Wednesday, February 20, 2008

work hard and get ahead!

In today's NY Times article:
Higher Education Gap May Slow Economic Mobility
In spite of the bad news, they still try to maintain the myth of "if you work hard,
are virtuous, you can get ahead" (with the corollary being that if you don't get ahead you are lazy and/or not virtuous). Here's the spin:

"There is some good news. The study highlights the powerful role that college can have in helping people change their station in life. Someone born into a family in the lowest fifth of earners who graduates from college has a 19 percent chance of joining the highest fifth of earners in adulthood and a 62 percent chance of joining the middle class or better. In recent years, 11 percent of children from the poorest families have earned college degrees, compared with 53 percent of children from the top fifth."

mmm....does that mean of the 11 percent of the poor who do earn college degrees, 62 percent of those have a chance of getting out of poverty? So about 9 out 100 have a chance, because they have worked hard and are smart?

(the conservative authors say that poor people don't do well because of family dysfunction. Paul Krugman has another reason )

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