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Arkansas State University

The U.S. in Global Education

How does the U.S. compare in global education

Many have criticized the education system in the U.S.A. for trailing behind other developed countries. According to polls, the public largely believes that students from U.S. schools underperform and spend less time in school, and they think teachers do not receive the same level of respect or earning potential as teachers in other countries. While some aspects could use improvement in the education system in the U.S.A., the system ranks more competitively within the global community than people think.

As a candidate pursuing an online Master of Science in Education in Educational Theory and Practice degree, you may study the philosophies guiding current instruction, curriculum development, and classroom design in United States school systems. You may also learn how to implement practices and teaching methods that engage students’ full potential, which improves the U.S. standing in world rankings in education.

Time Spent in School

When reviewing data from United States schools, it is important to note the wide discrepancy in academic rankings from state to state. Thus, the educational data from the United States is an average of results taken across one of the biggest and most diverse countries in the world. For example, when looking at how much time students spend in school in the United States, certain states rank much higher than others. New York, Texas, and Massachusetts require an incredibly high number of school hours for middle-school students, ranking near the top of the list of industrialized nations.

Academic Performance

In terms of academic performance in key areas, such as math, science, and reading, students in the United States consistently perform near the middle of the pack. There are countries, such as Finland, that perform much better, but there are also countries that are performing much more poorly than the United States.

Public Perception of Teachers

Studies show that the United States public has a very high respect for its teachers. However, this is not always equated with educational policies that support teachers at the forefront of educational change. Research suggests that teachers do not always feel as though they have a voice during important decisions. This creates a level of discontent among teachers. This lack of decision-making autonomy for teachers in the United States contrasts with other countries, where decisions more often occur at the school level with teacher participation.

Teacher Salaries

Many think that the budgetary priorities of the United States do not reflect a societal respect for our teachers. When comparing proportional spending of developed countries on teacher salaries, the United States falls lower than countries such as Canada, France and Korea. However, the United States spends a higher percentage than most countries on non-teaching educational staff, which includes school administrators.

Becoming a teacher is a direct way to contribute to the development of a strong education system in the U.S.A. Systemic change happens when dedicated teachers, administrators and other school officials utilize teaching methods and policies that support optimum growth among students. When dynamic, well-trained individuals choose to work in the field of education, the United States has the opportunity to continue improving the education of its students. Dedicated teachers create pathways to success for students across a vast and diverse educational landscape, thereby increasing the United States’ world rankings in education.

Learn more about A-State’s online MSE in Educational Theory and Practice program.


National Education Association: Beyond PISA: How the U.S. Ranks Internationally on Five Key Education Issues

Great Schools: Global Grade: How Do U.S. Students Compare?

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