I had lunch with another man’s wife yesterday and we spoke about kids and education. The question of what higher education and what the tuition really buys came up. Her kids go to private schools. They’re bright and curious. We were eating lunch near the campus of an Ivy league University. Lots of money was walking around in tight jeans and Ugg boots. The only thing I know for sure is more money on campus equals less make-up and better underwear.
Education is important but has fallen victim to well intentioned branding gone bad. The idea that an expensive education will provide a higher paying job doesn’t play out. It hides the truth that it really isn’t what you know but who you know.
Rich people aren’t going to stop providing for their kids and giving them opportunities; nor should they. It is a mistake to point to any single metric as the reason for anything in society. Yes, there is a disparity between rich and poor in terms of exposure to culture but what else is new? I saw “The Outsiders” when I went to private school. Lots of my classmates read the book. Who cares?
This article, once you get to the bottom of it, admits that there is no “there” there. The center of the issue is another question without an answer. Since it was written in the New York Times, there is a greater chance that the poor people in question won’t read it. From the Times:
It is a well-known fact that children from affluent families tend to do better in school. Yet the income divide has received far less attention from policy makers and government officials than gaps in student accomplishment by race.
Now, in analyses of long-term data published in recent months, researchers are finding that while the achievement gap between white and black students has narrowed significantly over the past few decades, the gap between rich and poor students has grown substantially during the same period.
“We have moved from a society in the 1950s and 1960s, in which race was more consequential than family income, to one today in which family income appears more determinative of educational success than race,” said Sean F. Reardon, a Stanford University sociologist. Professor Reardon is the author of a study that found that the gap in standardized test scores between affluent and low-income students had grown by about 40 percent since the 1960s, and is now double the testing gap between blacks and whites.
In another study, by researchers from the University of Michigan, the imbalance between rich and poor children in college completion — the single most important predictor of success in the work force — has grown by about 50 percent since the late 1980s.