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The Politics of Education: Facts

Photograph by Twenty20

According to a Pearson study, the U.S. ranks 17th out of 40 countries in overall education performance. How performance is measured has always been a hot topic, with much of the debate focusing on standardized testing (which Pearson has quite a profitable stake in). Another major education concern is the cost of schooling in America. College graduates are ejected into a flailing economy with fewer jobs and substantial student debt.

Education policy will show up in this year's presidential election, no doubt. Here are some crucial facts you need to know before weighing in.

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One-third of all new teachers resign within their first three years, and nearly 50 percent by their fifth year, with most citing frustration and job dissatisfaction.

Ten percent of all students in Pre-K to 12th grade go to private schools, which comprise 24 percent of all U.S. schools.

Students in private schools consistently score well above the national average on standardized achievement tests.

Parents who choose their child's school are more satisfied with their child's educational experience: 82 percent say they are "very satisfied" compared with 56 percent who were unable to choose their child's school.

By 2020, an estimated 35 percent of job openings will require a bachelor's degree, and another 30 percent will require at least some college or an associate's degree.

Public charter schools make up 6.2 percent of all public schools.

Two reports conclude that public charter schools do not score as high as nearby public schools on average, however, they did a better job benefitting students in poverty.

More U.S. students are graduating from high school than ever before, with the rate climbing to 81 percent.

However, only 1 in 4 high school students graduate ready for college in four core subjects: English, reading, math and science.

States that spend the most on education are: Wyoming, Vermont, New Jersey, Alaska and New York.

States that spend the least on education are: Mississippi, Arizona, Oklahoma, Idaho and Utah.

About 70 percent of Americans do not have a bachelor's degree.

By 2020, an estimated 35 percent of job openings will require a bachelor's degree, and another 30 percent will require at least some college or an associate's degree.

The annual family income of 47 percent of undergraduates is less than $40,000, and 4.5 percent of undergraduates have an annual household income of $160,000.

Fewer than half of parents with children under 18 are saving for college.

According to the college board, the average cost of tuition and fees per year were $31,231 at private colleges; $9,139 for state residents in public colleges; and $22,958 for out-of-state students attending public universities.

Some 59 percent of college undergraduates receive grants averaging $6,200. And 42 percent of undergraduates took out loans for an average of $7,000.

The average class of 2015 graduate with student-loan debt owes about $35,000.

The national average student loan default rate is 13.7 percent.

Fewer than half of parents with children under 18 are saving for college. The families that are saving have an average of $10,040 set aside for college.

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In January 2015, President Obama proposed a plan to make two years of community college free.

Oregon, Tennessee and Minnesota have created statewide free community college programs.

Childcare is still more expensive than college in some 30 states.

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