The Sabotaging of the American Dream

May 26th, 2014
537280-harvard-building-evacuations.jpg
In spite of some interesting rhetoric and some self selecting experiments, like those done by Peter Thiel, along with the outlier careers of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, college is essential for success in today's workplace.

Pew’s recent statistics show that for those with only a high school diploma, the unemployment rate is over 12%. For those with a four year degree, it is 4%.  But how did we get to an environment that on the one hand makes college the central pillar of economic success, in a knowledge based economy, and yet because of costs, pushes it further and further out of the reach of middle and lower socioeconomic groups? 

Was this an accident of public policy, or a deliberate attempt to perpetuate the elite? Suzanne Mettler thinks both are true.  She details her work in  Degrees of Inequality: How the Politics of Higher Education Sabotaged the American Dream.

My conversation with Suzanne Mettler: