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August 23, 2007

Comments

Anna Romanowska

I was very surprised that the high school movement originated in small towns. It is almost unbelievable that small governments and small communities decided to undertake such an expensive project. The cost of funding a student for 4 years of high school was comparable to the cost of the tuition of 8 years of grammar school. The phenomenon of high school diffusing at that particular time shows that the local communities were aware of the enormous benefits of secondary education. Golding's research shows that each year of high school has a very direct positive impact on the individual and community. The returns to education were as high as 12% in the incremental basis for each year of high school. Such a significant return minimizes the opportunity cost of education and serves as a great incentive for the youth to enroll in secondary schools.
Authors of the article point out the crucial role of the social capital in production of human capital. They come to the conclusion that social capital is a function of factors that create "closure". This is based of Coleman's theory, which says that homogenous communities, where income is equally distributed and the level of migration is very low, view public funding as an intergenerational loan and tend to be very generous. The theory is very closely reflected by the1915 Iowa State Census. Greater homogeneity of income or wealth as well as higher levels of wealth, greater stability of the community and ethnic and religious homogeneity, were positively correlated with the number of high school graduates.

As one can expect parents wealth and educational background are one of the most important explanatory variables when it comes to secondary school participation rates of the youth. This hasn't changed for all these years making some of us more fortunate that the others...

One part of the article was particularly interesting for me; this is the part were the authors explain the reasoning of the old people who view public funding as an intergenerational loan and a way of improving the local community. A person who was committed to a given community and did not plan to migrate was much more likely to find a sponsor. This is the exact same situation students face right now when looking for scholarships! The eligibility criteria for scholarships offered by local communities and foundations mostly emphasize the necessity of staying within a given community in order to be a beneficiary.

Sherry Wu

Goldin and Katz observe that homogeneity -- of income, religion, ethnic background, etc. -- was mainly responsible for the growth and development of secondary education in the United States from 1910 to 1940. It makes sense that a more stable environment would be more conducive to fostering education and making sure that students graduate, but I would find their argument more plausible if they also provided reasons for the growth in education. Why did secondary education grow so much in this particular 30-year period and not any other? It is especially anomalous in the light of the Great Depression, when many families would not have been able to afford sending their children to school, or World War I, when many households would have been torn apart by the conflict. In my opinion, it is odd that the government would choose to focus on education -- even though it is an endeavor that has vast pecuniary benefits and higher wage returns in the future -- when it also has to face immediate concerns such as its collapsing economy and the threat of war.

Although I found the correlation between high school graduation and the 64+ population to be quite interesting, the article seemed to rely on too many arbitrary factors to describe the expansion of secondary education. For example, they essentially make automobile ownership analagous to sending one's children to school, since one who could afford an automobile would be able to afford an education for one's children. However, I believe that many of these factors are merely coincidence, and that there is no causal relationship between them.

Justin Fong

It is really surprising that the system of secondary education in America only began less than one hundred years ago. The American high school movement underwent substantial changes from its beginning in 1910 to just around 1940. Around 40-60% of those who were attending high school by 1940 were graduating, compared to roughly only 10% in 1910.

The cost of establishing high schools and putting adolescents in them was certainly an expensive matter. However, the the individual and communal returns from this type of education proved to be worth the investment. Cohesive communities saw the advantages of high school, which even included those who did not have kids attending this institution. Elders began to realize that a more literate/educated citizenry could provide benefits for the entire community. These communities wanted to maximize the best possible advantages for all.

Trends in the "American High Shcool Movement" still exist today in our general public education system. Socio-economic factors continue to play a significant role in the quality of eduation and what type of people are graduating from high school. Race and the occupation of the parents still appear to dictate what type of high school teenagers are attending.

Justin Fong

It is really surprising that the system of secondary education in America only began less than one hundred years ago. The American high school movement underwent substantial changes from its beginning in 1910 to just around 1940. Around 40-60% of those who were attending high school by 1940 were graduating, compared to roughly only 10% in 1910.

The cost of establishing high schools and putting adolescents in them was certainly an expensive matter. However, the the individual and communal returns from this type of education proved to be worth the investment. Cohesive communities saw the advantages of high school, which even included those who did not have kids attending this institution. Elders began to realize that a more literate/educated citizenry could provide benefits for the entire community. These communities wanted to maximize the best possible advantages for all.

Trends in the "American High Shcool Movement" still exist today in our general public education system. Socio-economic factors continue to play a significant role in the quality of eduation and what type of people are graduating from high school. Race and the occupation of the parents still appear to dictate what type of high school teenagers are attending.

