News Coverage: Quoctrung Bui & Claire Cain Miller, The Age That Women Have Babies: How a Gap Divides America, NYTimes.com, August 4, 2018. “Researchers say the differences in when women start families are a symptom of the nation’s inequality — and as moving up the economic ladder has become harder, mothers’ circumstances could have a bigger effect on their children’s futures.”
New Op-Ed: Brian Alexander, What Is the ‘Success Sequence’ and Why Do So Many Conservatives Like It? TheAtlantic.com, July 31, 2018.
“The success sequence, trustworthy as it may sound, conveniently frames structural inequalities as matters of individual choice.”
New Report: Women’s Student Debt Crisis in the United States, American Association of University Women, Updated May 2018.
Blog Post: Sean Illing, The biggest lie we still teach in American history classes, Vox.com, August 1, 2018.
“The idea that we’re always getting better keeps us from seeing those times when we’re getting worse.”
New Article: Lauren A. DiMartino, The ‘Free College’ Illusion: How State Tuition Support Programs Are Widening the Opportunity Gap, Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law Policy, Vol. 25, No. 2, 2018. Abstract below:
In recent years, educational efforts nation and state-wide have been focused on closing the gap between the opportunities available to different groups of students. The “income achievement gap,” in particular, results in average performing middle-income students graduating college at a rate of almost three times that of an average performing low-income student. For students in the lowest quintile of income, college tuition — on average — costs 37% of a family’s annual income, compared to only 2.5% for upper-income families. Campaigns across the country are seeking to close this gap by providing tuition-free college. Few programs, however, fully consider the reality of the obstacles faced by low-income students that prevent persistence to graduation. While the idea of “free college” equates to accessibility and attainability, often these new programs only remove obstacles for students, or the families of students, who are already highly likely to obtain a college degree. This note argues that many “free college” laws, as they are being put forward, effectively widen the achievement gap by increasing educational opportunities for middle-income students without removing additional barriers for low-income students. This further complicates the already complex financial aid process and fails to support the most vulnerable student populations. Informed by legal, economic, and student engagement experience, this note explores the statutory and regulatory framework for the current educational and financial aid system in New York State. It offers a critique on how the laws are thwarting the goals they originally sought to accomplish, acknowledges what the laws have gotten right, and outlines recommendations for consideration, most applicable for New York State, but relevant to other jurisdictions as they consider new laws to finance higher education.
News Coverage: Erica L. Green, DeVos Proposes to Curtail Debt Relief for Defrauded Students, NYTimes.com, July 25, 2018.
In frightening news, Secretary DeVos plans to make it harder for the victims of fraudulent for-profit colleges — disproportionately people of color — to seek redress.
New Op-Ed: Tara Siegel Bernard & Karl Russell, The New Toll of American Student Debt in 3 Charts, NYTimes.com, July 11, 2018.
New Article: Thomas Scott-Railton, Note, Shifting the Scope: How Taking School Demographics Into Account in College Admissions Could Reduce K-12 Segregation Nationwide, 36 Yale L. & Pol’y Rev. 219 (2017). Abstract below:
Deepening racial and socioeconomic segregation is producing unequal educational outcomes at the K-12 level, outcomes that are then reproduced in higher education. This is particularly true as rising competition among colleges has led many of them to focus increasingly on measures of merit that correlate with income and as parents and students adjust their behavior in light of those metrics. While existing affirmative action programs at colleges provide some counterweight to this dynamic, they are limited by institutional (and constitutional) constraints. Out of concern for revenue and rankings, many colleges are constrained in the number of students from low-income backgrounds they are willing to admit. Such a limited scope is not inevitable, however.
If colleges were to give a substantial admissions bonus to applicants who had attended K-12 schools with at least a certain percentage of low-income students, higher education could become a force for countering inequality at the K-12 level, instead of reproducing it. College admissions policies serve as a crucial reference point for parents, students, and educators on down through K-12. By rewarding applicants for attending socioeconomically integrated schools, colleges would mobilize the resources of private actors across the country towards integration. The benefits of this would be significant, especially for students from low-income families who would have an increased chance of attending integrated K-12 schools as a result. Such a policy would also help colleges better foster diversity on campuses, as more students would have had prior experience in integrated settings.
This Note explores the ongoing problem of K-12 re-segregation, argues that by adopting this policy colleges could work to promote integration, examines how such a policy could best be designed to do so, and addresses why such a policy would be constitutional. At a time when educational inequality is on the rise, there is an urgent need for new affirmative action proposals that can combat segregation and do so within colleges’ existing constitutional and institutional constraints. The policy proposal advocated in this Note would do both, interrupting key elements of the present vicious circle.
News Coverage: Alina Tugend, In the Age of Trump, Civics Courses Make a Comeback, N.Y. Times, June 5, 2018.