Merit Debunked

One of the most insightful books about higher education in the past few years is The Merit Myth: How Our Colleges Favor the Rich and Divide America, by Anthony P. Carnevale, Peter Schmidt, and Jeff Strohl. It received a good degree of notice and mostly positive reviews, and was mentioned as one of Forbes Magazine’s…

An Immigrant’s Educational Journey

One of the most effective ways to look at rights of passage is by tracking a group of people. It’s a familiar model that can lend itself to different kinds of experiences, from war stories to expeditions to immigration to more. Chronology usually drives the narrative, with the beginning introducing us to a disparate group…

Working Against Equity

Descriptive statistics sometimes do not receive the respect that they deserve. It’s unfortunate, for in the right hands, with wisdom, judgment and expertise, descriptive statistics can make a complicated story clear. One of the better uses of descriptive statistics that I have read in quite some time is found in Charles T. Clotfelter’s Unequal Colleges…

Community Colleges, Immigrant Needs & the Job Market

A straightforward question is sometimes the best way to understand an issue – not because one might find an easy answer, but because the question opens up doors to complexity and helps with broader comprehension. In 2007, Duane E. Leigh, an economics professor emeritus from Washington State University, and Andrew Gill, a professor of economics…

Inequity in Action

What is the mission of public four-year colleges? I would wager that most American would say that they should provide high-quality educational opportunities to all students, regardless of wealth, status, and background. The reality, according to a recent study, is different. Our Separate & Unequal Public Colleges, a report from the Georgetown University Center on…

Whose College Unbound?

Adding to the ever-growing library of “higher education is failing” is Jeffery J. Seligno’s College (Un)Bound: the Future of Higher Education and What It Means For Students. An editor at large for the Chronicle of Higher Education, academia’s publication of record, Seligno is a well-respected writer on education issues. Seligno believes that higher education has lost…

Poor Options, Smart Choices

If, sadly, a twenty-two year old is killed by a bus, the news media will quickly report the untimely demise of a man. Ask a group of middle-aged Americans about a twenty-two year old who lacks a full-time job and lives in his parent’s house, and they would be unwilling to call that person an…