Justin Fong

It is really surprising that the system of secondary education in America only began less than one hundred years ago. The American high school movement underwent substantial changes from its beginning in 1910 to just around 1940. Around 40-60% of those who were attending high school by 1940 were graduating, compared to roughly only 10% in 1910.

The cost of establishing high schools and putting adolescents in them was certainly an expensive matter. However, the the individual and communal returns from this type of education proved to be worth the investment. Cohesive communities saw the advantages of high school, which even included those who did not have kids attending this institution. Elders began to realize that a more literate/educated citizenry could provide benefits for the entire community. These communities wanted to maximize the best possible advantages for all.

Trends in the "American High Shcool Movement" still exist today in our general public education system. Socio-economic factors continue to play a significant role in the quality of eduation and what type of people are graduating from high school. Race and the occupation of the parents still appear to dictate what type of high school teenagers are attending.

Casey Lilenfeld

I found Goldin and Katz's article really interesting in that its argument for how secondary school expanded is both original and fairly reasonable. The homogeneity of various community factors being correlated with secondary school expansion makes sense when discussing how large income disparities would cause disagreement over the importance of high school in the 1910's. The poor could not afford the opportunity cost of sending their children to school when they could be working (a factor that I felt was significant to why smaller towns were the areas where high school was really pushed since large cities had a lot of immigrants who needed every family member working, children included), and the rich preferred to home school their children or have them go to another institution. The sameness in factors like religious beliefs made sense as a matter of maintaining the social norm for these small towns where high school began to be seen as required.
While I felt like some of the explanation of how high school expansion correlated with Goldin and Katz's regressors was not entirely concrete, I definitely appreciated and enjoyed the logic of the instrument variables that they used (e.g. the automobile registration for income and the education proportion of total budget ratio that attempted to quantify "social capital"). I feel like the argument that they made was convincing and interesting although it still has some patches to fix, and I thought that the regressions that they ran were very interesting and creatively conceived.

Yelena Vinarskiy

The variables Goldin and Katz use in their case study of Iowa illustrate that the high school movement was truly a grass roots level. We learn in this article that the proportion of teenagers attending high school reaches a peak in counties having the largest share of their population in the smallest of Iowa’s towns, specifically areas with less than 1,700 people. The small, homogenous towns in the West and Midwest that galvanized support and funding for public high schools committed themselves to the intergenerational loan. Goldin and Katz tell us that the states that led the high school movement continue to score well on social capital indicators to this day and thus it looks like the intergenerational loan paid off. This article has some important parallels to the debate around public university funding that we UC Berkeley students are often on the losing side of. In 1913 a high school education meant a return of 12 percent per year and Iowans thus passed the “free tuition” law, giving teenagers a chance at those returns to school. Today, our California legislators could be reminded that an intergenerational loan for education is paid off by returns even a hundred years later.

Hoi Kwan

I was really intrigued by this article primarily because I was surprised to learn that the mid west is where this high school movement began. This article seeks to emphasize the importance of movement from grammar school to high school and the important economic benefits that one could reap from a highly educated population; evidenced by the GI Bill. It was also interesting to see people raise were against financing high school and college education by suggesting that this might lead to an exodus of population towards the cities and that only a select few would benefit. I agree with Yelena in that today's politicians has much to learn from this paper as it emphasizes on the paramount importance of education and how it can benefit everyone not just the affected students (through positive externality evidenced in page 6).

Wei Li

It is initially very hard to believe that the high school movement started in the small towns and rural areas in America, but one must realize that it is on the local level that most educational changes take place. What I do find surprising, however, is the fact that the lower class had a harder time accepting publicly funded high school education. For upper class families, it is much more probable that they could afford private education and should not be as concerned with public school funding. In my mind, it would be the lower income families that would be more interested in public high schools as it gives them a chance to equalize the playing field a bit more. The concern was brought up in the article that the lower class families did not want to pay the opportinity costs of allowing their children to go to high school as they could be working during those years. This however seems a bit counterintuitive because schooling has always increased the expected income of graduates. Even though the research supporting this claim was the driving force for the insitutionalization of public high schools, the fact that addional education increases income seems to be rather obvious.

