Giant strides in schooling since 1940 "have made the American people the most educated in the world," but the quality of U.S. schools sagged in the 1970s, a Census Bureau study said Wednesday.
The special demographic study also found that the "return" on a college education--the edge in earnings that college graduates have over high school graduates--is growing again after shrinking in the 1970s.
In 1940, only 38% of those ages 25 to 29 had attained a high school diploma, and 6% had college degrees. Now, the report said, 86% of those surveyed said that they have high school diplomas and 22% possess college degrees.
The report said that the education gap between the races has narrowed and may have helped blacks make economic gains. It pointed to nationwide test scores to support its conclusions.