Search This Blog

Monday, October 7, 2013

Inequality, Education, California, and America

A number of posts have discussed inequality, as well as its relationship to educationInside Higher Ed reports:
When the College Board released a report on higher education’s payoff in 2010, some critics questioned whether the organization was overstating the benefits that accrue to individuals and society from going to college. Since that time, those critics have become part of a much larger chorus, with pundits and politicians alike asking whether too many people are going to college. So, for the latest installment of its report, “Education Pays,” the College Board issued a second report specifically to explain its analysis.

As a supplement to the 2013 Education Pays report -- which finds that the median earnings of bachelor's-degree recipients during a 40-year full-time working life are 65 percent higher than those of high school graduates -- the College Board addresses the “conflicting statements and views” in public discussions of higher education.
At The Daily Beast, Joel Kotkin writes of the Golden-for-Some State:
As late as the 80s, California was democratic in a fundamental sense, a place for outsiders and, increasingly, immigrants—roughly 60 percent of the population was considered middle class. Now, instead of a land of opportunity, California has become increasingly feudal. According to recent census estimates, the state suffers some of the highest levels of inequality in the country. By some estimates, the state’s level of inequality compares with that of such global models as the Dominican Republic, Gambia, and the Republic of the Congo.

At the same time, the Golden State now suffers the highest level of poverty in the country—23.5 percent compared to 16 percent nationally—worse than long-term hard luck cases like Mississippi. It is also now home to roughly one-third of the nation’s welfare recipients, almost three times its proportion of the nation’s population.

Like medieval serfs, increasing numbers of Californians are downwardly mobile, and doing worse than their parents: native born Latinos actually have shorter lifespans than their parents, according to one recent report. Nor are things expected to get better any time soon. According to a recent Hoover Institution survey, most Californians expect their incomes to stagnate in the coming six months, a sense widely shared among the young, whites, Latinos, females, and the less educated.

Some of these trends can be found nationwide, but they have become pronounced and are metastasizing more quickly in the Golden State. As late as the 80s, the state was about as egalitarian as the rest of the country. Now, for the first time in decades, the middle class is a minority, according to the Public Policy Institute of California.