Kristin Rose

I thought that Goldin and Katz’s finding that “greater homogeneity of income or wealth, a higher level of wealth, greater community stability, and more ethnic and religious homogeneity” were factors that contributed to the early establishment of secondary schools was interesting but expected. If we consider the status of secondary schools in America today, the highest-achieving schools tend to be the ones in areas with socioeconomic factors like those described by Goldin and Katz.
Nevertheless, I was surprised by other findings in the article, namely that the expansion of secondary schools was initially most concentrated in the “education belt” of the Midwest. Before reading this article, I would have expected that secondary schools were first seen in the most heavily industrialized areas of the country, but Goldin and Katz provide reasons as to why the Midwest region was also conducive to the establishment of secondary schools. I was also surprised by the high rates of return that education can have for communities; I feel that this is a compelling reason why education, although an expensive public good, is a crucial investment for any community.

John Janda

Goldin and Katz do an excellent job of explaining why public secondary education increased so rapidly throughout the period of 1910-1940. The presence of small towns with homogenous populations was essential to the grassroots movement that greatly expanded high school education in the United States. I was surprised that one of the possible reasons for secondary education developing in small towns was their lack of both city employment as well as farming jobs. Prior to reading this article, I thought that the secondary education movement started in cities where there were a greater number of children to educate.
Although I enjoyed most of this paper, I felt that the introduction made several weak arguments, including that the education movement in the 1950s to 1970s would have been much weaker without this initial movement. I also agree with the previous posters that the automobile registration is not an ideal measurement for the presence of wealth in a small town. It seems to me that certain towns would have a greater number of vehicles registered based upon their distance from other means of transportation and large cities.

Tanya Chang

Goldin and Katz discuss the expansion of secondary schooling. The expansion took place from 1910 to 1940 and began around the Midwest, which I found to be interesting. While there were many factors to explain why the expansion occurred in the Midwest, which factors prevented it from happening elsewhere, like the more industrialized regions? However, I expected certain factors to correlate with the attendance of high school students. For example, the families that were richer could afford their children to go to school and the elderly began to found benefits for supporting the education system. However, I felt that Goldin and Katz could have provided more substance in their arguments. For example, while they did provide many statistics and correlations, I felt they could’ve explained why the expansion of secondary schools occurred during the time of the world wars. As the authors of this paper noted, the government provided a lot of financial support for the expansion of secondary education. During the time of the two world wars, was the government financially stable to provide so much support? Also, as other posts have noted, some factors should not be assumed to have an affect on the number of high school students. Families that own automobiles may not have been necessarily wealthy enough to afford sending their children to school. A car may have been a necessity in order for parents to work and support their family.

Kelly Yang

The arguments presented by Goldin and Katz about the rise of education and its importance seemed to mirror current trends in education. Socioeconomic factors, the more affluent the community, the more likely education would prosper, did not surprise me because richer neighborhoods often have better educational systems when compared to less affluent areas. But an interesting point was made about the rich during the early 1900’s which was that the rich would probably have their children home schooled rather than sent to public institutions and therefore would care less for public funding for schools. It was also not a surprise to me that lower class families did not want to send their children to school due to the opportunity cost of working instead. While even today, it is illegal for children not to be in school, I can understand why those from lower class and poorly educated families may want their children to work and earn money rather than go to school. Even with the positive correlation between education and higher income, the effects are not immediate (one must graduate first) and this makes it more difficult for families to give up the additional present income their children can earn. Finally I found it most interesting that the rise in secondary education came from small towns rather than large cities where there would be more children, more funding (from taxes) and more educators.

Vinit Sukhija

I found this article interesting in the sense that it reminded me of my 11th grade U.S. History AP class and our discussion about the government's role in the welfare of its citizens. I found it interesting to note that the growth of secondary school education (I think the numbers were like 10% of American citizens graduated high school in 1910 vs. 40% in 1935) almost went hand-in-hand with the government's increasing need to protect its citizens, culminating with Lyndon B. Johnson's "Great Society" Congress and the implementation of public health programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.

I was quite surprised to learn that the lower class had trouble accepting the fact that their tax dollars would be going more and more towards public education. I do understand that high school was considered only pertinent to the "elite", but mindset was CLEARLY changing rapidly, and schools were blossoming at the local level. Wouldn't the lower class have noticed this rapidly changing process? Why didn't they see this as a potential benefit for the future of the American lower class?

Soo Hyun Kim

To reply to the above poster's question, I would like to point out that even today some high school graduates forego or postpone their college education because of its high price. Everyone knows that going to college will generally increase your standard of living, but some are just too financially burdened. Although secondary school was free, the foregone income during the schooling years may have been too costly for the lower class. In addition, we can't say that secondary school was completely free as there were expenses for books, notebooks, and other learning materials necessary for education.

