respect for all, the lowest are to be respected and treated with dignity.

      Many enjoy kicking the downtrodden, kids on foodstamps, low-paid Walmart workers on medicaid, underpaid and exploited undocumented labor. Many, who are just a stick above the poor, like to defend the rich who have hogged all the wealth the past 30 years, as median wage has dropped 30%. By attacking those at the bottom, they get the illusion of raising themselves up a little. This is a crime against humanity and undermines our fundamental value, “all men are created equal…” as a nation.

      Poverty is up, test scores are up: a remarkable victory over the scourge of growing inequality. All our evils can be traced to the idea that growing inequality is in the public interest and expresses an American value, rather than the death of democracy, equality, equal voice in government equal treatment under the law, equal access to basic rights (health/education/clean environment), and liberty except for the rich and privileged. As FDR said: “A necessitous man is not free.” As fewer and fewer have freedom, as inequality grows and poverty increases, only the derailment of the aristocracy of wealth will give us back our basic equality, liberty, and democracy on which this “great nation was founded.”

      • Cynthia L Smith

        I have to correct you on one thing you said. How dare you describe an illegal, criminal worker as underpaid and exploited! What a ludicrous thing to say. They are neither underpaid nor are they exploited. Quite to the contrary in point of fact! If that were true they wouldn’t be pouring into this country at an alarming rate. They come here with pregnant women who then drop an anchor baby in housing I pay for and receive food, medical care, housing, an education that exceeds what my own children have access to and the men live for free with the women while paying no taxes on earnings they are sending back to Mexico. All while the taxpayers spend BILLIONS TO KEEP THEM . You’ve got it backwards you brainless liberal. We are the victims of our own failed legal system and generosity. Oh yes, and don’t forget the men go to the ER for care and never pay. Which is why I have to pay as much as I do. So you can take that bleeding heart garbage back to UCLA . Get an education in the real world.

  • Neversumm3r

    Is the per-student spending extrapolated from the total UN-defined estimates of school-aged children?  Are each of the countries’ data points addressed to actual school-aged population?  In addition, does your backing data have budgetary allocations identified for the total spending numbers cited?  I wonder where these “spendthrift” countries are putting their money to get those results. 

    Also, are there data to speak to social status of the populations identified?  Individual student SES indicators would certainly impact testing “success” and learning “rates”.

    Japan is kicking US butt, however they are spending more per teacher than the US for their time.  What does that infographic and this one above tell us?  …

  • Mbrandsma4

    As someone who was raised in Europe (the Netherlands) thru age 21, then finished college in the US, I have unique personal experience of both education systems. From my personal perspective doesn’t have anything to do with “socialist” or “conservative” approach, but has everything to do with expectations: both of the teachers, as well as the students. Expect a lot, you’ll get a lot; expect little and that’s what you get. 

    Schools in the Netherlands teach to a high standard, that’s it. They don’t do sports, they don’t have social engineering, or social clubs (at least not when I was in school), no “home coming”, prom, and all other things that are distractions from education.I also agree with Martin S that teacher salaries are a good indicator of how much value a country really puts on education, regardless what the politicians say during the campaign. In Holland, a teacher’s pay is higher than in the US and is enough to support a family as a one-income family, if you so choose. Here in the US, large majority of primary and secondary teachers are part of a two-income family. Clearly the higher $$ per pupil is not going where it needs to: teachers and curriculum.

    Let’s pay teachers more, expect more from them. Let’s cut out the social engineering in our US schools, and get back to basics of math, science, comprehensive reading. The US can, should, and will rise again, but only if it gets serious about core education, and cutting down all the distractions.

    • Ophelia

      However, there are social safety nets in the Netherlands that do not exist here. We have no paid sick leave for many employees nor maternity/paternity leave nor child care. The most caring with high expectations will raise insecure children when there is financial difficulty. In the US, the cycle of poverty is tough to break.

    • Austin

      I’d like to know what you mean by “social engineering” in schools in the USA.

      • andrew_owens

        I got that one right away. You must have been successfully engineered. I wasn’t.

      • Justin L

        “engineered” as in here in the States we’re taught what to think rather than how to think.

    • Gina M. Nardoianni

      well said, Mbrandsma4. And as you can see, there are always those who are focused on looking for that insult.

    • CurtCharlesPDX

      Very well put, and spot-on!

    • darkshadowgirl

      I do agree with almost everything you said with one exception. Teacher’s salaries are high enough . They can live on the money they get. The problem with most family budgets is American living standards are much higher than most. We have to have the latest of everything, always. The biggest cars, tv’s , you name it. Frankly, I’m sick of how teachers handle classrooms in this country and how parents , both working, ignore education. Our school principals make stupid money. Broken families don’t work. Both parents working fulltime doesn’t work. Teachers who can’t handle their jobs doesn’t work. I agree, we need to cut out all extra curricular activity and make school a place to learn again. Sports is something that shoul be done outside of school. We have a serious problem that everybody in this country seems to think throwing more money at it will solve it. Everyone is afraid to say no to more money for schools because every other idiot will scream ” he doesn’t want to spend money on the kids ” . There goes the election.

      • Jay Vincent Ray

        Teachers are underpaid in the US. Six years of college and two years of student teaching and the starting pay is only $35,000. A manager at Burger King with no college degree makes more money. Almost every college graduate with six years of school makes more than teachers! Most countries pay their teachers more than the US. I do not know where you live but where I live teaches cannot afford to pay rent in their district. Most teachers have two jobs.

        At the moment, the average teacher’s pay is on par with that of a toll taker or bartender. Teachers make 14 percent less than
        professionals in other occupations that require similar levels of
        education. In real terms, teachers’ salaries have declined for 30 years.
        The average starting salary is $39,000; the average ending salary —
        after 25 years in the profession — is $67,000. This prices teachers out
        of home ownership in 32 metropolitan areas, and makes raising a family
        on one salary near impossible.
        So how do teachers cope? Sixty-two percent work outside the classroom to make ends meet.

        • dhosebag

          A $35K salary for 9 month’s work is over $23 per hour. I doubt that the manager at your Burger King gets paid $23 per hour ($46K per full time year). In addition, teachers receive a benefit package that is probably worth another 25% – 30% of their salary (additional $9K to $11K) over and above their salary.

          • Sentfortruth

            Great points. Teachers don’t like to acknowledge that they work less of the year than others. That means their salaries are actually higher.

          • Tired of the idiots

            If you are not a teacher, you need to shut your mouth about working 9 months a year or anything we do. You don’t get to talk until you’ve walked in our shoes, in our schools.

