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National Expenditures and Achievement
As a nation, we now spend $501.3 billion annually at all levels of government on elementary and secondary education.
American taxpayers invest more in education than in the Defense Department. The United States invests more per pupil than almost any other nation in the world. Unfortunately, as Organization for Economic Development Education Director Barry McGaw noted, "The U.S. doesn't get the bang for its buck."
Much work remains to close the achievement gap in the early years. Even after four years of public schooling, most students perform below proficiency in both reading and mathematics. Minority and disadvantaged students are most at risk for falling behind.
Upon graduating from high school, few students have acquired the math and science skills necessary to compete in the knowledge-based economy.