Similar to many posters, I was surprised how the small towns were the first to embrace secondary school education. Compared to the cities with higher population, the small towns would have less capital to work with, but they nonetheless were the source of the high school movement. Today, there seems to be a correlation between the wealth of a school district and the quality of education. If this holds true for the past, would it mean that schools of small towns lagged behind in quality of education even though they were the first to embrace secondary school education?

Patrick Traughber

I found this article interesting to me because of my family's history. My grandfather was born in Independence, a town of 1,000 at the time, in Northwest Iowa, in 1917. Growing up there, he went to high school at Jefferson Independence High. My grandfather tells me stories about his time in high school, particularly about how small his class was (a few dozen). It was at this school that he met my grandmother. From what I understand of Independence and its demographics around that time, it was a tightly-knit, Protestant farming community. Goldin and Katz's conclusions confirm the notion that homogeneity and small, rural communities were quick to adopt secondary schools. What I found particularly interesting is that my grandfather mentioned once that some kids didn't go to school, and those were typically families that relied on farming as their main source of income, which the article supports. (Everyone farmed in Independence, but some families farmed to sell the produce while some families farmed to feed their own household). Something else worth noting is that my grandfather was in high school during the Depression, a time a severe hardships in the Midwest as food prices dropped significantly. Despite this, my grandfather and most of his peers attended school, and went to college.

Golding and Katz present fascinating findings. It is amazing to believe that secondary school, which proves to be a crucial period in an American's life today, is only a century old. They present the data and their conclusions in a concise, easily interpretable manner. Finally, I must be grateful for the emergence of secondary schools, as had they not developed by 1931, I wouldn't be here.

Patrick Traughber

I found this article interesting to me because of my family's history. My grandfather was born in Independence, a town of 1,000 at the time, in Northwest Iowa, in 1917. Growing up there, he went to high school at Jefferson Independence High. My grandfather tells me stories about his time in high school, particularly about how small his class was (a few dozen). It was at this school that he met my grandmother. From what I understand of Independence and its demographics around that time, it was a tightly-knit, Protestant farming community. Goldin and Katz's conclusions confirm the notion that homogeneity and small, rural communities were quick to adopt secondary schools. What I found particularly interesting is that my grandfather mentioned once that some kids didn't go to school, and those were typically families that relied on farming as their main source of income, which the article supports. (Everyone farmed in Independence, but some families farmed to sell the produce while some families farmed to feed their own household). Something else worth noting is that my grandfather was in high school during the Depression, a time a severe hardships in the Midwest as food prices dropped significantly. Despite this, my grandfather and most of his peers attended school, and went to college.

Golding and Katz present fascinating findings. It is amazing to believe that secondary school, which proves to be a crucial period in an American's life today, is only a century old. They present the data and their conclusions in a concise, easily interpretable manner. Finally, I must be grateful for the emergence of secondary schools, as had they not developed by 1931, I wouldn't be here.

Sean Tennerson

I was initially intrigued by this article by Goldin and Katz, because I think that the education system is one of the most important factors in a nation when judging their potential for economic stability and future growth. I found it very interesting to read how the US system of pre-university education got started in small towns and not in more heavily populated areas like cities. I also appreciated the economist view that they applied to this paper, using equations, graphs and numbers to offer substantial and measurable proof to their findings. Though I did find that even with those added numbers they did not offer any really surprising or view altering notions about the educational system in the US. I find it very reasonable to know that high school attendance rates were highest in areas with more wealth and even distribution of wealth and religious and ethnic cohesion, because it is still very apparent in schools today that when these characteristics are present in an area the high schools usually have higher attendance and better performance. The idea of a vast diffusion of high schools all over the nation, starting in the "education belt" is something that when one looks at how technological advancements and other changes in the US is not surprising, because it seems that when there is a change that shows potential for success, it spreads rapidly. For example transportation systems like trains. It seems rather obvious as well that when young people saw the returns possible from a high school education they too would want an opportunity to attend. To conclude I thought that Goldin and Katz were very informed about what they were writing and i appreciate the data they compiled, I am just not sure how much "new information" they proposed to the reader that one could not infer on one's own.

