The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) is becoming a steadily more useful source of interesting and worthwhile education data, much of it contained in the now-annual publication named Education at a Glance. Though thick (400 pages) and (if you get a hard copy) pricey ($49), you can get country-by-country education comparisons here that aren't available anywhere else. The recently released 2001 edition contains some especially tantalizing facts, including these:
- Though older Americans (ages 55-64) are better educated than their contemporaries in other lands, when you look at the 25-34 population you find that the U.S. has been outstripped in educational attainment by five countries if judged by high school completions and by two (Japan, Canada) if gauged by college completions.
- In at least 6 countries (including the U.S.), more than 30% of funding for higher education comes from private sources.
- More and more countries are also turning to the private sector for school management. This is most definitely not a uniquely American phenomenon. Across the OECD, an average of 13.5% of children are enrolled in privately operated schools. In most of those cases (not including the U.S., of course) the majority of those privately operated schools are government-financed.
There's lots more. You will very likely want to see for yourself. You can get the graphs and tables on-line at http://www.oecd.org/media/publish/pb01-23a.pdf. If you'd like the whole report, the ISBN is 9264186689. You can probably obtain it most easily via OECD's on-line bookshop at http://electrade.gfi.fr/cgi-bin/OECDBookShop.storefront/