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View Diary: Open thread for night owls: The brutal truth about how childhood determines your economic destiny (135 comments)

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  •  Twilight of the Elites (8+ / 0-)

    Chris Hayes talks about this in his recent book. Tells of a particular school that tried so hard to be based on merit only. They devised a test and if you pass you're in, if you fail, you don't get into the school. Income, class, connections were not suppose to matter.

    Rolling Stone

    The mechanisms of mobility and of equal opportunity are inevitably subverted by unequal power and wealth. We want to make a neat division between equality of opportunity and equality of outcome, but in practice, we can't. I use my high school, Hunter College in New York City, as an example. It's a public school, free, open to students from all five boroughs, but it's highly selective. When I went there, in the 1990s, you took one test to get in, in sixth grade. If you scored high enough you got in, if not, not. And if you were the mayor’s kid and you didn't score high enough, you didn't get in. That's the kind of democratizing promise of the meritocracy.

    But that was then ...

    Right. What's happened over time is you've seen a decline in black and Latino students in the school -- who were always underrepresented, but are even more so now -- at the same time as there's been this growth of a test prep industry. Parents are paying thousands of dollars for cram schools to prepare their kids for the test, and now the majority of kids getting in are products of the test-prep regime. So the test prep industry has been this perfect parable: You have this scarce resource -- a spot at an elite school -- and people with money in a very unequal city have a clear advantage over those who don't.

    •  Hayes (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      begone, squarewheel, antirove, 88kathy, JeffW

      I was looking back over that Rolling Stone link and thought I'd post another comment by Chris Hayes.

      RS: Toward the end of the book, you write that "if you want meritocracy, work for equality" -- because inequality of wealth is at the root of inequality of power and opportunity. How different would American society look if we did that?

      CH: The underlying premise in all of this is the idea that there's this scarce, small set of good jobs and fulfilling lives to be had, and everyone is going to compete for those. One alternative is a vision of society where everyone who's willing to work can have a good job and a fulfilling life, which is what it should be. That's a far superior social model. And it's also in stark contrast to the one we have now.

      •  exactly f*cking right (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        antirove, JeffW

        the right wing dipsticks who think evolution is a quaint theory are perfectly ok with social darwinism.

        they think "hunger games" is a good idea, because, you know, it's motivational.

        big badda boom : GRB 090423

        by squarewheel on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 11:12:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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