            We don’t work 40 hours a week; it’s more like 60. We have to grade papers, meet with our team, plan, write lessons, get ready for tomorrow, enter grades, have more meetings (faculty, professional development, parent-teacher conferences), and stay after school to help students who are struggling. How many parents like staying home with their children 8 hours a day? Now add in 30 other screaming, needy children who you have teach. And we are working over the summer break. We are getting professional development (that we most likely have to pay for), as REQUIRED by our district and state.

          • flyby_guest

            My wife is a (bi-lingual) teacher (K, 1, 3 and now 5). she does not work 60 hours/week. The only thing she ever complains about is her inability to take bathroom breaks.

            I *do* work 60 /week. I leave for work an hour before she does, come home 5 hours after she does and I go into the office few weekends/month. I’m on call 24/7. Once a year, I go to her classroom to help hang posters on the wall. I spend 5 hours a week on personal technical development (learning new computer languages/systems).

            And she earned enough to afford her own condo in San Diego all by herself. Yes, I earn twice what she does, but I also have almost no free time while she gets to go hang out at the park or beech on weekends and take vacations. Don’t pretend there’s no trade-off.

          • paid_plenty

            LOL. The idiot, child hating, censoring communist, teaching our children. Working one week out of the summer does not constitute working over the summer. If it takes you an additional 6 hours per day after the kids leave to “educate” maybe you are not smart enough to be teaching.

          • Mister H

            A teacher is actually paid for a 6-hour day. However, they need to grade work for each student, which takes five to ten minutes for essays, more if a teacher is grading for mechanics, usage, spelling, content, structure and overall effectiveness, making sure each portion of an argument is supported with sufficient evidence. Perhaps once a week is enough for that kind of grading? Multiply five minutes against 200 students, and there is almost never enough time to handle all those (essays, projects, notebooks, power points or other outcome products) during school time. So, let’s figure another hour per day for grading the week’s work, which is a modest estimate in relation to major final projects which eat up an entire weekend, unpaid. So, let’s pretend (low-balling unbelievably) that teachers work 7 but are paid for six, the per-hour wage goes down. But, wait, there’s more:

            Planning time: lessons need to constantly be re-written to conform to new standards, new students, special students who are added to every classroom nowadays to keep them socialized and enriched into the least restrictive environment, but their various difficulties and learning challenges usually mean modifying lesson plans to incorporate appropriate versions for them. Let’s say, again modestly, that there are only two separate challenges in the classroom–visually impaired or hearing impaired or needing extra time or needing extra handouts or simplifications or written daily evaluations for parents and special education supervisors or copies of everything or altered lesson plans with audio or video or more graphic organizers or simplified criteria charts or additional outlines or teacher-modeled lessons on video to review again later. These don’t just happen; they take time. That is unpaid time, and it can take minutes or hours depending on the assignment, depending on the levels of learning in lesson plans, and depending on the extent of writing, technology, or creativity or depth required. This happens on the unpaid clock, mostly, and professional assistance and resources are limited and never sufficient to keep more hours from entering the unpaid category.

            Teachers are required to keep furthering their skills and extending their education and training. In LAUSD, Mr. Coritinas has eliminated this happening during classtime, so teachers are required–REQUIRED–to take classes or undergo trainings on weekends or vacations or after-school hours. Some of that is paid, but at a lower rate than a teacher’s usual salary.

            There is much, much more. But already the absurd quantifications critics use of hourly wages are divided in a fairyland far from the real world in which teachers must accommodate, accommodate, accommodate, while inundated with more and more paper work, cleaning, substitute parenting, impromptu counseling, planning, grading, enduring countless special education evaluation meetings and other conferences, as needs climb, requirements rise, expectations soar, and resources and funding plummet.

            In short, your math is insulting and uninformed.

      • The teacher

        I am a teacher, 8 years experience and with an advanced degree. After years of schooling and being schooled, I barely make ends meet. I make barely over the national average for teachers (that’s what my schooling and experienced got me). I have to work a second job in order to pay for my school loans. All for what? For the future of this world and the passion I feel for preparing them to face that future. My fear is that one day I will give up this profession because despite my many years of experience I will still be over-worked and underpaid, that people that make education policy, without having the experience of the classroom, will pass laws and expectations that are useless, surrealistic, and that tire us teachers who still have hope to the point of no return to our classrooms. Seeking other jobs where we are better considered in all aspects.
        If you want to support your claims of what doesn’t work: broken families, both parents working, high expectations of teachers, etc, then teachers also have to receive decent salaries. Otherwise, our children may also add to the students that can’t succeed due to problems at home such as: raised by two working parents because my salary as a teacher couldn’t support a family, maybe broken home because of economic hardships and/or the parent who is a teacher works too many hours for such little pay (Yes, we work well over 40 hours a week and year round despite the “vacation” dressed work time- don’t forget that after teaching about 6 hours a day, maybe more, we have to plan, make copies, enhance curriculum, grade, call parents, respond to emails, go to meetings, respond to administrators, tutor students, grade, create tests, grade, create quizzes, plan, grade, create better worksheets that follow the content the curriculum requires, and there’s always more grading and planning!)…
        Talk to teachers, learn what keeps us in this profession and what we criticize about it. Once you do I bet that you will at least be more understanding of how disrespected and unappreciated we feel by our society, but by golly, our passion for teaching, for a brighter future for the kids, your kids, keeps us coming back day after day, year after year… and hopefully we won’t loose that passion or energy because not many can both handle this profession and be as good a teacher as many of us are.
        Respect your teachers, support them, your children’s future is in their hands.

        • Marion Keith Nichols

          You know you say that and I agree with you but I am a support employee. A bus driver and I work the same hours as you and every year I have to listen during contract talks as we are told that we can’t get a pay raise because the any extra money the district has is going to satisfy the teachers.
          In my district since 2007 we have had two pay raises totaling three percent each. One of those pay raises came with us having to contribute an additional 3% toward our retirement. So basically one three percent pay raise in seven years. In the last seven years my annual salary has jumped $420 and the teachers got a minimum of $1,800 this year alone.
          Thirty Five Percent of our support personnel do not draw a salary that bring them above the Federal Poverty level. Over twenty five percent of these salaries would not even lift a single person above the poverty line let alone a family.
          The worst part is many of the teachers actually look down their noses at us. I have spoken on the subject several times at board meeting and have had quite a few teachers tell me that I should shut up because I’m “JUST A BUS DRIVER”. So I hope you’ll forgive me if I think it horrible that your “PASSION” has a price tag.

