How the education gap in the U.S. affects you

Felicia Yan, Online Editor

Liberty students may exceed the national and state averages on standardized testing such as the SAT and ACT, but the education gap is still relevant. Every year, the United States spends 634 billion dollars on education for students, which equals up to approximately $12,509 per public school student. However, although the United States has been increasingly spending more money on education every year, the inequality in student education across the country has been increasing.

The fact that funding for schools is distributed unevenly throughout states further exacerbates this problem. For example, while 68 percent of upper-income 8th graders in a U.S. study sample had math teachers deemed to be of high-quality, that was true for only 53 percent of low-income student. The largest deviation from the national average in both math and reading were found in the Southern states. However, there is a large inequality gap in the rest of the country as well, including a growing reading gap in the Midwest.

The education gap is further increased due to the United States’ lack of spending in post-high school programs. Students who are unable to pay for higher education often are less likely to attend higher level educational institutions, even with financial aid. The United States is far outspent in public dollars for post-high school education. Families and private sources pick up most of the funds necessary for college.

International tests show that there are education gaps in all countries, but the United States has a larger gap when compared to other European countries, which then contributes to higher levels of other inequality issues. For example, Iceland ranks third for the smallest education gap, and this contributes to less gender inequality and income gaps as well, with Iceland being the first country to have gender-equal pay.

It is necessary to push for the government to take a larger role in attempting to close the education gap, because in the end, if the education gap continues to increase, it will affect both taxpayers and those in need of state support negatively.