Saturday, July 26, 2008


this article (h/t Daisey) blew my mind. As someone who went to public high school, and then a state school and then went to Columbia and Juilliard for grad school, I have noticed some of this first hand and then not noticed other parts of it that have been insidiously working inside me unaware. I am aware working at Columbia that despite all the bluster, many of our work studys are rather dumb, and I've noticed with envy the connections and support the rich kids have. I've seen the talented not succeed and the untalented but connected succeed in ways I don't understand. Adn now, as someone with feet in both worlds, with a day job that has prevented me from being the intellectual I've wanted to be, I feel both sad for what i can't have and triumphant on what I have allowed myself to be. Anyway read this article about class and Ivy league and the vast gulf that we see today in economics and class. and ask the big questions. (whatever they are) because if you don't, who will?


E. Hunter Spreen said...

Thanks for posting this. George W. Bush is an excellent example of the failure of an elite education, eh? His whole administration is a testament to how the "club" works. They've pretty much rubbed our noses in it for eight years.

Seriously. I'm struggling right now trying to get a good education for my son - not because I want him in an elite school, but because I want him to continue to love learning and I see it being stamped out of him year by year (only three years in) in preparation for the workplace - elite or otherwise.

An important thing to remember about elite schools - there is no correlation between getting in a good school and being happy. That's something that gets lost with parents pushing their kids through in order to get in the club.

Anonymous said...

I used to be fascinated by the whole elite school/academia aura. I turned down an "elite" (but not Ivy) institution for my own college education because of money, and I got an incredible education at my tiny no-name liberal arts school. I think I came out of there pretty well prepared for real adult life. Right now, I am working for an elite institution, as one of the "smiling clerks" that the academics do not know how to talk to. It's absolutely true. And I'm here while my husband matriculates as an older graduate student (at 30), and a "searcher" by nature who has plans to parlay his Ivy League degree into a shamefully un-lucrative Ivy grad path as a civil servant. He is struggling through the system that is built for corporate training, that discourages his "searching" behavior at every turn, and where "nobody ever gets lower than a B in grad school" is a common refrain that students bandy over cocktails and study sessions alike. I think at this point we're both pretty disillusioned by the system. And it really makes me worry for kids growing up competing with those who have that all-consuming drive to stake out their place in this system; ultimately, is it going to be worth it for them? Sure, it's a pretty good wealth indicator, but how does it stack up in terms of social intelligence, happiness, personal fulfillment?

Adam said...

Yeah, the whole thing is complicated. As someone who came from both worlds I see how much it helps to be considered in the club. It's sheltered in the same way not being in the club is. I got advanced degrees from stellar institutions and then I made photocopies at one of the places I went to school. I was treated like the help by the rich donors and even called "the help" from time to time. Rich people are an odd bunch. If they were always rich, they don't usually understand what it's like to not be rich. Thus the whole Let them eat cake or how Cheney said times were hard so we should all take shorter vacations.

And right now, the gap between rich and poor and the gap in class is getting much much bigger in this country.