Flip the Curve: Student Achievement vs. School Budget

March 1st, 2011

By: Bill Gates

Today I’m speaking to the nation’s Governors at their annual meeting in Washington, DC. They are grappling with more than state budget deficits; they’re also confronting deep education deficits. I’m encouraging them to flip the curve on how much we spend vs. how well students do in school.

Over the last four decades, the per-student cost of running our K-12 schools has more than doubled, while our student achievement has remained flat, and other countries have raced ahead. The same pattern holds for higher education. Spending has climbed, but our percentage of college graduates has dropped compared to other countries.

To build a dynamic 21st century economy and offer every American a high-quality education, we need to flip the curve. For more than 30 years, spending has risen while performance stayed flat. Now we need to raise performance without spending a lot more.

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