THE FUTILITY OF A POSITIONAL ARMS RACE.  Good question from Inside School Research.
Certainly, there are plenty of low-performing and middling schools where teachers complain of students lacking ambition. But, in lots of relatively well-off communities around the country, a culture of competition certainly is pervasive. My question is: Is there a middle ground somewhere that everyone can occupy?
We could start with higher expectations in the low-performing and middling common schools.  Stop accommodating dysfunctional behavior and calling it cultural differences.  And consider the source of that status anxiety in those relatively well-off communities.

(A conjecture: rising income inequality is in part a consequence of lowered expectations masquerading as cultural sensitivity in precisely those neighborhoods where high expectations would do the most good.)

Daniel Luzer at Washington Monthly's College Guide follows up.
The solution here is to destroy high stakes admissions. How about looking into that?
In case anyone is interested:

All of higher education is in the same business as the Ivies.

There's excess demand for perceived quality credentials, raising the stakes.

Where there is excess demand, there will be rewards for providing the services.

That is, if the institutions currently not caught up in the high-stakes hustle lift their game.

Alternatively, the institutions in the middle of the high-stakes hustle can expand their faculties, and their enrollments.

SECOND SECTION.  Income inequality and test score inequality.

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