Page One Economics | Education Resources | St. Louis Fed
It is also the case that, over the 20th century, the expansion of the U.S. education system outpaced the rest of the world. The U.S. pushed to open secondary schools to all citizens. Higher education expanded with the development of land grant universities, the GI Bill, and direct grants and loans to students. The extraordinary U.S. higher-education system is a powerful engine of technological progress and economic growth in the U.S. not accounted for in our analysis. By most evaluations, U.S. colleges and universities rank at the very top in the world.
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The major changes to schooling in Québec were at the heart of the Quiet Revolution. Despite the reluctance of Catholic Church authorities, the Québec government portrayed educational progress as a key strategy for becoming "maîtres chez nous" ("masters in our own house"). More academically focused schooling was promoted as a "national" project; this better education would lead to economic and cultural renewal, and Québec francophones would become part of a fully modern society.
We wanted to use this new information to compare the economic benefits of higher levels of just school attainment with the benefits of higher levels of cognitive skills. We therefore took measures of average educational attainment and average cognitive skill levels for as many countries as possible and examined their relationship to the average annual growth rate in the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) per capita from 1960 through 2000.
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Certainly, immigrants were very visible all along the St Lawrence River extending from the port of Québec City, but many were passing through the province on their way to more western parts of the continent. Similarly, Québec's economy was undergoing significant change, but only in Montréal could educators argue realistically that schools were needed to offset the negative consequences of processes such as industrialization.
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Even before and certainly ever since the 1983 release of by the National Commission on Excellence in Education, national economic competitiveness has been offered as a primary reason for pushing school reform. The commission warned, “If only to keep and improve on the slim competitive edge we still retain in world markets, we must dedicate ourselves to the reform of our educational system for the benefit of all—old and young alike, affluent and poor, majority and minority.” Responding to these urgent words, the National Governors Association, in 1989, pledged that U.S. students would lead the world in math and science achievement by 2000.
The Economics of Education by Daniele Checchi - …
Although the strengths of the U.S. economy and its higher-education system offer some hope for the future, the situation at the K–12 level should spark concerns about the long-term outlook for the U.S. economy, which could eventually have an impact on the higher-education system as well. The U.S. higher-education system may also be challenged by improvements in higher education across the world. Other countries are doing more to secure property rights and open their economies, which will enable them to make better use of their human capital. Most obviously, the historic advantage of the U.S. in school attainment has come to an end, as half of the OECD countries now exceed the U.S. in the average number of years of education their citizens receive. Those trends could easily accelerate in the coming decades.