          • Mrs. Sawyers


            As a public school teacher, I appreciate and thank you for your dedication to our children by transporting them to, and from, school each day. Having three children of my own, I simply cannot imagine driving a busload of them. Your work IS important and deserves a fair wage.
            That being said, I also believe that I deserve a fair wage. In the state of North Carolina, our last teacher pay raise was in 2008. Since then, our pay has been frozen, including step pay and cost of living increases. We have been furloughed and our school budgets have been slashed, eliminating even the paltry amount we had previously received for classroom supplies. After attending school for almost six years (I have just finished completing a Master’s Degree) I expected to gross at least $40,000 last year, given I have taught for 13 years. It still hasn’t happened. That sounds like a great deal of money; however, once taxes and insurance are taken out, I take home just over $2000 per month.

            This year, 25% of the teachers in our state will receive a $500 per year pay raise, if they choose to accept it. In order to receive that raise, the teacher must give up their tenure and move to a four year contract. How will they choose the 25%? That is based on teacher evaluations. Receiving distinguished ratings across the evaluation may not be enough, as only 25% will receive the pay raise.

            I realize we are all in situations that are frustrating. My passion is what keeps me in my classroom. It is what allows me to choose to work a second job, and donate plasma two days per week so I can put food in my children’s mouths and clothing on their backs. We do not have much, but we make do. Student loan payments prevent me from having my own vehicle, so my husband and I must commute together everywhere. The gas bill is outrageous. But my students are worth it.

            Each time a student lights up because they understand a concept that had been beyond them, I know that I make the right decision.

            Each time a parent comes to me, thanking me for making sure their child made it to graduation, I know I make the right decision.

            Each time I am called to the office for a visitor to find a former student who comes to thank me for not giving up on them, even when they were ready to give up on themselves, I know I make the right decision.

            Each time I look into the eyes of a child who has been told that they can’t do it, but they have done it, I know I make the right decision.

            Teaching is not about money, but it certainly does make it easier to be passionate about your students, when you do not have to sacrifice food for yourself so that you can feed your children.

          • Marion Keith Nichols

            Mrs. Sawyers – as I stated previously, since 2007 our support employees have received just two three percent pay raises and one of them was a wash because it offset a 3% deduction the state took for our retirement.

            Our per pupil spending is $189 below what is was in 2007 because of our governor. His first year he cut $3 Billion out of education and has since restored $1.3 Billion and is using this as a pitch for his reelection. People seem to have forgotten the $3 Billion.

            Our teachers received a pay raise this year that averages out to $1,800 per teacher. In my county that package was $6.1 million dollars and it was passed 5-0 by the school board in less than 30 seconds. The support employees got one step. For me that comes out to less than $400 per year. If I weren’t retired military I couldn’t live on it at all. This package was $860k and it passed 4-1 after close to 45 minutes of debate by the school board.

            So, while I don’t begrudge teachers a living wage, I keep asking myself why are the poorest paid people made the scapegoats for all the problems in the education process. As I said before, many of the teachers in this district treat us with disdain. I don’t want to generalize this attitude, but it almost always plays out as an us against them scenario and the administrators are more than willing to drive that wedge in there.

            One teacher picking up her students at my bus drinking a Starbucks Mocha complaining about our last pay raise suggesting that it could have been better spent in the classroom while I was drinking a plain coffee from a Jiffy store because they are kind enough to give us our coffee for free as long as we provide the cup. Needless to say being professional at that point was the most difficult part of my job.

        • TheCher

          How much do school Principles earn?

      • anonymous

        Teachers don’t make nearly enough, and both parents working full-time works just fine. That’s it.

      • Doug in Poynette

        You seem to have no idea of all a teacher does.

        • Marion Keith Nichols

          You make it sound as if teachers are mystic benevolent sages who toil tirelessly without complaint for table scraps. The facts I’ve noticed don’t jive with that. The last Teacher Planning day we had here, I went to the local high school and found just six teachers doing any planning. They had two bass boats backed up to the cafeteria raiding the ice machine all while planning where they were going to put in. So don’t pretend to be a saint suffering for your profession for me because that crap won’t play.

      • Dan

        You get what you pay for

    • investtowinineducation

      Re teacher pay. Let;s pay less and expect more. Fact from article. U.S pays $7.743 per year, almost $2,000 higher than anyone else in the article. What facts do you offer that any or all of the other seven countries pay teachers more? Holland is not relevant to this discussion as it’s metrics are not in this articl. Agree with several of your other points..

      • Concerned Parent

        7.743 is what is spent per child, that is not the teacher pay. Do your research and you will find that we are on the low end of the scale for teacher pay.

  • NordicChicMN

    How much of the”money spent per pupil” in the U.S. is spent on adminstrators, school buildings, & fancy technology vs in other countries?  As opposed to how much is spent on paying really well educated teachers to teach???

    • Cajsa

      How much is spent on expensive standardized testing programs sold by the people who lobbied for No Child Left Behind? They have made billions and diverted teacher energy from teaching how to think and learn to teaching to the tests.

      • Cynthia L Smith

        No child left behind is a colossal cluster fuck. It means that you don’t bother with the one’s getting behind. You just pass them onto the next grade. Tenth grade comes around and the kid doesn’t know how to add or read and they tell him to take his chances out there. What a screwed up system.

  • John Collins
    • Km

      John, that link shows spending as a percentage of GDP. The US has the highest GDP in the world.

  • just wondering

    does anyone know if this information is normalized by GDP…or average cost of living?

  • Lennerd B.

    Full disclosure: I’m a teacher. My college professor told me on almost the first day of class: the public schools you will go to teach in will perfectly reflect the value and esteem the community has towards education.

    Couldn’t be truer.

    This has echoes of the health care debate: the US spends the most per capita there and on k-12 education with neither highest longevity in the case of healthcare, nor highest test scores in the case of education as the result of all that money.

    But the real unexamined parts of this is poverty. If you remove the bottom 20% poor kids from our calculations, the remainder perform right up there with Finland and Singapore, the perennial leaders in the test score sweepstakes. And if we could, as the Scandanavians including the Finns have largely done, remove the effects of poverty on school-age children, we could bring up our whole ship. Poverty almost guarantees that parents to have no time for reading to their kids, buy books, go to libraries. Show me a kid who thinks learning is fun because she’s been in a great preschool for two years before entering kindergarten and I’ll show you a kid who will be a successful learner. Show me a kid who is lost on the first day of school because they don’t know 1 from 2, red from green, and a from z and can easily see that other kids do know these things, and I’ll show you a kid who will struggle for likely years, feel herself to be “less than.” All from poverty and the resultant stresses of no money and parenting without opportunity.

