Sigh. I pity the committee in the college industrial complex for setting up the conventional wisdom and assumed truths. They try so hard and then it all backfires.
If we scroll back a few decades, the college industrial complex decided that inequality was bad. They would roll out the SAT and create a meritocracy that valued potential students by their abilities– which in the case of the SAT means unpacking convoluted logic problems and figuring out the right synonym for a word. It was all going to be wonderful and erase all of that family privilege that governed the schools before.
Alas, we’re now six or seven decades into this experiment and the problems are becoming obvious. People who are good at the SAT are turning into the new landed gentry. They’re the rich ones. Filling in those ovals is as good as being able to play whist or curtsy the right way.
Now David Brooks at the NY Times comes right out and points out that the so-called “meritocracy” is building even more inequality by cherry picking the talent from communities and hauling it away to fancy schools that teach the kids that working as a barrista in Brooklyn is much preferred to going home and taking a leadership role. All of the brains are being packed into tiny neighborhoods in NY, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco.
Is this a recipe for social disaster? Will we end up with large parts of the country devoid of the smart and able? That’s already happened to a large extent and it’s only looks like it will get worse. As Brooks points out, the Republicans don’t have a plan that will do anything differently. The system is really broken and we might as well blame the college industrial complex for exploiting the worst parts of our tribal nature and our desire to be surrounded by mirroring clones.
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