“Sitting Republican senators have received $115,000 from Betsy DeVos herself, and more than $950,000 from the full DeVos clan since 1980. In the past two election cycles alone, her family has donated $8.3 million to Republican Party super PACs.”
This is a kind of neo-liberalism of the emotions, in which happiness is seen not as a response to our circumstances but as a result of our own individual mental effort, a reward for the deserving. The problem is not your sky-high rent or meager paycheck, your cheating spouse or unfair boss or teetering pile of dirty dishes. The problem is you.
It is, of course, easier and cheaper to blame the individual for thinking the wrong thoughts than it is to tackle the thorny causes of his unhappiness. So we give inner-city schoolchildren mindfulness classes rather than engage with education inequality, and instruct exhausted office workers in mindful breathing rather than giving them paid vacation or better health care benefits.
[ 28.08.16 • 10/100 DAYS OF PRODUCTIVITY ]
wuhu some geog notes on plate tectonics that I did last week in preparation for my time trial the second day after c:
but well the day was well spent I suppose, 28/8!!aka birthday so there was cake the night before and then it was just studying straight on haha ;-; I completed my essay assignment though, on the reduction of gender inequality through education wew all that in-text referencing really tires out your eyes :’) hope everyone had a gr8 day though!!!
To the liberal class, every big economic problem is really an education problem, a failure by the losers to learn the right skills and get the credentials everyone knows you’ll need in the society of the future. Take inequality. The real problem, many liberals believe, is that not enough poor people get a chance to go to college and join the professional-managerial elite. Driving this point home is the object of report after report from the Hamilton Project, a Democratic think tank that is named, tellingly, for the original advocate of an American ruling elite.
A lot of factors have contributed to American inequality: slavery, economic policy, technological change, the power of lobbying, globalization, and so on. In their wake, what’s left?
That’s the question at the heart of a new book, The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy, by Peter Temin, an economist from MIT. Temin argues that, following decades of growing inequality, America is now left with what is more or less a two-class system: One small, predominantly white upper class that wields a disproportionate share of money, power, and political influence and a much larger, minority-heavy (but still mostly white) lower class that is all too frequently subject to the first group’s whims.
Temin identifies two types of workers in what he calls “the dual economy.” The first are skilled, tech-savvy workers and managers with college degrees and high salaries who are concentrated heavily in fields such as finance, technology, and electronics—hence his labeling it the “FTE sector.” They make up about 20 percent of the roughly 320 million people who live in America. The other group is the low-skilled workers, which he simply calls the “low-wage sector….”
And how is one to move up from the lower group to the higher one? Education is key, Temin writes, but notes that this means plotting, starting in early childhood, a successful path to, and through, college. That’s a 16-year (or longer) plan that, as Temin compellingly observes, can be easily upended. For minorities especially, this means contending with the racially fraught trends Temin identifies earlier in his book, such as mass incarceration and institutional disinvestment in students, for example. Many cities, which house a disproportionate portion of the black (and increasingly, Latino) population, lack adequate funding for schools. And decrepit infrastructure and lackluster public transit can make it difficult for residents to get out of their communities to places with better educational or work opportunities. Temin argues that these impediments exist by design.
Despite the bleak portrait that he paints, he doesn’t believe that the U.S. necessarily has to be like this. He offers five proposals that he says might help the country return to more equal footing.
When I was growing up, my mother would sometimes threaten my brother and me with elocution lessons. It is no secret that how you talk matters a lot in a class-saturated society like the United Kingdom. Peterborough, our increasingly diverse hometown, was prosperous enough, but not upscale. Six in 10 of the city’s residents voted for Brexit — a useful inverse poshness indicator. (In Thursday’s general election, Peterborough returned a Labour MP for the first time since 2001.)
Our mother, from a rural working-class background herself, wanted us to be able to rise up the class ladder, unencumbered by the wrong accent. The elocution lessons never materialized, but we did have to attend ballroom dancing lessons on Saturday mornings. She didn’t want us to put a foot wrong there, either.