Athena Ullah

Goldin and Katz illustrate an undeniable correlation between how the rise of the "educational belt" and its emphasis on strengthening the secondary school institution during 1910 to 1940 was inextricably linked to ideas centered on human and social capital. Steeped in pecuniary returns to what a high school education could deliver, many in the Midwestern states, in this case Iowa viewed the secondary educational mechanism was crucial for maintaining community's cohesion and foster internal economic development within it's citizenry. While, it is also crucial to note that the impetus for building such educational structures was not done to fortify the facilitation of our democracy but rather to provide "training for life". As those who held high school educations were more often the ones to reinvest in the social capital of their community and family.

The four levels of analysis are penetrating: national, state, county, and individual all presented correlating data that underlines why the Great Plains states picked up more momentum that did the New England or denser areas. Their data presents evidence that the rate of return on the human capital behind all four variables sustained a higher level of social capital [(associational activity, social trust, and civic participation) Figure 4]. the concluding data reveals, what I think is an interesting measure of value on education and what that meant for the quality of smaller communities during the turn of the century.

Stella Kang

The existence of an “education belt” and a “high school movement” is new to me, especially since its developments occurred rather recently, in 1910-1940. I believed that the idea of investment in education bringing higher returns of social capital was well-known and applicated for a much longer time. The results the authors found were expected, but the methods they used to support them were interesting and made sense, using specific information from census data and focusing on private as well as public factors. Seeing the movement grow at grass root, local levels more so than state-wide, was important because the schools were publicly funded by the state. Growth fostered in close communities where organization around common interests was more easily fostered. Social capital is difficult to measure but I agree with their conclusions that it had a substantial influence in creating a higher quality of human capital in American society.

Yu Xu

It is surprising that small towns back in 1910 were willing to pay for the secondary education of the children; in fact it is such a huge investment and those education don’t turn into profit in a short time, so it’s most likely that the administrators who issued the funds were not going to see the result of those education investment. But for whichever reason they did it, it’s giant step they took toward the success of United States; one of the reason that United States became such a super power today was that the average education of its citizens is higher than most countries and started very early, we have realized that “a democratic nation have to be governed by educated people” hundreds years ago. One thing I don’t agree with the authors is that the car registration measures the wealth of certain town, because the use of vehicle sometimes depends on the efficiency of local transportation and the structure of the town itself. For example, a town in southern California would have more car registration than a town near New York City even though they might have the same level or wealth.

Monica Shih

Like many of the other students, I was also very surprised to learn that the education movement began in smaller, rural towns. It's also very strange to think that the widespread public educations system began less than 100 years go. We take it very much for granted that our government pays for our education from kindergarten to 12th grade in high school. Goldin and Katz's arguments about homogeneity fostering a more generous education system is definitely well-developed and provides a lot of empirical evidence, but things really have changed a lot since then. Take California for example; we have such a diverse state, and in the area where I grew up (San Jose), over 50% of the population was comprised of non-Caucasians. My high school was very racially diverse, but there was a lot of emphasis on secondary education. This education movement was very important to our development as a country because, as proven in the article, education is a very worthwhile investment that leads to greater productivity and economic gains in the future. Overall, the article was well developed, and pointed our clear relationship between education and economic gains. I thought Goldin and Katz thoroughly went over statistics and evidence in a very concise, very convincing manner.

Eric Regan

Goldin and Katz present an interesting account of the early development and causes of the "high school movement" in the United States from 1910 to 1940. Generally, I thought that big cities were the forerunners of the secondary school revolution in America because of the occupations, income levels, etc. of the dense population living in the metropolis. I would have assumed that wealthier parents living in cities would have greatly encouraged their children to get a secondary school education and would have provided the funds necessary to establish a high school in their community. However, Goldin and Katz discover that it was in fact small towns and villages that "experienced the highest levels and the greatest expansion of high school education in the 1910 to 1920 period." This was due to the fact that smaller communities experienced a greater deal of homogeneity and the idea that the younger generation (children) that went through secondary schooling would be better able to take care of the older generation (parents) when they grow into old age.

It is interesting to see that several of the states that set the trend for high schools in the U.S. in the early twentieth century continue to do well regarding enrollment and participation of youth in secondary schooling today. I would have liked to have seen more discussion on this topic of the early leaders of the "high school movement" and their social capital status today rather than the detailed analysis of secondary school as both a public and private good. This article made me think of how students have to mark the education level of their most educated parent on standardized tests. As Goldin and Katz showed, there is a strong correlation between parents' educational level and their children's enrollment in secondary school.