    The first 5 years are the most important formative years in a kid’s life. And we have almost no education plan for that age group. So the school systems, using a manufacturing metaphor, put into their assembly lines components that they know to be inferior and expect a stellar product out the end in 12 years. This is folly. The parents are always the first and most important teacher a child has.

    • Jeanna

      Thank you. THIS is the reality behind the numbers.

    • Cynthia L Smith

      My children grew up in poverty and I did the best I could. I can name 2 teachers out of 5 children that went through the public and level 5 system, 2 teachers out of probably 50 who made a difference to my kids. 2 teachers who went the extra mile and in turn got results and respect from my kids. Teachers aren’t without blame here. Don’t delude yourself into thinking you aren’t part of the problem.

      • Cynthia L Smith

        I tried to get my grandson into a preschool program and do you know what they told me? I’m sorry but he was born here and speaks English and has at least one working parent ( his mother ) so he isn’t eligible. I was so angry I couldn’t see straight. It was one of the most ridiculous things I’d ever heard. So I ( who pay taxes) and my daughter ( who pays taxes) cannot enroll our child into a public school program called HEADSTART so that he won’t be one of those children. BUT A FREELOADING CRIMINAL ILLEGAL IS WELCOMED. On my money!

  • enow

    Sorry, but the simple fact is that a society that gears their educational system to satisfy political agendas, religion, economic gain and sports is not going to produce anything more than poorly skilled individuals. It is time for the American citizen to wake up and realize that we are NOT #1 at anything, except at spending. Education is critical to a viable democracy, and we pay little or no attention to learning, we are too individualistic, to self absolved and out of touch.

  • Porterfield Exotics

    Restore education to the states and let the states compete for perfomance.

  • 16th amendment

    No one has mentioned the main reason for the sorry state of US education: Teacher unions. Of course, central planning through state governments and the federal department of education is to blame too.

    Does the spending per student include the massive pensions, health care benefits? In many countries kids stay in school longer, meaning that teachers are paid less to work more. One should at spending per capita per school day.

    Our socialistic ideas in the US are putting us on a path towards decline.

    • Ophelia

      I pay for my pension. I also pay for my benefits. Additionally, why do other countries pay the healthcare and benefits of all citizens but we do not? Unions may have problems but are not the cause. Any place that has no union has much more unstable communities in the US than unionized labor jobs create.

      • 16th amendment

        The question is are you contributing enough for the amount you are getting back?

        Suppose you make 72k a year, or 6k a month, and put 1k or 16% into your pension/401k. Using the calculator at, plug in that your initial investment is 0, monthly contribution 1k, interest 3.5%, and 30 years. Final value is $637,266. At retirement they recommend taking 4% of your account balance every year, so that works out to $25,490 per year.

        Most teacher contributions are less than 16%. Some are even 0%. Pensions are often based on the final year salary, like in CA. Historical rates of return are between 3% and 4%. Yet public unions get much more than 25k pensions.

        In CA they passed a law saying that teachers can get up to 90% of their final year salary, and police 100%. They did this at the height of the dot-com boom and assumed we would an annual rate of return of 8%. That’s highly optimistic and goes very against historical norms. The final year salary could easily be above 100k.

        Pensions are also unfunded, unless you are a union boss. This means that your pensions go into a big fund, and part of the fund is sold off the pay current pensioners. Like a Ponzi scheme.

        In IL teachers went on strike and turned down a 16% raise over 4 years (and this in a time when people are not getting such big raises because of the economy) because they don’t want teacher evaluations. It is practically impossible to fire a bad teacher.

      • 16th amendment

        Also, I’d say that places with strong unions are often more unstable. Huge salary and pension costs can bring a company down. We saw that with Hostess. You observe that airlines with big unions are in trouble too, from United, Delta, American Airlines. Even some cities like Vallejo and Stockton have gone broke. With government salaries and pensions they just raise taxes — property taxes, sales taxes, income taxes, traffic fines, you name it — to pay the benefits, sometimes cutting other jobs (such as state parks, recycling). And people see their taxes going up, and over time that makes society as a whole less stable.

        • Mitchell Brown

          I’d say you’re a provincial twit who’s never left America – except possibly to kill people, but I doubt you’d consider actually enlisting. Keep watching Faux “News” and I hope you’re really really old and in failing health.

        • Cynthia L Smith

          It is my belief that unions are a huge part of why we have no factories and thus why we have no jobs. They got too greedy. They were supposed to protect the workers from abuse. Not to make sure the guy that sweeps the floors at Harley Davidson starts at $24 / hr. With 3 paid months off a year. It’s the unions that are bringing this country to it’s knees. To hell with these unions. Meanwhile my sister with a child that has autism has a recording of his teacher cursing, screaming, pounding on his desk, calling him a dirty stinking Puerto Rican still has her job. Thank you teacher’s union… for making sure we have the shittiest teachers in the world.

    • blueblueroses

      And yet, Finland, which has very strong teacher’s unions, is leading the world in education and student outcomes. Teaching is also the fifth-highest paid profession there, attracting the best of the best to that field.

      I’d like to see a comparison about what the US spends vs the other First World nations that are excelling in education, but I truly doubt that the cost of unions and good teacher benefits is causing the drag.

      • 16th amendment

        See my response to Ophelia, where I say that pensions costs are enormous. In CA, the government estimates that pension costs will be $500 over 10 years. The state (just state, not counties and cities) spends about $200B a year. So $50B a year is enormous. Police and firefighter pensions account for most of the pension cost though.

  • Dannie

    The state of education in the U.S. is a reflection of our society as a whole. Give me this and give me that. Teacher MAKE me smarter. When will we as Americans get back to our roots and earn all that we desire instead of look for an easy way out. Washington DC is not the answer, more money is not the answer, the answer is to find the drive to become excellent. Something certain individuals in this country lothe. I won’t name names or call anybody names, you figure it out. Or will that be too difficult – maybe I should give you the answer.

    • Mitchell Brown

      Empty platitudes. Your statements are as hollow as your head.

  • James Dorans

    In Finland Education is put as a high priority for Parents. In the US the majority think schools are for babysitting.

    Private schools the parents actually care about Education

    • Mitchell Brown

      I wonder what the STATE MANDATED vacation laws are in Finland. I wonder what the number of dual income families on the precipice of bankruptcy is in Finland vs. America. In America both parents are working more and more for less and less (and have been since the Nixon administration and the economic system has been skewed toward the rich).

  • James Dorans

    We also have more kids with different cultures, needs and it is really cold in Finland so what else does the kids have to do.

    Kids also start later in Finland then the US.

  • Mina Rakastan Sinua

    Why talk out your A rings when you can, oh I don’t know, read something. Oh right, because you’re Americans. You don’t have to read anything to know everything.

