Education Standards Remains Flat

June 20, 2002 ( - Americans are not expected to improve their educational standards over the next 20 years, according to an economist with the Federal Reserve.

Yolanda Kodrzycki said that this could restrain economic growth while addressing a conference on Education in Boston. She claims that the educational standards of 25 to 34 year-olds have changed relatively little since the early 1980s, compared with rapid improvements in previous decades, Reuters reported.

Kodrzycki cited studies showing that increases in the quality of the work force contributed an average 0.3 percentage point per year to GDP growth from 1958-99.

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The size of the labor force and the number of workers with college degrees is expected to increase slowly in the future, according to Kodryycki, who also noted that the proportion of workers with college degrees shifted from 21.6% in 1980 to 30.2% in 2000. Still, this number is expected to stand at only 31.7% by 2020. 
Social Patterns Threatened

Kodrzycki said current patterns of education also threaten social progress in the US since the gap between the education levels of blacks and Hispanics and whites has widened in the past decade.

As an example, she noted that new initiatives such as putting computers into classrooms have been introduced less widely in schools with higher proportions of minority students. She added that differences the quality of schooling rather than in years of schooling accounted for the disparity in earnings between full-time workers of different racial groups.