The myth that college is meritocracy

Anyone who wishes to reproduce more than 35 copies of this article must apply to the author, Dr. I was taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group. These denials protect male privilege from being fully acknowledged, lessened or ended. Thinking through unacknowledged male privilege as a phenomenon, I realized that, since hierarchies in our society are interlocking, there was most likely a phenomenon of white privilege that was similarly denied and protected.

The myth that college is meritocracy

From Deficiency to Strength: Download the PDF version.

From Deficiency to Strength: Shifting the Mindset about Education Inequality Imperial examination in Chinese mythology The imperial examination system in its classical manifestation is historically attested to have been established induring the Sui dynastywhen the emperor could call for tests to be administered. In the following Tang dynastytests were used on a small scale until the examination system was extensively expanded during the reign of Wu Zetian:
The Myth of American Meritocracy, by Ron Unz - The Unz Review Tweet Illustration by Michael Hogue Just before the Labor Day weekend, a front page New York Times story broke the news of the largest cheating scandal in Harvard University history, in which nearly half the students taking a Government course on the role of Congress had plagiarized or otherwise illegally collaborated on their final exam. In the last generation or two, the funnel of opportunity in American society has drastically narrowed, with a greater and greater proportion of our financial, media, business, and political elites being drawn from a relatively small number of our leading universities, together with their professional schools.
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The vast chasm in academic achievement has long existed along racial and poverty lines. Children of color and from low-income families have, on average, performed worse on virtually The myth that college is meritocracy indicators of academic success: This gap perpetuates the existing inequalities in society.

Efforts to close the achievement gap have had little effect. The gap remains and has actually widened. This article argues the gap is symptomatic of the deficit-driven education paradigm.

Fixing the traditional paradigm is unlikely to close the gap because the paradigm reinforce and reproduces educational and social inequity by design. To work toward more educational and social equity, we need to adopt a different paradigm of education.

The new paradigm should work on cultivating strengths of individual students instead of fixing their deficits.


Casey Foundation,J. Casey Foundation, J. Closing the achievement gap has thus become synonymous with removing inequality in education. Casey Foundation, However, closing the achievement gap has proven to be an extremely difficult task. Despite decades of efforts, the gap between the poor and the rich has not narrowed significantly; neither has the gap between children of color and their White counterparts J.

It actually has widened Reardon, There are many and complex reasons for the lack of progress in closing the achievement gap or improving the education of the poor.

The efforts and investment may have been too little and too late to chip away the education debt Ladson-Billings, owed to the poor.

Many of them are also ethnic minorities. The schools they attend, the neighborhoods they live in, and their home environments are much worse resourced and more challenging than their wealthier suburban fellow citizens Darling-Hammond, ; Valencia, We need effective policies and actions to counter racism, improve communities, upgrade schools facilities, enhance the quality of teachers, and provide early learning programs for disadvantaged children.

National SEED Project - White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack

However, these macro-level changes Valencia, are difficult to effect, to say the least. None of these tasks is easy and all of them take time, time that we do not have if we are to help the millions of children already in born into disadvantaged schools and communities.

The place where more immediate changes can occur is schools. While it takes time and resources to improve the material conditions of poor schools and the quality of teachers, what happens in a school can be changed more quickly. The sweeping changes in curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment that happened in American schools under No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top are good evidence, although the changes were misguided and did not significantly benefit students, poor and wealthy.

In other words, the achievement gap is a logical, and to some degree intended, outcome of the existing paradigm. The gap is used as justification for sorting people into different social and economic strata so as to ensure the existing social order continues.

Improvement of such a paradigm can do little to alter the fate of the already disadvantaged at the best and at the worst exacerbates their conditions. What we need are policies and practices that transform, rather than improve, the existing education paradigm.

Thus for the betterment of all children, the prevalent education paradigm must be abandoned and a new one be invented. This article brings together the literature on educational inequity and points out the fundamental flaws of the conceptualization of the achievement gap as well as problems with attempts to close the achievement gap.

It further brings evidence to suggest an alternative paradigm of education. It concludes with recommendations for policy makers, education leaders, and researchers.

Deficit-driven Meritocracy The education paradigm that determines what happens in schools today can be best characterized as a deficit-driven meritocracy.

It operates like a meritocracy and is designed to serve a meritocracy. At the same time, it practices the deficit mindset and focuses on fixing the deficiencies of children.

Both characteristics work together to perpetuate inequality and threaten to widen the achievement gap, when further perfected. Meritocracy Coined by the British sociologist Michael Young in his book first published in Young,the term meritocracy is used to describe a dystopian society that assigns individuals into different occupations based on their merit, defined as intelligence and efforts and measured by IQ tests.

The myth that college is meritocracy

The book was a satire meant to be a warning of such a society Young, The Meritocracy Myth [Stephen J. McNamee] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.

This book challenges the widely held belief in meritocracy—that everyone has an equal chance of success based on individual merit and effort.

The book considers non-merit factors such as social connections and discrimination. The fourth 5/5(1). It’s been said in many places and by many luminaries: Do what you love. But what does this phrase actually mean? Miya Tokumitsu, a contributing editor at Jacobin magazine and author of the new.

John Edgar Wideman Against the World, by Thomas Chatterton Williams - The Unz Review

Oct 20,  · The rate at which college students are graduating with debt today is approaching crisis levels. Unsurprisingly, not all of the long-term costs are about money. Why the Myth of Meritocracy Hurts Kids of Color system-justifying beliefs are associated with lower self-esteem in black adults and lower grade-point averages for Latino college students.

The Myth of American Meritocracy the myth of that a meritocracy exists at elite universities, but wouldn’t it be far more productive and beneficial to dispel the myth of college instead.

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Imperial examination - Wikipedia