    • Cynthia L Smith

      Jealous much?

  • wisdompersonified

    What you are not seeing is that these socialist (and communist) countries cull out much of their student population at an early age if they determine (by their own standards, of course) that these children are not suitable for academia, higher education, etc., and quietly redirect (sentence) them to a life of oblivion in the lower echelons of their society. So the scores you see do not reflect the general student population in these nations, but only the “elite” students. Equal education for all? Not by a long shot. Not even close. Thank God for the freedom we have in America to pursue higher education throughout our lifetimes. That being said, there is much corruption, misspending, social agendas, inequalities, biases, etc. that need addressing in our own public education system.

    • Rod1977

      The thing is that the “elite” students you are talking about, are elite based upon score, IQ and performance. They don’t have daddy’s big wallet behind them. Sure they are not perfect, and our system is not perfect either, but there is a lot we can learn from each other. Equal education is also a risky assumption. Not everyone has the brains nor the talent. I have seen a lot of my college peers graduate and become frustrated because they felt ill prepared or lacked the talent. Now they are doing something totally unrelated to what they studied for, and yes, they still have to pay the big student loans that come with the “freedom” of education. Also the statement “oblivion in the lower echelons of society” is not appropriate. I personally know technicians in Germany and France, that make more money than many “college” graduates. BUT One thing America has, above all other countries, is that if you have the brains and the talent, you are quickly recognized and your chances of success are much higher and for that I am grateful.

  • USdoesntrock

    Even though the US population has been dumb down considerably, all our students feel good about themselves. No one is left behind. All students are rewarded for just showing up. We don’t want any of our kids to feel about themselves because some one else scored higher on a test. We are the US and the best country in the world damn it. We may not score the highest education but we got everyone else beat in military spending and incarceration of our citizens. :P

    • Cynthia L Smith

      We aren’t the greatest country in the world. We’re the biggest suckers on the planet.

  • Dumdeedoe

    Korea,Germany,Japan,and China maybe socialist countries but their education system is performance based and far more “capitalistic” than the US public schools are… We have “no child left behind.” They have “if you can’t cut it you dig a ditch for a living.” They outperform our schools across the board…
    The only socialist school based on equality and not performance is the Finnish model that out performs all others… So I guess no system is superior, thay are all better than ours..

  • Desiree McQuay

    Here is a quote from the Union’s top lawyer The National Education Association’s (NEA) top lawyer, Bob Chanin, recently made clear the goal of the NEA. He called those who believe in and work for traditional family values “b****rds.” He also praised the NEA because the organization has “power” and “hundreds of millions” of dollars from dues to spend in promoting their agenda and political candidates.

    audio of
    Chanin saying in the same speech, “Which is why, at least in my opinion, NEA
    and its affiliates are such effective advocates. Despite what some among us
    would like to believe, it is not because of our creative ideas. It is not
    because of the merit of our positions. It is not because we care about
    children. And it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for
    every child. NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have
    Did that answer anyone’s questoin as to why the education system is broken. Many teachers care more about tenure, power, using our children as bargaining chips, than teaching. Unions have got to go!!

    • tom

      Thanks for taking that quote completely out of context. You got that quote from a Karl Rove political ad, which takes Chanin’s words and completely misplaces them. Way to believe the idiotic spin!
      How about I take your words and pick and choose what to show:
      Desiree McQuay said: “Many teachers care…about…our children”.
      Thanks, Desiree, for your support!!

  • pookie

    I’m sorry, but these figures are terribly wrong. The U.S. did not spend 809.6 billion in 2011, it spent 71.6.

    • DK

      a source would be nice…

    • 07041776

      total outlays include FEDERAL state county and city….thus 800 billion

    • Mitchell Brown

      You’re including local funding and state funding? Or, are you including ONLY federal funding?

  • Mike

    yeah, go ahead and check out the suicide rates in these socialist countries then see how much your education is worth to you.

  • Christopher Shaw

    Top 5 countries (math scores) and their corresponding
    1. Finland: 5 million
    2. South Korea: 50 million
    3. Canada: 34 million
    4. Japan: 128 million
    5. Australia: 22 million

    The United States has about 314 million people. You can have a nationalized education system when you’re dealing with such relatively small populations. When you’re at 300+ million, managing and paying for education at the national level doesn’t make sense. Let states solve (and pay for) their own unique education problems instead of using the federal government as a corrupt, money-siphoning middle-man.

    • Mitchell Brown

      On what metrics do you base your assertion? How much money does the federal government contribute to a state’s education budget? Can you answer either of those questions or are you simply regurgitating whatever it is Sean Hannity, Rush Limpballs, Michael “I’m a raving fascist” Levine wants you to believe?

      • Jewely

        More than 10% according to the Department of Education. That doesn’t include grants and other monies dependent upon factors such as performance, minority enrollment, or common core compliance. Certainly enough to make a district think twice about compliance with federal “guidelines”.

        Return control to the states, abolish the DOE, and watch the numbers rise in most places. We have some great teachers in the government school system who are handicapped by administrations afraid of repercussions from the DOE and lawyers.

        • zlonkk

          Such cuts are also applied to a population of 50 million and even 5. Educating a small population has also many inefficient factors (such as production scale of materials)

  • Carpets Melbourne

    Education really worth a lot whatever it takes.

  • Hu4n6


    • Hu4n6

      nice job

  • lars1701c

    Why are spending the most money on education but getting a bad product in return?

  • ruffsoft

    Let’s get rid of the Office of Education, which pays for Nutrition programs for tens of millions of children, Headstart, student loans to 15 billion, and aid to local schools. The total cost is about 100 billion, or 3% of the budget.

    In Europe, Federal ed budgets are 3-4 times higher, and college education is free (or all but free), often including healthcare (as in France). Of course, not all colleges are first class; that is true in all nations, but with all residents guaranteed prepaid healthcare and universal higher education, even the poor can afford to become doctors or engineers.

    This explains why so many Americans, especially those who want to end all Federal aid to students, are so stupid.

    “In June, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office issued a report showing a $50.6 billion profit for the Department of Education on student loans. From 2013-2020, the CBO estimates the program will bring in profits of $160 billion, which includes the doubling of interest rates. Keeping rates at 3.4% would increase the government’s cost of the student loan program to $41 billion over the next 10 years, according to the report.”

    So the total Ed budget is half paid for by profits from student loans.
    Let’s end it now: fewer students, less loans, less more breakfast for poor kids….it’s a win/win and guaranteed to keep us competitive with those foolish Europeans who waste money creating professionals to guide their economies and provide a solid middle class with a higher and rising standard of living.

