Career Calling

March 18, 2012

College and Meritocracy

As Americans, we live by a belief that anyone can succeed if they work study hard and work hard.  In her latest labor post in Daily Kos, Laura Clawson gives us some reason to rethink this old saw.  Students from the highest income groups are more likely to complete college.  Students from low and middle income groups who have similar academic backgrounds lag behind.

Can we have a meritocracy if some people are set up to achieve the academic foundation for career success?  Some will argue that it’s all individual achievement.  That’s a comforting rationalization for those who benefit from the current system.  College is the stepping stone to a good job and career opportunities.  If the wealthiest 25% have a leg up, we should not lie to ourselves about who has a chance to succeed in this game.  It’s fixed.  The winners are selected at birth – lucky sperm club.

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