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A Cruel Delusion on “Equalized Achievement”

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education, elementary school, learning and people concept - group of school kids with notebooks sitting in classroom and raising hands

The New York Times recently reported good news on the education performance gap between black and white children—a gap that’s narrowed by 50 percent over the last 30 years. But the distance between privileged kids and disadvantaged children of all races has only gotten wider: offspring of college graduates are seven times more likely to earn college degrees themselves, than are the children of high school drop-outs.

Professor Jane Waldfogel of Columbia University says the problem begins before kindergarten. “If we could equalize achievement from zero to 14, that would go a long way to closing the college enrollment gap,” she says. But this is an absurd idea: even in the same classroom, there is never “equalized achievement.” Heredity is a major factor: children of parents who struggle with poverty will generally have less native ability than offspring of driven high-achievers. But even siblings growing up in the same family don’t perform identically or equally, so expecting “equalized achievement” is a cruel delusion.

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  1. Jeff  •  Oct 7, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    Why is it that all educators think that all kids have to attend college? We need trained tradesmen as well plumbers, electricians, carpenters, and truck drivers. None of these require college. Yet our educational system is geared toward every kid going to college. I run circles around college grads in my job and I got my education through military service. College is not for everyone.

    • Andy  •  Oct 7, 2015 at 3:26 pm

      Jeff – I agree with you in principle, but, unfortunately, the new reality is that college is becoming more and more of a necessity for those who want a good job. Those days where you could still get a good job with only a high school diploma are gone. The saying “college is the new high school” is too true these days (See “Why Boys Fail” by Richard Whitmire). With four young sons of my own and skyrocketing costs of college, I’m hating this fact more and more. And to add insult to injury, universities are petri dishes for the leftist worldview. I’m finding solace in the fact that, at this point, some sort of educational commitment (2-year, apprentice, trade school, military, etc.) beyond high school can suffice in certain fields. However, a 4-year degree seems to open up many more doors. Because of these reasons, college seems more and more like a necessary evil.

      • Sela  •  Oct 9, 2015 at 3:44 pm

        Agree with both Jeff and Andy on this subject. My twin daughters are the first in both mine and my husbands family to go to college and they are both at elite universities here in CA. But just as ‘college is the new high school’, what I’m hearing from them is graduate school is the new college. The fact that everyone is expected to go to college is upping the ante and now to get the great jobs, a person needs a masters degree to be seen as set apart. Where will it end? #lifetimestudent

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