Ron Unz At The American Conservative: ‘The Myth Of American Meritocracy’

Full essay here.

The essay is ideologically tilted toward the right, but well-researched.  Comments are worth a read.

How do admissions work in practice, and how should they work?

‘But if selecting our future elites by purest “diversity” wouldn’t work, and using purest “meritocracy” would seem an equally bad idea, what would be the right approach to take as a replacement for today’s complex mixture of diversity, meritocracy, favoritism, and corruption?’

Everyone has some ideas about higher education and it’s tough for me to see how money, connections, some nepotism, favoritism, going with what you know, the biases we all have (some we know, some we don’t) won’t color the process.  I still think it’s important to try and maintain an equality of opportunity approach, getting intelligent people where they need to be while working against the fruits of excessive egalitarianism, the growth of administrative staff, and other interests attached to the core educational mission.

A tough problem.

Related On This Site: Should you get a college degree, probably, but you also probably shouldn’t lose sight of why you’re going and divorce yourself entirely from the cost:  Gene Expression On Charles Murray: Does College Really Pay Off?…Charles Murray In The New Criterion: The Age Of Educational Romanticism

The libertarian angle, getting smart, ambitious people off of the degree treadmill…or the very few for whom college doesn’t work:  From The American Interest: Francis Fukuyama Interviews Peter Thiel-’A Conversation With Peter Thiel’ I think it’s going too far, trying to apply libertarian economics onto education, but Milton Friedman on Education is thought-provoking.

A deeper look at what education “ought” to be:  A lot like it is now?: A Review Of Martha Nussbaum’s ‘Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education.’

Allan Bloom thought about some of this in The Closing Of The American Mind, at least with regard to what he saw as a true liberal arts education: Update And Repost: ‘A Few Thoughts On Allan Bloom–The Nietzsche / Strauss Connection’

Harvard is no place for Larry Summers, at least running the place: Repost-Revisting Larry Summers: What Did He Say Again?From The Harvard Educational Review-