Saturday, March 10, 2007

Inspired by this Blog, NY Review of Books Agrees With Me (um, retroactively)

Actually, a lot of people are worried about higher education becoming a scam. In fact, the New York Review of Books did an article a few days ago on this very issue:

"In short, there are very few poor students at America's top colleges, and a large and growing number of rich ones."

Yep. If you're poor, you can't go to university, and if you don't go to university, you can't get a job that will allow you to climb out of poverty. Add into this mix the predatory credit card companies that target poor people, and you have a socioeconomic structure in this country that is starting to resemble some sort of domestic colonialism. The pied noirs work the fry ovens at the mall while the colons hop with the jet set in their militaristic luxury vehicles and gated communities. It's like the Gilded Age all over again. Academics should be marching in the streets along with working class families. Essentially, we're the bouncers for an oligarchy that calls itself a meritocracy. (Or is that an exaggeration? It's hard for me to say. But, why aren't more people talking about this?)


Hiromi said...

They're talking about Anna Nicole Smith. I truly believe there is something fundamentally wrong with us. It may not be a new thing, but it's not something I can shrug off.

Anyway, the NY Times did an in-depth series about economic inequities last year...or was is 2005? There were two standouts: differences in quality of health care following a heart attack, and inequities in higher education. In any case, it is getting some media attention, but hasn't captured the attention of the public (I tried searching for those stories on their web site, but unless you have an exact search string, forget it).

Rufus said...

I remember the series. It was excellent. The Economist has also argued that social mobility might well be a thing of the past in this country.

The thing is, American univeristies are still the best in the world. But, for all their talk about "access", they need to consider if it's possible for the best and the brightest working class kids to even think about college. At Mall U. "access" means letting in students with lower and lower SAT scores from richer and richer families.