There have been many tweets and Facebook postings about Sunday’s NYT article on low-income students and the obstacles they face getting to college. The detailed reporting on the three high-achieving girls, their mentor, and the multiple things that got in their way has generated over 1200 comments to date, many of them surprisingly empathetic.
Some thoughts, after thinking about this piece for a few days:
1. The article ran on the front page of my edition of the times, and while I’m grateful for the conversation, I am dismayed that the deep connection between social class and college access is still front page news.
2. In any article like this, the obtuse financial aid form — the FAFSA — is critiqued, yet promised revisions that don’t “require a Ph.D.” are nowhere on the horizon.
3. While the personalization of the bigger story is compelling, the much bigger picture of deep institutional classism can too easily get lost in talk about bad boyfriends, an indifferent college administrator, and complex families. Middle class students may experience any of those things and yet still thrive in college and beyond.
Thoughts about the ways that these young women were portrayed in the article?