New England's Educational Advantage: Past Successes and Future Prospects
Any enumeration of New England's competitive strengths is likely to include the high education levels of its work force. The growing availability of highly educated workers in the region has permitted the development of industries that make use of advanced skills and raised the average standard of living during the past several decades. This article investigates the sources of New England's educational advantage historically, examines recent trends in key determinants, and discusses prospects for the future. The author presents the basic facts on educational attainment in New England and the nation. She then uses a 20-year longitudinal survey to classify college graduates by region according to where they attended high school and college, showing that New England's high educational ranking is the result of sending a high share of its own schoolchildren to college and drawing college students from other locations. To the extent New England has faced growing challenges in maintaining its educational advantage during the past decade, the author finds, this is due to shrinkage in the number of bachelor's-level graduates at the region's colleges and universities, and to diminished success in drawing college-educated adults from outside the region.