    If Germany invests 3 times more in education, it will rise while we fall, spending 3% and with people wanting to make it impossible for the poor to get an education and rise out of poverty. This is folly. Fewer guns/more educated people. Fewer wars/ more well-trained professionals.

    Guns or education: invest in fear and destruction or invest in growth and progress. Security budget is 100% of fed income tax revenue;
    We spend 10 times what other nations spend on security and 1/3 what they (advanced nations, about 35)spend on education. US priorities are profoundly out of balance. There is no greater security than a very well-educated population.

  • Dadalus

    Those are some real purty graphs…

  • Pingback: The Global Economy: 10 Astounding Infographics Comparing Money Matters Around the World()

  • John Hiett

    Love it how the bubble graph on the top is not per person and there is no reference link for the “*” below, great way to distort perception of the data in a biased manner! LOL

  • Scarecrow

    Finland? N.Y. City has a larger population than Finland.

  • vraeleragon

    Yes, US schools need a lot of improvement, especially those before higher education. The problem is with the size of the population. Clearly, managing a smaller student population, like in Finland, is much easier than managing a huge student population like in the US.

  • CSB

    Why is it that everyone blames the teachers or the school for children that fail or perform below benchmark? A child’s education does not just happen at school. Parents are the first teachers and have the greatest influence over their children, and they also pass on attitudes about education to those same children. Why aren’t we looking at the home? Do you know how many children begin school not knowing how to tie their shoes or write their own name? In addition, they have little experience with people, places or events that the core society considers “cultural” or “educational” such as visiting a museum or traveling outside of their respective city. Children come to school in American with LESS than previous generations and MORE is expected of them at an earlier age. So, as soon as they enter the school building, they are ALREADY BEHIND.

    • richardstarr

      Partly because the Teacher’s unions continue to push for the vast importation of poor non-english speaking people because they wanted
      to ensure the continued “need” for their members. Additionally, they protect really bad teachers who are too often inept or even criminal.

      • tom

        This is one of the dumbest comments I’ve read on here. How about you provide facts supporting your idiotic claims? Oh wait, you can’t. Thanks, Richard Starr, for perpetuating the ridiculous notion that Teacher’s Unions are to blame for the education problems of America. Well done.

        • richardstarr

          Actually its this little thing called “logic”.
          Find the facts takes a only few minutes of effort

          1) Teacher’s unions have spent money pushing amnesty bills. This is a fact. They have also made statements to the effect that amnesty should be passed, though the phrase is now “reform” since they do not want to be connected to the abject failure the last one was. Have any doubts? Ask them on their positions and try to find a major teacher’s union that is NOT in favor of “reform”.

          Why not look at the American Federation of Teachers website for starters, hmm?

          And then there is the AFL-CIO pushing it.
          And since the “mission” of these organizations is
          to help support their members and those members are only helped by having students … A… B.. C..

          Now there are certainly unions against the amnesty,
          because THEIR members are harmed by the influx of cheap labor that competes against them, driving down wages. A… B.. C..

          Have I made it simple enough for you to comprehend yet?

          2) Teacher’s unions have made extremely hard to have incompetent and even criminal teachers terminated. It takes just few seconds of research to find that even the liberal papers admit to it.

          The Atlantic,
          “Getting Rid Of Bad Teachers” March, 2011

          LA Times
          “Path to dismissal” May, 2009

          Of course your statement is an attempt at what is known as the “big lie”. You lie and hope you won’t get called on it so that your version will be accepted as truth. Well, I’ve called you on it. Now scamper back to your hole.

          • tom

            You’d love for me to scamper back, because then you’d claim victory on spreading your bullsh*t.
            Comparing a PROFESSIONAL union to a LABOR union? You clearly don’t have an understanding of how unions truly work. Teaching Unions are NOT the UAW; they are not the AFL-CIO. The only things they have in common are advocating for their membership. If teaching unions were anywhere similar to the UAW, teachers would be making $100,000 a year, with full medical benefits and fat pensions. I’d love for you to find a teacher in an average midwest school that fits those criteria. Furthermore, why shouldn’t they get paid $100,000 and have sick benefits. Most teachers have advanced degrees, unlike laborers in the UAW.
            And of course you know what you’re talking about, becuase you are a teacher right? You have a firm grasp of what teachers do on a daily basis, what they face from administration, parents, boards, everything. You know first hand that most teachers work 12 hour days in over populated classrooms with 20 minutes for lunch and no breaks. You’ll say well they get summer vacation, must be nice. Yes, must be nice to still have to write lessons, develop cirriculum, and work during “vacation”. Must be nice to have to find a summer job to make ends meet. You must know all of that, because you boast how you know all about unions, so you must be a teacher.

            Amnesty? You mean education for children right? Children living in this country, regardless of their status deserve an education. Teacher’s unions want children to be educated, how horrible of them. You think they do it because they need to keep their jobs? Have you ever even been in a classroom? Classes are full, the population of the US is GROWING, there is no shortage of students, there is no need to push for a “continued need” it’s already there! There is no shortage of teaching jobs. Seems your “logic” is getting the best of you here.
            As for getting rid of bad teachers, sure some unions have setup absurd bureaucracies, but the average school district has a very straightforward process setup by the teaching unions you complain about. It’s actually quite simple to get a teacher fired, follow the process! Who cares how long, follow the process! Here’s the best part of the article that you linked to:
            ” It takes 2-5 years, and as many as 27 stepswhich, according to the Tribune, is why many school principals don’t even try.”
            Principals.don’t.even.try. So, you tell me, who’s fault is it? Sounds like some lazy principals avoiding their jobs. Administration is the problem, not unions. A teacher deserves due process, maybe not as much as CPS or LAUSD, but they deserve the same as in the private sector. You can’t just fire someone from a job in the private sector without due process as you’d be sued. I’ll give you that the CPS or LAUSD process is absurdly long, but those are the exceptions and not the rules.
            Buck up Richard, you can’t win every battle. In your mind, you won, but in reality you’ll go on spewing your hatred for things you don’t understand (but think you do), you’ll go on talking about how horrible immigrants are to this country. How they are “taking our jobs” and how they should all be shipped back to Mexico.

          • richardstarr

            For a “professional” you have a shocking lack of a grasp of reality.

            Since when is the American Federation of Teachers a “labor” union. What they have in common is their
            pension system is ruinous. Perhaps in small regions
            the pensions are not that generous, but in places like
            LA, Chicago, and NY they are insanely generous.
            You can’t pay someone 80-90% of their salary to
            “retire” in their 50’s.

