Monday, June 21, 2004

Post-Secondary Debt and Economic Mobility

There's no shortage of articles covering the rising costs of post-secondary education, but these two articles go a step further and discuss how the economic landscape has changed. Meanwhile, our expectations of the education system have mostly stayed the same.

The Ambition Tax: Why America's young are being crushed by debt -- and why no one seems to care.
"The myth of economic mobility has taken quite a drubbing lately, and rightly so. In September 2002, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Bhash Mazumder, concluded that 'the persistence in inequality is about 50 percent higher than previously thought' -- in other words, jumping from one class to the next is trickier than advertised. More recently, a pair of French economists, Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, found that between 1973 and 2000, the bottom 90 percent of American taxpayers saw their average real income fall by 7 percent."
Alternative Pathways to College
"Like de facto sorting machines left over from an earlier age, the design of these schools is still rooted in the idea of sending high-achieving students on to college while allowing others to step off the educational track to pursue a vocation or, for nongraduates, to fill unskilled labor slots. That is an untenable model for a 21st century society rooted in a knowledge-based economy, where highly skilled and educated workers are becoming the norm."

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