Class at at Elite Campus

This looks like another excellent book on class on campus — at least elite campuses.  Certainly the contrasts of class are most stark in such places.

And surely, the class dynamics that may be harder to identify a such,  that may be just as devastating, that may be interpreted by students as “I’m just not as good as those students who seem like me”- those class dynamics between the children of poor and working class parents and the children of professionals at the hundreds and hundreds of state schools across the country are also worthy of study.

Class not simply the line between the wealthy and the rest of us.

But as for this book, we cannot say things like this enough:

At elite colleges like the one I studied, middle- and upper-income students tend to be understood as typical, while low-income, first-generation students are the exceptions, the outsiders coming in. Echoing what we see in broader popular culture, middle- and upper-income student experiences are presented as common, and the kinds of jobs their parents have are presented as desirable. By contrast, there’s very little discussion of class inequality, or of working-class or low-income lives, except as something to leave behind.


New NPR Series on School Funding

NPR’s Morning Edition launched a really good, three-part (one story a week) series on inequities in school funding this morning.  As is the case now with Public “Radio”, the program’s website has excellent graphics, images, and links.

Part One dives into history (yes, Satan is implicated), court challenges to inequitable funding, and cases of districts with very different levels of funding.

We cannot pretend that we have equal opportunity via education with such deep inequities in school quality.

I’ve been teaching some of these things for decades now.  Unfortunately, we all have to continue to teach and talk and work against these things.

Public Colleges, Wealthier Students


Yet more on the lure of higher income students in these times of diminished state funding.

“Because the state contributes a smaller and smaller proportion of UW-Madison’s operating budget, the university administration naturally considers alternative ways of raising revenues, and the many wealthy applicants offer a quick, attractive alternative,” the study authors wrote.

More Complications of Financial Aid – for Juniors and Seniors

So much troubling in this article about the complications of financial aid for juniors and seniors, when this could all be simplified.


“There are so many technicalities,” Ms. Martinez-Pimental said. Some upperclassmen, she said, have to fill out five forms with different deadlines to get government and institutional aid renewed. Aside from paperwork problems, students can lose aid if they don’t take the correct distribution of credits or don’t complete at least two-thirds of the credits they are attempting to earn.

Being working class makes you happy

Streib and her team highlighted a section of the 1992 film Aladdin as representative of the film’s attitude to class and poverty. In one scene, the street urchin Aladdin and the wealthy Princess Jasmine compare their lot and find themselves equally miserable. He is poor, she is unhappy because she has “people who tell you where to go and how to dress”.

Disney, social class, and childhood.

via Being working class makes you happy – according to Disney | Film | The Guardian.

Why colleges use financial aid to attract wealthier students

Colleges continue to use financial aid to recruit wealthier students, rather than to support low-income students.

Attracting wealthy students, who can pay more, is often in colleges’ best interest. In some cases, Burd writes, colleges provide merit aid to wealthy students who aren’t high achieving. It’s cheaper to provide $5,000 merit scholarships to five wealthier students than to provide one $25,000 grant to a low-income student — even if the low-income student is academically superior — because the five wealthier students will be able to pay the rest of their tuition.

When Integrating A School, Does It Matter If You Use Class Instead of Race? : NPR Ed : NPR

Two new reports have come out recently documenting (yet again) that  attending school with children from diverse social class and racial background benefits all students.

I appreciate the academic discussion around whether race or class should be the variable upon which integration turns.

I appreciate even more that as housing has become more and more socio-economically segregated by race and many suburban school districts thrive on reputations built by serving upper-middle class children, there is still considerable resistance to creating more diverse schools, regardless of how it’s done, and regardless of the decades of evidence of academic advantages for children.

To be clear, there’s evidence that socially as well as racially integrated schools benefit all students. When a school reaches a stable level of about 30 percent middle-class students, the lower-income students achieve at higher levels and the privileged students do no worse, says Halley Potter, the author of one of the Century Foundation reports. Similarly, the racial achievement gap shrinks in schools that have less than a “supermajority” of 60 percent of any one race.

via When Integrating A School, Does It Matter If You Use Class Instead of Race? : NPR Ed : NPR.

Let’s keep talk about the intersections of race and class, and let’s remain mindful that while we’re talking, another generation of children will move through schools where they encounter only highly privileged children like themselves or children living in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty, to the advantage of neither, and to the detriment of public life.  Let’s keep talking in these conversations about the interest of many parents in hoarding opportunity for their own children as one of the reasons we’ve been having these conversations for as long as I’ve been an educator.