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The US was once a leader for healthcare and education -- now it ranks 27th in the world

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Spending decreases have impacted America's educational attainment, which declined over the last few decades. The US has a problem with the way it is spending money.

Although the nation still spends more per student than most of its peers, many countries that saw a rapid improvement in their rankings have instituted significant policy reforms in the last 30 years. These include providing equal funding for schools in different locations, expanding student testing, and tailoring curricula to students' abilities.

The countries with the most significant improvements in education and healthcare (Turkey, China, and Brazil) saw quicker GDP growth on a per capita basis. Education and healthcare investments could be tied to a country's economic performance, and improvements in these areas could lead to faster economic growth.

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