Dean Dad reminds his readers that there's more to higher education than the gaming of U.S. News rankings.  He's reacting to Anthony Carnevale's Washington Post diagnosis of the excess demand for prestige degrees.
In the post-World War II era, whites fled the center city to the leafy-green suburbs and better neighborhood schools. Today, a similar trend has taken root in American higher education, only this time whites are fleeing the underfunded and overcrowded two-year and four-year open-access colleges for the nation’s top 500 universities.
He won't tell you it's about access-assessment-remediation-retention, but it's about access-assessment-remediation-retention.
We can start thinking systemically by moving away from the current test-crazed admissions competition for seats at our top colleges. Test scores are the crucial factor in admissions decisions at selective colleges, but they explain less than half the difference in graduation rates among students. Yet, test scores enable selective institutions to dodge racial justice behind a superficial shield of institutional quality.
Yes, because what you know matters, and the caliber of your classmates matters too.
Our racially stratified postsecondary education system serves as a passive agent that mimics and magnifies the race-based inequities it inherits from the K-12 education system and projects them into the labor market. Whites educated at elite colleges go on to have successful careers, marry other whites with similar backgrounds, and buy homes in the right neighborhoods. Those neighborhoods in turn give their kids access to a top education in pre-K through high school that prepares them for selective colleges, beginning anew the self-sustaining intergenerational cycle of racial privilege.
That preparation includes socialization in bourgeois ways, but that's not where I want to go today.  Rather, I want to highlight what Matt Reed says to the community colleges, and yes, to the land-grants and mid-majors.  " We can reject the logic of lifeboating (or 'undermatching,' as the wonks call it), and instead decide to make public colleges and universities at all levels worthy of their students. If we did, we could dial down the pressure on the elites to solve the social engineering problem on their own."  Indeed so.  The ambitious or striving or place-bound or returning from a hitch or late-blooming students deserve no less.  Catering to beer-'n-circus and access for its own sake, not so much.

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