            And the population of children in LA was dropping which is why they started pushing for the amnesty to encourage the import of more students. They would
            have HAD smaller class sizes, but they were fearful that eventually they would have to let go of teachers.

            Of course they neglected to take into account that
            poor people do not pay enough taxes to support their pay and perks. Oops.

            “Children living in this country, regardless of their status deserve an education.”

            What about food, clothing, homes, cars, ipads?
            You are quite generous about spending other people’s money. It makes no sense for our nation
            to offer to pay for the things their nation should be
            paying for. We are not responsible for the citizens of
            other nations especially when we can’t afford to take
            of OUR citizens as it is. Importing more poor people
            only makes sense to those who exploit them for
            their own financial and political benefit.

            As to why they should not get $100k it is because
            most of them are not worth it. Teaching is the most
            common profession in the united states.
            Think you are worth more? Use your skills to get paid better in the private sector? Can’t do it?
            There’s your answer.

            Got news for you. Unless you are in a protected group and show you are being let go because you are in that protected group, getting fired is real
            easy in the private sector. Most states are “at will”
            which means they can let you go because they
            want to. They have to take steps to document things
            so that false claims can’t be made, but that’s not
            all that hard to do.

            Calling someone “lazy” because they are not allowed to get rid of a bad teacher without spending years to do it is insulting. Especially when the teacher is often allowed to “resign” shortly before the process is complete, often to retire on a pension. So they drain resources in many ways. Your begrudging acceptance that it takes too long in the two examples I point out after calling me ignorant and trying to push the concept that Teachers unions are NOT the cause of problems does not serve in lieu of an apology.

            There is nothing wrong with “immigrants”, those are
            people who came here legally. There is something
            wrong with people here illegally. You like to blend the
            two together as if they are the same, and they simply
            are not.

            The only fair thing is to allow people when there
            is a job opening paying a living wage plus health care. If you can’t get someone legally here to do
            the work, then it makes sense to allow someone

            here who will be paid those wages and benefits.

            The idea of importing people to depress wages
            and to destroy opportunities for the poor, mostly
            minority, citizens is immoral. So you can stop peddling your BS and shedding your crocodile tears while claiming “it’s for the children”.

          • tom

            Good lord… What are you talking about?
            Importing people to depress wages? LOL, are you serious?
            Your theory about the LAUSD wanting amnesty to inflate class sizes to keep teachers so the union keeps its power is something you really believe? On what reality is that based?
            I also love how you choose the biggest school districts in the country as your examples, as if those are rules and not the exceptions. Just like the federal government, any major government run entity is going to have a massive bureaucracy paying ridiculous benefits. It’s a completely hasty generalization of the entire nation.
            Education is a right in this country and it’s a right afforded to every child regardless of citizenship. So because their parents come here illegally means that they shouldn’t be educated? That’s a very sad point of view.
            Also, if teachers were worth more than $100K they should go to the private sector and find a job, but they can’t so they teach? Are you serious? That is your answer? I’m so dumbfounded that I don’t even know what to say to that.
            While it’s true that most states are “at-will”, most have laws providing exceptions and restrictions to “at-will” employment.
            This is quite entertaining. I’d like to learn more about your conspiracy theories.

          • richardstarr

            I love how you want to ignore the largest and most influential teacher’s unions.

            The reality is the trends on population. Even with the influx of these kids there are still empty class rooms that were built on the expectation of growth in the past.

            Education is a “right” for the citizens and others here legally. What they should do is go back and be educated in the country that they are citizens of rather than drain resources meant for and paid for by the citizens.

            Teachers acquire their skill sets knowing what the market is paying. If you, after insisting that resources get diverted to pay for needed services for the poor, there is not enough for you to get paid what you would like in your ideal world, tough.

            Conspiracy implies not based on reality.
            Everything I’ve stated is based on rational facts.
            Or do you believe unions are not acting for the best
            interests of their members, or at least what they think will be in their best interests?

            Businesses want cheap labor.
            Churches want butts in seats and tithes.
            Unions want “clients” to justify their existence, and expand if they can.
            Politicians want to use the situation to gain power.

            None of this is mysterious or far fetched.
            You just need to acknowledge that people tend to act in their own interests. The problem occurs when their interest come at the expense of others.

  • Carmen Johnson


  • Chemical Engineer

    Please stop the nonsense with “pay the teachers more.” We have been paying teachers more for thirty years, and here is the miserable state we are currently in. Public school teachers send their own children to private schools at twice the rate of the general public. The Clinton’s sent their daughter to private school. So did the Gores. So do the Obamas. What massive hypocrites these leftists are. Likewise they extol the virtues of Obamacare while exempting themselves from that too. The royalty of leftists truly is sickening.

    • tom

      That’s a very well thought out arguement. I like the part where you used facts and data. Well done.

  • Mike

    What we need to do in the USA is stop wasting school funding on sports and other athletic activities that supply our children with absolutely no educational value. Instead of spending our children’s money on the football game, why not use that money to buy more books or pay our teachers a little more? Some will probably bring up that there are under-privileged children that will not be able to get into a college unless they had some kind of athletic scholarship to pave their way through their sub-par academic achievements in college. Don’t get me wrong, every child has the ability to learn, but when you tell them they are smart and can breeze through college and school without learning anything because they can toss a ball to one another that irks me. If you want your kids to play sports in school, then you pay out of your pocket for it, don’t have the rest of America pay for your kids to be stupid.

  • Ethan Lim

    We should build a snake robot :3

  • Jay Vincent Ray

    Follow the lack of money- poverty is the cause of poor education the world over!

    • nelly0042

      That’s your take on this? Obviously, lack of money is most definitely NOT the cause of poor education.

  • Dale Little

    I got a idea! Lest jest incra…ingre….lest jest spend 50% more on educatsion. All we gotta do is borow some more money frum Chinna!

  • Jim Seneczko

    Amazing that all of the great new technology, medical advancements and innovations come from Japan, Canada and Finland. ……Not!! Well maybe Japan with the new Sony PS4. So, what really is important? Ideas, Capitalism and a free society to make things happen. Almost every country listed sends their best to attend US university’s. So if that is the case, are the scores listed for the US from 12-16 including these foreign students? Maybe they send us their crappy students so that their scores look better. Maybe it is because of our free, capitalistic society these crappy students flourish and actually out perform the superior students still back in their homeland. Once again not too many technological advancements etc. going on in Canada and Finland that I know of lately. How about Germany. The home of Albert Einstein. About Einstein….”His parents sympathized with his feelings, but were concerned about the
    enormous problems that he would face as a school dropout and draft
    dodger with no employable skills”. “Lacking the equivalent of a high school diploma, he failed much of the
    entrance exam but got exceptional marks in mathematics and physics”. Maybe we put way too much emphasis and money into education. Ambition, hard work, pull yourself up from the bootstraps mentality in a free society works

  • Christina Williams

    When I compared countries’ literacy to GDP, only 5 of the top 26 in GDP showed up on the list of top 26 in literacy. Numbers do not lie. Poverty and funding do not affect education as much as most think. Money can help, but it does not solve the problem on its own. It is the priority that is placed on education that makes the difference. If we were to create a culture of education being more important than what the infamous trashy families are up to, then maybe we would see a change. Until then, there will be no improvement in how we compare to the world in education.

