Monday, January 12, 2015

Ivy League’s meritocracy lie: How Harvard and Yale cook the books for the 1 percent

How Harvard and Yale cook the books for the 1 percent

"Now that is a correlation! This is what I refer to as the “Volvo effect.” In Crazy U, Ferguson talks about how the parents of his son’s friends and classmates were spending $30,000 to $35,000 to prepare their children for college. That isn’t the amount they had to pay for a premier boarding school mind you—that was the amount they paid to hire someone to tutor their child on the SAT and to help them write their “statement of interest” essays on their college applications. When these students get in to a particular college we say that this process reflects the fairness of the meritocracy, but really it only reflects the fact that the elite dominate the entry to higher education. These students aren’t smarter than the other students. Or to put it another way: they may be smart, but they are not necessarily those most likely to contribute to our society; they simply come from families that have more money to pay people to prepare them for the SAT, to test-prep them for their high school grades, and to pay for viola lessons so they can stand out more in the admissions process. The SAT’s most reliable value is its proxy for wealth. It is normed to white, upper-middle-class performance, as numerous studies have shown when the test is viewed through the lenses of race and class. The figures below, from 2013, show this in stark relief."

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