Depressing NYT article on how education is no longer a vehicle for upward mobility in America:
“The story of their lost footing is also the story of something larger — the growing role that education plays in preserving class divisions. Poor students have long trailed affluent peers in school performance, but from grade-school tests to college completion, the gaps are growing. With school success and earning prospects ever more entwined, the consequences carry far: education, a force meant to erode class barriers, appears to be fortifying them.
‘Everyone wants to think of education as an equalizer — the place where upward mobility gets started,’ said Greg J. Duncan, an economist at the University of California, Irvine. ‘But on virtually every measure we have, the gaps between high- and low-income kids are widening. It’s very disheartening.’”
There are tons of problems with higher education in America (too expensive, too many administrators, an unhealthy focus on sports and facilities rather than the primary educational mission) but in general it’s a system that’s rightfully envied by most of the world.
It seems like we’ve reached a tipping point though. And if education isn’t a means of a poor kid becoming a middle class or rich adult, what else is left?