    • Leftcoastrocky

      how do you create a “culture of education”?

  • pjluckyman

    I’m sure that my example would not be the only example in this diagram. In the case of the U.S. vs Japan this does not address the fact that children in Japan are given a test at around the 9th grade and if they don’t pass they are done with school and enter the work force. So when they compare the U.S. vs Japan it is all of our students vs the limited top notch Japanese students, or more commonly known as an apples to oranges comparison. Just so you understand that I have knowledge of the subject I speak of I currently live in Japan and work with Japanese and Americans married to Japanese nationals. If you ever took a statistics class you would never trust another statistic you see.

    • Jewely

      The strongest correlation is TWO-PARENT homes. According to, 87% of Japan’s students live in intact families, Finland 85%, Korea 94%, Canada 79%, Australia 80%, and German 81%. That’s compared to 68% for the US (35% for black children 51% for American Indian, and [no surprise] 83% for Asian). No matter how fantastic a teacher or school, they cannot make up for a broken family.

  • cherkassy05

    We obviously need more teacher unions!!

    • Websearcher

      The unions have nothing to do with it. Go live in China if you want slavery!

    • Marion Keith Nichols

      Actually we need our public unions to actually have some teeth. They are easy targets for public officials because they can banter on about how public employ salaries are destroying everything and continue to stonewall them in bargaining because they know public unions can’t go on strike. In my district 30% of the employees salaries are below poverty levels. 89% of our budget goes to salaries while the state average is 82%. Yet our annual average salary is $1,046 BELOW the state average. The reason for this is that the upper echelon of administrators are getting huge salaries while blaming the support personnel and teachers. 3,742 employees and 18 of them consume almost 2% of our employee salaries. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand where the problem lay, but ignorant people like Alexander Scipio are going to believe the crap that those self same overpaid administrators tell him because he is too lazy or too stupid to think for himself.

  • michaelvalerio1

    We get what we deserve. Our country is run by self serving, pompous, idiots and we keep retuning them to office. We are so ground down by debt and greed that we do not know how to elevate our selves out of this downward spiral. Our children will pay the price with the disappearance of the middle class. Congratulations.

    • DarlieB

      Thank you for taking none of that blame yourself.The self serving, pompous, idiots are the parents.

  • Vicki

    Does this infographic take into consideration the population of these countries or is it just raw figures? Is this data based on the number of days of school in these countries? In the USA the students are educated for only 180 days a year and in Japan it is for 240 days a year. Was this data taken into consideration. Are apples being compared with bananas?

  • Brutus

    I see Hispanic countries scores, Brazil and Mexico. I see Asian countries listed, South Korean and Japan. I see White countries listed. Where are the scores for African countries? Why did you not include them on your site? Why are we left out, don’t we count?

  • Brutus

    I see Hispanic countries scores, Brazil and Mexico. I see Asian countries listed, South Korean and Japan. I see White countries listed. Where are the scores for African countries? Why did you not include them on your site? Why are we left out, don’t we count?

  • Alexander Scipio

    Democrats & unions. Destroy everything they touch.

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  • Latashia Blackburn

    Its really a very informative article about the US education versus the world info graphic. The online study and getting the help about the online study is really great and its also nice opportunity about getting education services through easy method. it helps a lot to people in studies getting good grades and much more. Thanks for the post.

  • EduK8one

    Knowledge is power. To darkshadowgirl go teach. Walk in a teachers shoes and then come back and comment. Teachers do not delegate school policy. Second graders were tested 14 times in a ten month school year. How would you feel if you had to take your drivers license test 14 times in ten months. My question to you is who is getting paid for all that testing material – which is expensive?

    Politicians run schools not teachers nor principals. I taught in a charter school one year and they had no books. I was the 10th teacher by February of a 7th grade classroom. When I asked for my instructional material to teach 7th grade, I was told the internet had all the information I needed and was handed a box of copier paper. What we need is a strong Dept. of Educ.

    We have students that don’t start school til they are 9 years old. They don’t know their given name, alphabet, numbers, or colors. They are too old for kindergarten and academically delayed for their correct grade. When the child is tested and his scores reflect his ability the teacher is judged as inadequate.

    It easy to blame the teachers, cause everyone else is doing it. Walk the walk if you want to talk the talk.

  • GMEHTA89

    In The End the Result is Educators don’t make almost enough, and both folks working full-time meets expectations fine and dandy. That is it.

  • JustAnotherTeacher

    Thing her is why teachers make such little while union bureaucrats are loaded?

  • JustAnotherTeacher

    Thing here is why teachers make such little while union bureaucrats are loaded?

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  • Ray

    Student behavior and lack of consequences. Too many distractions and the lack of accountability. I am a teacher (20 years) in the U.S. Kids don’t want to work, I spend way too much time dealing with classroom management because there are few consequences for bad behavior due to bad policies. I bet those students in Finland don’t talk and interrupt their teachers while checking their Facebook profile. Money does not buy education. It is individual determination and a system designed to deal with the realities of today’s teenagers.

    • Adriannan Nonyo

      They have no motivation, do you give them some? Students dont care, parents dont care and teachers dont care. I bet most kids in your class doesnt even know what a tuition is.

      • Ray

        We have created a welfare state full of dependents here in the US. When you give people things they don’t appreciate it. Many parents don’t expect their children to work hard and conduct themselves properly because they have the same attitude. People used to be self-motivated because it meant opportunity. We give failing, disruptive students chance after chance with few consequences. I have no power. I can’t give them anything lower than a 60 on their report cards even if their average is much lower. Unlike many students around the world American students aren’t hungry for success. I’m beginning to believe that’s what our “leaders” want though. A nation of dependents that are easily pacified with a free ride.

  • Uba Babs

    I think said right but the teachers salaries in most part of the world is nothing to write home about and the fact need to be said that the educational system is not well funded at all,

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  • sinta maharani

    infographic above shows education spending in Japan is very high second only to the United States. thanks infonya very helpful for cara mengobati keputihan gatal pada wanita