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Education spending

(I originally posted this to my G+, but since found another good source of statistics on education spending by % of GDP, so updating and posting here)

According to the OCLC,

  • The United States spends 4.8% of its GDP on education, the 10th highest percentage in the world.
  • Saudi Arabia spends 9.5% of its GDP on education, the 1st in the world.
According to NationMaster,
  • Cuba spends the most (among countries they have information on) of its GDP, at 18.7%, on education
  • The US spends 5.7% of its GDP on the same, ranking it 37th in the world, still ahead of a number of places with education systems generally-considered-better-than-ours

As you ideally know, the US Department of Education is a very small Federal Department, and primarily does three things: coordinates federal aid to schools, enforces federal law relating to civil rights in schools, and collects/analyses statistics on education in the United States. Some of the below come from the Ed.

I write this primarily because I understand that while I got a great public education, that's because Brecksville, Ohio has a median family income of over $100k, and its school district is consequently one of the best in the nation. As I understand, in general America's pre-university-level public schools are inadequate; our failure to fix it is a major threat to the nation. The problem is apparently not total funding as percentage of GDP or absolute funding. It might be very uneven funding, or hostility of national culture to education, or how our schools are structured, or any number of other things. I spent some time on gapminder ( http://www.gapminder.org/ ) looking at this too.

I of course have some ideas on how to fix this, some easy, some nigh-impossible, but I'm not actually sure my ideas attack the right causes. As a hopeless amateur policywonk, I'd like to have a better handle on the problem and possible solutions.

Various other statistics on education spending in the US:

Unrelated, JJ McCulough has a nice piece on nepotism in business and national leadership.

Also: Found a few more interesting jobs in NYC (and one in Boston) to apply to; everything's completely quiet on the job front, but that's to be expected given how most people get together with friends or family for the holidays (grmlgrml) and many are probably not back at work yet.


  • Getting the hang of Darksiders (figured out a left-handed keymap, finally)
  • Starting to think about yet-another-refactor of my Blog/Wiki platform to finally bring it up to being an "application engine" (studied how other extensible web platforms do this a bit). If I do this and am happy with the results, I might actually start to push POUND as a platform and try to get other developers interested
  • Hoping to find new topics/projects to help me spend more time on neuroscience and knitting (not at the same time!)
  • Hating the weather. It is far too cold and my current place has inadequate heat and large windows