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The Real Price of Education

By Columns FOXBusiness

How can the Educational System be Improved?

FBN's Gerri Willis on how we can improve America's declining educational system.

This week-long look at education in America has been an eye-opening one.

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We've talked about lifting our grade - because we have to. The amount of money being spent on education isn't producing results.

The United States has fallen to "average" in International education rankings released by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

We're ranked 14th out of 34 countries for reading skills, 17th for science and a below-average 25th for math.

When you break it down by states its clear money isn't the solution to the problem. New York spends more than $18,000 per student and their graduation rate is under 74%. But Utah's price tag is around $6,000 per student - and nearly 80 % of students there graduate.

Earlier this week I spoke with Joel Klein, former chancellor of New York City schools - the biggest school district in the nation - and he says its clear states and schools are not spending their money wisely.

"We're making a big bet, but we're making the wrong bets. We're betting on things that aren't going to succeed for our kids," Klein said. "And we have got to stop treating teachers like assembly line workers, stop protecting them through tenure, through things like last in and first out. We need to start treating teaching like a profession."

Klein also believes reforming the teacher system could help solve another major problem facing our nation's kids - they're not ready for the next level.

Last week the New York State Department of Education released new data showing only about a third of students who graduate high school are properly prepared for college.

The bigger cities have much lower numbers. And the report also pointed out not all city schools are treated equally - more than half of the college-ready kids came from just 20 of the 360 high schools in the big apple.

It's an issue that's become a battle in our nation's capitol - as parents fight to get their kids out of the struggling - and sometimes dangerous- schools.

Tuition and fees have skyrocketed more than 130% over the last two decades while incomes, especially for the middle class, have stayed flat.

If incomes surged at the same rate as tuition, the average family would be earning $77,000 a year, instead of the actual 33 thousand dollars.

And as the founder of college parents prep says parents are putting too much of their finances into their kids' education - with not as much to show for it.

"Parents need to make some hard choices about whether to start off at a community college and get that associate's degree under the student's belt - almost training wheels for college if you will, before they go after the four year degree."

I couldn't agree more - yes education is an investment in your future, but you shouldn't be willing to pay anything for it.

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At the end of the day, students have to weigh what they want against the cost of that education.
Because if you pay too much - you'll end up shortchanging your future more than helping it!

Be sure to catch the Willis Report on the FOX Business Network every weekday from 5-6pm ET.

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