June 30, 2006

The True Hustle: School's Two M's, Meritocracy and Mediocrity

A national commission report on higher education revealed a system in shambles: "It's time to be frank. Among the vast and varied institutions that make up US higher education, we have found equal parts meritocracy and mediocrity."

Forget the three R's. It's ALWAYS been the two M's.

Access to higher education was found to be limited by inadequate high school preparation, financial barriers, poor alignment between high school and college curricula, and "confusing informational" barriers. Not only do you need cash, you need to be in the know. You can attend Harvard...you can clean the library.

More high school grads are attending college, relative to 1970 (52 vs 67%), however, the proportion of students completing college has stagnated since the 70s. Most tellingly, less than 10 percent of those in the bottom socioeconomic quartile will ultimately graduate from college, compared to 58 percent of those in the top quartile. Dumb rich kids somehow find their way into college. Furthermore, 22 percent of low-income grads deemed "college qualified" do not attend any form of post-secondary education, compared to 4% of high income students (that's equal to 168,000 low-income, qualified kids NOT going on to further schooling). Not to worry, Starbucks, McDonalds, Ikea, Target, Pathmark, Crate & Barrel are all still hiring.

Forget losing 1.4 billion dollars post-Katrina. Our inadequate public school system has resulted in $1 billion worth of remedial college courses, paid for by taxpayer dollars, and $16 billion in business' lost productivity. The only thing are testing-based education has created is more test-making jobs. Where do we get those test-makers? China.

Long story short: the rich go on to post-secondary school, the poor don't. The rich college grads are unprepared for the business world, unable to innovate, and unwilling to strive. Stagnation. No matter, they have their house, their health, their trust funds, their power, and their connections. They also have a plethora of uneducated kids to hire to do their laundry, clean their offices, and raise their kids.

BOB DYLAN The Times They Are A-Changin http://rapidshare.de/files/24518346/times_bdyl.rar
JERU the DAMAJA Wrath of the Math http://rapidshare.de/files/24527389/jd_wotm.rar


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