As it turned out, my brother and I did just fine, in no small part because of the stable, loving, middle-class home in which we were raised. Any lingering working-class traces in my own accent were wiped away by three disinfectant years at Oxford. My wife claims they resurface when I drink, but she doesn’t know what she’s talking about — she’s American.
I always found the class consciousness of Britain depressing. It is one of the reasons we brought our British-born sons to America. Here, class is quaint, something to observe in wonder through imported TV shows like “Downton Abbey” or “The Crown.”
So imagine my horror at discovering that the United States is more calcified by class than Britain, especially toward the top. The big difference is that most of the people on the highest rung in America are in denial about their privilege. The American myth of meritocracy allows them to attribute their position to their brilliance and diligence, rather than to luck or a rigged system. At least posh people in England have the decency to feel guilty.
In Britain, it is politically impossible to be prime minister and send your children to the equivalent of a private high school. Even Old Etonian David Cameron couldn’t do it. In the United States, the most liberal politician can pay for a lavish education in the private sector. Some of my most progressive friends send their children to $30,000-a-year high schools. The surprise is not that they do it. It is that they do it without so much as a murmur of moral disquiet.
Beneath a veneer of classlessness, the American class reproduction machine operates with ruthless efficiency. In particular, the upper middle class is solidifying. This favored fifth at the top of the income distribution, with an average annual household income of $200,000, has been separating from the 80 percent below. Collectively, this top fifth has seen a $4 trillion-plus increase in pretax income since 1979, compared to just over $3 trillion for everyone else. Some of those gains went to the top 1 percent. But most went to the 19 percent just beneath them.
The rhetoric of “We are the 99 percent” has in fact been dangerously self-serving, allowing people with healthy six-figure incomes to convince themselves that they are somehow in the same economic boat as ordinary Americans, and that it is just the so-called super rich who are to blame for inequality.
Politicians and policy wonks worry about the persistence of poverty across generations, but affluence is inherited more strongly. Most disturbing, we now know how firmly class positions are being transmitted across generations. Most of the children born into households in the top 20 percent will stay there or drop only as far as the next quintile. As Gary Solon, one of the leading scholars of social mobility, put it recently, “Rather than a poverty trap, there seems instead to be more stickiness at the other end: a ‘wealth trap,’ if you will.”
There’s a kind of class double-think going on here. On the one hand, upper-middle-class Americans believe they are operating in a meritocracy (a belief that allows them to feel entitled to their winnings); on the other hand, they constantly engage in antimeritocratic behavior in order to give their own children a leg up. To the extent that there is any ethical deliberation, it usually results in a justification along the lines of “Well, maybe it’s wrong, but everyone’s doing it.”
For-profit colleges have faced federal and state investigations in recent years for their aggressive recruiting tactics — accusations that come as no surprise to author Tressie McMillan Cottom.
Cottom worked as an enrollment officer at two different for-profit colleges, but quit because she felt uncomfortable selling students an education they couldn’t afford. Her new book, Lower Ed, argues that for-profit colleges exploit racial, gender and economic inequality.
Cottom tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross that for-profit institutions tend to focus their recruiting on students who qualify for the maximum amount of student aid. “That happens to be the poorest among us,” she says. “And because of how our society is set up, the poorest among us tend to be women and people of color.”
Though for-profit colleges hold out the promise of a better future, Cottom notes that the credentials they offer tend to be 30 to 40 percent more expensive than the same credentials from a nonprofit public institution. What’s more, she says, students at for-profit institutions often drop out before completing their degree, which means many students are left mired in debt and with credits that are not easily transferable.
“The system that we’ve come to rely on to increase access to higher education to the most vulnerable among us really only compounds their poverty and their risk factors,” Cottom says. “That’s the exact opposite of what higher education is supposed to do.”
I have the honour to organise an afternoon all about gender at my school. It’s gonna be about questions like; What is gender? How does the way you identify affect your life? Why is knowledge and education about gender so important? Is there inequality between genders, is this fair and how can we solve said inequality?
