The Glass-Floor Problem

Richard V. Reeves, New York Times, September 2013

WHEN it comes to the economic malaise facing America, the biggest problem is not the widening gap between rich and poor, but the stagnation of social mobility. When the income gap of one generation becomes an opportunity gap for the next, inequality hardens into social stratification.

Obama Administration Backs Use Of Race In College Admissions

Michael Muskal, L.A. Times, September 2013

The use of affirmative action has divided Americans since the 1970s. In college admissions, supporters have used such policies to give opportunities to qualified minority students to help them overcome the effects of long-term discrimination. Opponents have contended that affirmative action is really reverse discrimination. In the wake of a recent Supreme Court ruling that narrowed but did not do away with affirmative action in college admissions, the Obama administration has reaffirmed its commitment to using race as a factor in college admissions to help increase campus diversity.

Language gap between rich and poor children begins in infancy, Stanford psychologists find

Bjorn Carey, Stanford Report, September 2013

Research by Stanford psychologists reveals that two-year-old children of lower-income families may already be six months behind in language development. Future work aims to devise intervention methods.

We Should Be United In Driving Reform In Higher Education

Bob Kerrey, Huffington Post, September 2013

In the current debates raging about the cost of a college degree, several unspoken but important points of agreement among parents, professors and politicians have been overshadowed and overpowered by our disagreements.

Coring The Big Apple

James Surowiecki, The New Yorker, September 2013

Whereas the percentage of New Yorkers in poverty is still roughly what it was in 1980, the percentage of New Yorkers who are part of the middle class has fallen dramatically in the past few decades. Middle-wage jobs have become harder to find: they dried up during the recession and (unlike high- and low-wage jobs) didn’t come back during the recovery. As a result, the city’s income distribution increasingly looks like an hourglass.

"I Don't Want My Children To Go To College"

Stacia Brown, The Atlantic, September 2013

There is some question as to the value of a traditional college education when so much information is available online. But for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, learning in person, alongside peers, remains essential.

Would Making Higher Education Free Avert A Meltdown?

Julia Lawrence, Education News, September 2013

What will it take to fix higher education in the United States? Would making it free do the job? Would that even be possible? According to Vijay Govindarajan and Jatin Desai of the Harvard Business Review, advances in technology are bringing the dream of free higher education ever closer to reality – good news if there ever was some for families and future students facing tuition bills that are 400% higher than they were in 1980.

Introducing The Atlantic's Education Channel

Eleanor Barkhorn, The Atlantic, September 2013

The Atlantic is launching an Education channel. We'll be tracking the rise of MOOCs, the fate of education reform, advances in early-childhood education, and the strategies other countries use to educate their young people. But we'll also be paying attention to the issues every generation faces: the power of schools to both inspire and frustrate students, the questions parents ask as they make choices about their children's academic futures, the barriers many people continue to face in the pursuit of a high-quality education.

The Great Stagnation Of American Education

Robert Gordon, New York Times, September 2013

For most of American history, parents could expect that their children would, on average, be much better educated than they were. But that is no longer true. This development has serious consequences for the economy.

College Costs Drive Record Number Of High School Kids To Start Early

Jon Marcus, Hechinger Report, September 2013

A record number of high school students are getting a head start on college credits while still in high school, cutting costs and speeding toward degrees and jobs as quickly as possible to avoid dragging out costly higher educations.

President's Proposal Renews Debate Over How To Measure College Quality

Jack Stripling, Chronicle of Higher Education, September 2013

The debate over President Obama's plan to rate colleges based on access, affordability, and outcomes is beginning to take shape, and lobbying groups and think tanks are already warning of unintended consequences: some analysts fear that a ratings system would punish colleges for accepting students from lower-income and other backgrounds who are less likely to complete degrees than their peers.

University Enrollment Declines After Years Of Steady Growth

Janet Lorin, Bloomberg News, September 2013

The number of U.S. university students declined by almost half a million last year, following years of growth, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The decrease was driven by students 25 and older, though he number of college students younger than 25 also declined. One group that didn’t follow the trend was Hispanics, whose numbers grew between 2011 and 2012.

In Budget Cuts, Lower-Income Students Suffer More Than Wealthy Ones

Suzy Khimm, MSNBC, September 2013

For America’s 98,800 public schools, it’s been a tale of two sequesters. In Virginia’s Loudoun County—the wealthiest county in the U.S.—the automatic budget cuts have “meant hardly anything,” but less than two hours south in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, it’s a different story.

When Class Became More Important to a Child's Education Than Race

Sarah Garland, The Atlantic, August 2013

In 1963, kids in the 10th percentile of income fell behind children in the upper echelon of wealth by about a year or so. Today, that gap is closer to four years.

Colleges with the best value? New rankings upend conventional wisdom

Amanda Paulson, Christian Science Monitor, August 2013

Rather than seeking to rate universities based on reputation or difficulty of admission, a new set of college rankings looks at how colleges and universities did based on what it considers three public goods: social mobility, commitment to research, and commitment to service.