20 October 2014

Tracking one hundred students

I am a romantic, I guess. I would like to see universities as places where everyone can thrive regardless of their background. A leveler, if you will, which provides an opportunity for people to improve their lot in life. My current university helped do that: UTPA has been credited with creating a middle class in South Texas.

So this graph is important:

It shows that American universities are more often than not reinforcing existing class structures instead of minimizing them.

It’s also important in thinking about in terms of our graduate programs, and the sort of people who make it through the bachelor’s to have the chance to earn a higher degree.

Additional: It just so happens that the New York Times has an article about the “glass floor problem”, which is related to the article above. It emphasizes that the affluent have opportunities to hoard resources, preventing a leveling of the playing field.

“(U)npaid internships... have become more commonplace and, in many cases, an important first step on a lucrative career ladder. As they are unpaid, they automatically favor the affluent. Effectively unregulated, they can also be handed out to the children of clients or friends.”

View the interactive version of this graph here. Hat tip to Joshua Hatch.

1 comment:

Kevin Bonham said...

Sadly, this information does not surprise me.
But I'm conflicted - what obligation do we have as educators (at the university level) to try to mitigate the forces preventing low-income students from succeeding?

The effects of poverty/low income start early, surely the university can't undo 18 years of child development. I'm not saying we should throw up our hands, but it's not immediately obvious to me where we should devote limited resources.