As Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz describe in their book, "The Race Between Education and Technology," America's educational progress was amazingly steady between 1870 and 1950, and the U.S. opened up a gigantic global lead, says New York Times op-ed columnist, David Brooks. Educational levels were rising across the industrialized world, but the U.S. had at least a 35-year advantage on most of Europe. America's edge boosted productivity and growth. But the happy era ended around 1970 when America's educational progress slowed to a crawl. Between 1975 and 1990, educational attainments stagnated completely. Since then, progress has been modest. America's

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