Kevin Chiu

The article by Goldin and Katz talks about secondary education in America and uses economic valuation to evaluate its benefits and costs. From the reading, it clearly states how investing in secondary education is costly but provides more benefits to the educated and his/her community.
Also mentioned in the article was how socioeconomic factors contribute to the education received by individuals. An example is how the wealth of parents will affect the amount of education their child receives. Although there are certain circumstances where socioeconomic factors can be defeated, I believe that it is these factors that determine the education
and success children receive.
This article is really interesting to me because it made me think about the effects of investing in education and how it would be a solution to the problem America faced and is currently facing today with its educational system.

Christopher Avedissian

This article was definitely very intriguing with its identification of the "education belt" and the advancement of secondary schooling within not busy/populated cities, but small towns. And it was also intriguing that this movement towards higher education wasn't prevalent until 1910 to 1940. Similar to Stella Kang, I believed that education was a priority to gain higher return of social capital which would provide a stable and efficient economic future. The data and analysis given by Goldin and Katz was indeed sufficient and knowledgeable, but there wasn't any surprising fact. Most of the data seemed obvious to me. It is still a fact today that attendance and education is higher within communities that are wealthier. And when one succeeds others will try to follow, and it's a repetitive/competitive cycle. But all in all, this article was well presented and justified.

Kellie Fitzgerald

Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz’s work paper discusses the onset of secondary schooling in America, with special analysis given to Iowa, from 1910 to 1940. The article was clear and much of the support made logical sense (ex. cars had an effect on school drop-out rates and schools were built to persuade people to remain in rural areas). However, Goldin and Katz refer to the public good “secondary education” as realistically being a private good several times throughout the article which does not make sense to me as the definition of a public good is something that is not exclusive and non-rival; while certain populations (wealthy, educated, upper class) may be more inclined and encouraged to go to school, the education was available to everyone. It was interesting to see how the population characteristics, mindset, and productivity changed as a result of the “high school movement” in the “educational belt.” I enjoyed reading this paper as it made me think about a lot of what was stated( ex. secondary school costs are double that of K-8 amounts). I also liked this paper as Goldin and Katz touch on sociological issues such as elite vs. underprivileged groups and the educational advancement of society over time.

Dragana Ognenovska

It was an interesting article to read and what suprised me the most was that small towns and villages experienced the greatest level of high school attendance from 1910 to about 1940. I had this idea that girls, especially the ones living in villages did not attend school and rather took care of daily family chores, but it turns out that more of them attended school when compared to the girls living in bigger towns. I also do not know much about the rankings of schools in the US, but it was interesting to find out that by Iowa embracing secondary education it led the "high school movement". I would expect for a place like New York to lead the high school movement. This was a very well written article and interesting information that I have never came across.

Dragana Ognenovska

It was an interesting article to read and what suprised me the most was that small towns and villages experienced the greatest level of high school attendance from 1910 to about 1940. I had this idea that girls, especially the ones living in villages did not attend school and rather took care of daily family chores, but it turns out that more of them attended school when compared to the girls living in bigger towns. I also do not know much about the rankings of schools in the US, but it was interesting to find out that by Iowa embracing secondary education it led the "high school movement". I would expect for a place like New York to lead the high school movement. This was a very well written article and interesting information that I have never came across.

Robert Chomik

I think it's interesting that the United States lead other nations in the secondary school growth movement not even a hundred years ago and today other countries, especially in Europe, but not only, provide a much higher standard of secondary education than the U.S. does. It seems that this tendency of ours to lead at the beginning of trends and to fall back later in time happened many times in different industries and areas of life. The same phenomenon of leading at the beginning and losing in the end happened in the automobile industry (same time as the education trend, steel industry, manufacturing, as well as modern information technologies. What is it that the U.S. begins to lead, but lets others take over later in time? Are we simply innovative, but lack in consistency? I think that's a very interesting theme to look into.

David M. Aviles

Before this article, it never really occurred to me where and how or that there ever was a "high school movement." What's even more surprising is that it happened in the small towns in the middle of the country. I always assumed the drive and innovation of school which we now link to higher monetary payoffs over a life time or more "success" would be in places where there was a lot of business/industrialization/steady economy. I figured a national policy was implemented and everyone fell into place after a generation or two. The "education belt" however provided a homogeneity where younger generations wanted to better themselves. Plus the return on the high school investment was huge. There was a 12% return for each year of high school. Iowans experienced free tuition based on these returns. It's nice to see a state putting confidence in its youth and actually getting them to want an education. Also, providing a free service as costly as secondary education during a 30 year period where we had two world wars and The Great Depression shows commitment. All we have to do now is keep improving and show the returns of investment in college.

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