National Statistics - Why our Nation Needs to Educate our Gifted and Talented Youth
Davidson Institute for Talent Development
2009

This article contains a number of statistics highlighting the importance of gifted education in America. Startling statistics range from the lack of American degrees in engineering to the percentage of high school dropouts that test in the gifted range.

 

  • The United States can expect to lose well over $300 billion in potential earnings a year due to high school dropouts. If this annual pattern is allowed to continue, more than 12 million students will drop out of school during the next decade at a cost to the nation of more than $3 trillion. (Alliance for Excellent Education; 2009)

 

  • If the 1.2 million high school dropouts from the Class of 2008 had earned their diplomas instead of dropping out, the U.S. economy would have seen an additional $319 billion in wages over these students' lifetimes.  (Alliance for Excellent Education; 2009)

 

  • As recently as 1995 America was tied for first in college graduation rates; by 2006 this ranking had dropped to 14th. (McKinsey & Company, The Economic Impact of the Achievement Gap in America’s Schools; April 2009)
  • The United States has among the smallest proportion of 15-year-olds performing at the highest levels of proficiency in math. Korea, Switzerland, Belgium, Finland, and the Czech Republic have at least five times the proportion of top performers as the United States. (McKinsey & Company, The Economic Impact of the Achievement Gap in America’s Schools; April 2009)

 

  • Four-fifths (81%) of teachers believe that “our advanced students need special attention – they are the future leaders of this country, and their talents will enable us to compete in a global economy.”  (High Achieving Students in the Era of NCLB; 2008)

 

  • About one-third of all jobs in the United States require science or technology competency, but currently only 17 percent of Americans graduate with science or technology majors … in China, fully 52 percent of college degrees awarded are in science and technology. (William R. Brody, president of Johns Hopkins University, Congressional testimony July 2005)

 

  • Only 11 percent of bachelor’s degrees in the United States are in the sciences or engineering, compared with 23 percent in the rest of the world and 50 percent in China. (National Summit on Competitiveness December 2005)

 

  • China graduates about 500,000 engineers per year, while India produces 200,000 and the United States turns out a mere 70,000. (National Academy of Sciences: “Rising Above the Gathering Storm” October 2005)

 

  • 45% of new U.S. patents are granted now to foreigners. (Education Week “A Quiet Crisis is Clouding the Future of R&D” May 25, 2005)

 

  • Only three of the top 10 recipients of U.S. patents in 2003 were American companies. (National Academy of Sciences: “Rising Above the Gathering Storm” October 2005)

 

  • In the fourth grade, U.S. students score above the international average in math and near first in science. At eighth grade, they score below average in math, and only slightly above average in science. By 12th grade, U.S. students are near the bottom of a 49-country survey in both math and science, outscoring only Cyprus and South Africa. (William R. Brody, president of Johns Hopkins University, Congressional testimony July 2005)

 

  • Less than 15 percent of U.S. students have the prerequisites even to pursue scientific or technical degrees in college. (William R. Brody, president of Johns Hopkins University, Congressional testimony July 2005)

 

  • The number of students in the United States planning to pursue engineering degrees declined by one-third between 1992 and 2002. (The Business Roundtable July 2005)

 

  • 88% of high school dropouts had passing grades, but dropped out due to boredom. (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: “The Silent Epidemic” March 2006) 

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