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Monday, March 18, 2019

The Elite College Premium

Many posts have discussed inequality in higher education

Christopher Ingraham at WP writes about the college admissions fraud scandal.
 relying on falsified test scores to get their children into highly selective colleges.
Federal data on post-collegiate earnings underscore why some people might be willing to risk a possible felony to get their children into the “right” schools: Graduates of the nation’s elite universities enjoy a significant wage premium relative to the typical college grad. This is particularly true at the top end of the income spectrum, where the richest graduates of the nation’s top-tier colleges can earn more than double what their peers at other schools typically make.
Graduates of the nation’s four-year colleges and universities can expect a median annual salary of about $44,000 by the 10th year after they first enrolled in college, according to a Washington Post analysis of data from the Department of Education. By comparison, that number jumps to $84,000 for the top 10 percent of college grads.

But if we look only at a select group of elite colleges — say, the eight schools reportedly targeted by the defendants in the Department of Justice’s Operation Varsity Blues investigation — those numbers change dramatically. The median graduate of those schools (which include Georgetown, Stanford, UCLA, the University of San Diego, the University of Southern California, the University of Texas at Austin, Wake Forest and Yale) can expect to earn about $73,000 a decade after they first enroll. And those who finish in the top 10 percent at those schools typically earn about $161,000 — nearly double the income of the top 10 percent of graduates of the rest of the nation’s colleges.
One important caveat is that the data are derived from students who received some form of federal financial aid during their undergraduate years. The roughly 15 percent of students who don’t need assistance aren’t included in the calculations. If those students were included, it would likely shift these distributions upward, although it’s unclear whether that would result in a larger or smaller earnings gap between graduates of top schools and everyone else.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Irish-American Heritage Month

From the Census:
The U.S. Congress proclaimed March as Irish-American Heritage Month in 1991, and the president issues a proclamation commemorating the occasion each year.
Originally a religious holiday to honor St. Patrick, who introduced Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century, St. Patrick’s Day has evolved into a celebration of all things Irish. The world’s first St. Patrick’s Day parade occurred on March 17, 1762, in New York City, featuring Irish soldiers serving in the English military. This parade became an annual event, with President Truman attending in 1948.
The following facts are made possible by the invaluable responses to the U.S. Census Bureau’s surveys. We appreciate the public’s cooperation as we continuously measure America’s people, places and economy.

Did You Know?

32.6 million or 10.1%
The number and percentage of U.S. residents who claimed Irish ancestry in 2017. Source:  2013-2017 American Community Survey
The number of foreign-born U.S. residents who reported Ireland as their birthplace in 2017.Source: 2013-2017 American Community Survey 
31.1% The county with among the highest percentage of people who claimed Irish ancestry in 2017 was Plymouth County, Mass.Source: 2013-2017 American Community Survey 
20,590The estimated number of U.S. residents who spoke Irish Gaelic.Source: 2009-2013 American Community Survey

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Jefferson, Adams, Citizenship, Friendship

Alexander Khan at National Review:
Citizenship in America is in a troubling state. In 2015, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni conducted a survey of college graduates which found that only 28.4 percent could name James Madison as the father of the Constitution. Thirty-nine percent did not know that Congress had the war power, and roughly 45 percent did not know the length of congressional terms. In 2017, the Annenberg Public Policy Center found that 37 percent of Americans could not name any of the rights in the First Amendment, and that only 26 percent could name all three branches of government. Gallup poll results from 2018 reveal that young Americans’ views of capitalism and socialism have switched since 2010, with only 45 percent of respondents now professing a positive view of the capitalist system. A November 2018 YouGov poll revealed that Americans’ patriotism and knowledge of civics was troublingly low. More recently, in January 2019, Gallup released survey results which showed that 30 percent of younger Americans, a record high, would like to permanently leave the U.S. Unfortunately, these results are not shocking. Each new poll extends the long line of depressing findings.
 While liberal education will never be a cure-all for the disgraceful state of civic life and historical knowledge in America, its renewal in a spirit of friendship is essential if we seek to tackle our citizenship deficit. Students educated in such an environment will not only deeply understand the ideas and principles of the Founders and of Americans throughout history, but they will also come to understand their own connection to those ideas. They will feel invested in the future of their country and in the principles that form its foundation. This educational environment will also affect the concern and interest students have in what government does, how it acts, and the way in which they see their rights and duties. Robust engagement in the classroom naturally translates to the open marketplace of ideas and the active world of citizenship. These students will serve as examples to their fellow citizens, expanding the education of the classroom to the entire country. In the fight to restore civic life and knowledge in America, the rebuilding of liberal education in the spirit of Jefferson and Adams’s friendship is an essential component.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Lethal Partisanship

Many posts have discussed partisan polarization and aversive or negative partisanship.

