This Map Shows How Low States Education Spending Has Gotten

By Joshua A. Krisch for

The United States spends only 5.6 percent of its gross domestic product on education, placing it 51st on the United Nations Development Program’s list of 160 countries. Depending on how you view the importance of education (there’s a right answer), this is embarrassing. Cuba spends 12.9 percent of its GDP educating young communists. Denmark spends 8.7 percent of its GDP instructing future tall people, Moldova spends 8.6 percent of GDP on educating its out sized population of children, and Ghana spends 8.1 percent making West Africa great again.

But bemoaning the state of federal funding is actually a waste of time. If you want to get really depressed, scope individual state budgets. Only two states, Alaska and Vermont, spend a larger proportion of their GDPs on education than Syria, which is literally collapsing. And, while education spending is no indication of intelligence or achievement, it is certainly an indication of how much a government prioritizes academics. State policymakers who discover that they put less of a premium on education than Bashar Al-Assad may want to rethink their budgets for 2019.

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