I, myself, find this to be a really interesting and important subject, but I need your help. I do not have as much experience with gender-identification as some of you have, and I want to paint the whole picture. I don’t want this to become a one-sided story, I want to tell the stories of different people, I want to show the diverse viewpoints on this matter. This can’t become a day of cis-people discussing gender, without telling the stories of people that have had the struggle of gender-identification and acceptance. I believe that this has to become a day of acceptance, where people can learn about the world around them and where the whole story is told.
That’s why I want to ask you to send me stories, viewpoints and ideas for subjects we can talk about that day (but only if you’re comfortable sharing that information.) and to share this post so that stories from people from all over the spectrum can be told. I hope that at least a few people are willing to help me. I strongly believe that we will be capable of making this Gender Day a success. And I hope that we will be able to help people better understand gender.
There’s a sort of gentrification that happens in rural areas where rich people who want to retire somewhere pretty in the countryside and people who work for huge tech companies who are either rich enough to not care about commuting two hours to work every day or work from home a lot move there. They drive up property prices and suddenly farmers are tearing up orchards to build suburbs and educational inequality skyrockets because you have migrant agricultural workers living in one area and microsoft golden parachute motherfuckers in another area
okay but can we talk about sonny? this kid seems to have grown up with just usnavi and abuela (I say this because there is no mention of a family in new york). they are his only family. he has such strong beliefs about education and social inequality and hes always struggling to be taken seriously cause he’s still a Kid. but when the blackout comes HE feels he has to forsake his own safety to protect the store, this kid with a baseball bat, all alone besides his friend who just armed with some fucking fireworks. and then, the next day, he finds out he failed and usnavi is acting weird and everything is ruined and that first dollar usnavi’s dad earned is ripped and all his efforts weren’t good enough.
he doesn’t get told about abuela’s win until Carnavale del barrio just like everybody else, even though he’s FAMILY and the rest of his family are going to leave him behind the next fucking day they were going to abandon him!!! no heads up, no “you can come too” just leave him behind. and when he finds out they were gonna split the money with him he’s so touched and surprised like he fully expected his only family to up and leave him without so much as a dime but they included him. They care. and I don’t think sonny was confident in that before. but they really care. and he’s so touched
and then abuela dies. and everyone goes to usnavi to give their condolences and sonny is HURTING because abuela claudia was his abuela too. and he runs crying from the stage and i just can’t. because he just lost his abuela and his cousin is still gonna leave him. all alone.
he doesnt hide the fact that he wants usnavi to stay. he wants his cousin around.
And sonny, smart caring kind sonny, he figures out the perfect way to honour his abuela, to show everyone that no matter what happens to this block, they will remember her. and he goes to his best friend. he goes to graffiti pete and SONNY commissions the mural. one of the most powerful parts of the musical, and Sonny de la Vega makes it happen. because he loved abuela claudia. and with usnavi leaving, he had to be the one to honour her.
and jesu7s christ i love sonny so much and he needs more appreciation.
The anguished and often angry national debate over how to improve American educational standards, focused intently on grading students and teachers, mostly bypasses how the inequity of resources—starting at the youngest—inevitably affects the outcome.
Eduardo Porter, “In Public Education, Edge Still Goes to the Rich”
We know that the USA is becoming more inequitable in socioeconomic terms, but the graph above by a team of inequality researchers — Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman — sums up the trends succinctly.
The graph shows the change in annual income between 1980 and 2014 for every point on the income distribution, ranging from the lowest to the highest. In 1980, the lower incomes grew the most in percentage terms, while in 2014 only the rich receive significant raises.
The red line on the chart, which represents 2014, resembles a classic hockey-stick graph. It’s mostly flat and close to zero, before spiking upward at the end. That spike shows that income growth is soaring for the super-rich, while stagnating for others.
A reasonable observer would conclude that inequality is out of control, but the President and leaders in Congress promote policies on health care, education, and tax reform that would serve to increase the disparities even more.