Thomas B. Edsall at NYT:
A recent survey asked Republicans and Democrats whether they agreed with the statement that members of the opposition party “are not just worse for politics — they are downright evil.”
The answers, published in January in a paper, “Lethal Mass Partisanship,” were startling, but maybe they shouldn’t have been.
Just over 42 percent of the people in each party view the opposition as “downright evil.” In real numbers, this suggests that 48.8 million voters out of the 136.7 million who cast ballots in 2016 believe that members of opposition party are in league with the devil.
The mass partisanship paper was written by Nathan P. Kalmoe and Lilliana Mason, political scientists at Louisiana State University and the University of Maryland
Kalmoe and Mason, taking the exploration of partisan animosity a step farther, found that nearly one out of five Republicans and Democrats agree with the statement that their political adversaries “lack the traits to be considered fully human — they behave like animals.”
Their line of questioning did not stop there.
How about: “Do you ever think: ‘we’d be better off as a country if large numbers of the opposing party in the public today just died’?”
Some 20 percent of Democrats (that translates to 12.6 million voters) and 16 percent of Republicans (or 7.9 million voters) do think on occasion that the country would be better off if large numbers of the opposition died.
We’re not finished: “What if the opposing party wins the 2020 presidential election. How much do you feel violence would be justified then?” 18.3 percent of Democrats and 13.8 percent of Republicans said violence would be justified on a scale ranging from “a little” to “a lot.”

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Newsom Reprieves People on Death Row

Many posts have discussed the death penalty.

Dan Morain at CALmatters:
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s decision to grant a “reprieve” to 737 death row inmates rather than commutations reducing their sentences to life in prison without parole is significant for at least two immediate reasons:
  • If he had issued a mass commutation, the California Supreme Court would have had the authority to review his decision to determine whether he had abused his authority. He has the power to issue reprieves.
  • If he commuted their sentences, Newsom would have been required to give at least a 10-day notice to district attorneys in the counties where the convictions occurred. Prosecutors in turn would have been obliged to try to contact surviving family members of victims.
That notice requirement stems from a 2011 law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, who went on to issue more commutations than any governor in history.
The legislation was a reaction to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s decision on his last day in office to shorten the sentence of former Speaker Fabian Nunez’s son, who had been serving a 16-year sentence for manslaughter in the slaying of a San Diego State University student in 2008. Nunez’s son, Esteban, since has been released.
  • At the time, Brown’s spokesman said: “Victims and their families should not be blindsided when a request is made for a sentence to be commuted. This bipartisan bill ensures ample notification and a more transparent process.”
Reprieves don’t carry the weight of a commutation. They’re generally temporary, issued when an execution in imminent.
  • Ward Campbell is a retired deputy attorney general who prosecuted death penalty cases and also defended governors’ use of clemency powers: “A reprieve is a delay. It doesn’t necessarily stop any cases. The convictions are intact. A new governor could lift the reprieve.”

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Inequality in College Admissions, Continued

Rainesford Stauffer at NYT:
Anyone can see the kinds of things outlined in the indictment — bribes paid by wealthy parents in exchange for their children’s admission to top universities, and accompanying schemes to secure athletics scholarships for teens who didn’t even play high school sports — are unacceptable. But what about the standardized test prep industry, worth around $840 million, which involves parents forking over up to $200 an hour for Ivy League tutors tasked with increasing their children’s scores. That doesn’t include application essay writers, who coach students on what to write about, edit their writing and, in some cases, write for them. It doesn’t include college coaching firms, which charge up to $40,000 to strategize an applicant’s entire process.
Donations made to schools by the parents of legacy students can essentially buy acceptance letters. Meanwhile, there are some students who don’t have a parent to skim their essay for typos or can’t afford to pay to enroll in a prep course or to repeatedly take a standardized test until their score rises.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Inequality in Higher Education: The Illegal Side Door

Many posts have discussed inequality in higher educationFirst generation students often suspect that the process is rigged.

It is.

Scott Jaschik at Inside Higher Ed:
Federal authorities in Boston on Tuesday announced the indictments of dozens of people on charges related to an alleged scheme to get people into elite colleges and universities through purported, but not necessarily real, athletic talent.
The indictments include charges of conspiracies related to racketeering, wire fraud and more.
The charges involve coaches, parents and some who administered exams. Two prominent actresses -- Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin -- are among those charged.
The institutions involved include Georgetown, Stanford, Wake Forest and Yale Universities and the University of Southern California.
In one document released today, one of the cooperating witnesses described the scheme -- and how it contrasted with trying to get one's child into an elite college through a donation: