Education in the USA

June 1, 2018 Weekly Graphs

The United States of America has been seeing a series of strikes by teachers. It began with the West Virginia teachers’ strike in February this year and spread to other states such as Arizona, Oklahoma and Colorado. While it was initially called in response to low pay and high health care costs, it has also grown to encompass another important issue – educational injustice. The USA has a unique school funding system which results is wealthy areas having better funded and equipped schools than poorer areas. The striking teachers are also trying to increase and ensure adequate funding to all public schools.

This week’s graph uses the V-Dem indicators to investigate the level of educational inequality observed in the USA compared to the OECD countries in the past 20 years. The educational inequality indicator aims to measure the extent to which high quality basic education is guaranteed to all and sufficient to enable them to exercise their basic rights as adult citizens. The graph shows that while the USA has constantly fallen below the OECD average, this gap has exponentially increased since 2015 and continues to widen. This could be attributed to funding gaps between schools. A study done in 2015 found that school districts with higher levels of poverty usually receive 10% less per student in terms of resources and funding as compared to students from more affluent school districts. It remains to be seen if the strikes will succeed in closing the educational gap in the USA.  

Are you interested in learning more about educational inequality in the USA and other countries? Use our online analysis tool at v-dem.net.

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