The benefits of postsecondary education in the United States, in comparison to other nations, and the disadvantages of not completing high school are featured in the OECD’s Education at a Glance 2014 report.
Several major findings emerge from the report’s 570 pages:
- Adults demonstrate less upward mobility in terms of educational attainment in the United States than the average across OECD countries.
- Adults whose parents have less than an upper secondary education (did not graduate high school) were more likely to perform at a low level in literacy proficiency in the United States than in all the other OECD nations.
- Workers without a high school diploma experience a higher wage penalty in the United States than the OECD average, and the benefits of postsecondary education are higher than average.
- In the United States, Japan and the Netherlands, individuals invest more than $100,000 in their college education, versus $50,000 across OECD countries.
- The United States invests more public funds in postsecondary education than many other OECD nations.
The authors also note that vocational education and apprenticeship have benefited workers in countries that have well-established programs. CTE can help close the U.S. education and income gap highlighted in the OECD publication by engaging students, connecting academics with relevant technical skills and providing pathways to higher levels of attainment and earnings.