COLLEGE & THE PRIVILEGED POOR

Find out how and why disadvantaged students are struggling at elite colleges, and what those schools can do differently to help those students thrive.

Aired on 12, 2019. 

TRANSCRIPT

> WHEN AN FBI INVESTIGATION HATED BARE AN ALLEGED SCHEME BY SOME HOLLYWOOD AIMLESS CELEBRITIES, BUSINESS EXECUTIVES AND OTHER WEALTHY INDIVIDUALS TO PAY HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS TO MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO GET THEIR CHILDREN INTO EHEAT COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES, MANY FELT OUTRAGE AND BETRAYAL.

NOW, HARVARD ASSISTANT PROFESSOR ANTHONY JACK IS SHEDDING EVEN MORE LIGHT ON THIS ADMISSIONS SCANDAL AND ITS LOP-SIDED PRACTICES.

THE PROFESSOR'S NEW BOOK IS THE PRIVILEGED CORE.

HOW ELITE COLLEGES ARE FAILING DISADVANTAGED STUDENTS.

HE JOINS ME NOW WITH INSIGHTS INTO THE ADMISSIONS PROCESS.

THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE.

THANK YOU.

FIRST, THE PRIVILEGED, THE TITLE OF THE BOOK GETS AT THE MISUNDERSTANDING THAT I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE WHEN IT COMES TO NOT ONLY LOW INCOME STUDENTS BUT IT TENDS TO BE SYNONYMOUS WITH STUDENTS OF CHORE, GETTING INTO ELITE UNIVERSITIES.

WAS THAT INTENTIONAL?

IT IS.

THE PRIVILEGED POOR IS MY MOTI MOTIVATION.

WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT LOW INCOME STUDENTS, YOU DON'T THINK ABOUT DEER FIELD, ANDOVER.

THESE ELITE SCHOOLS THAT COST OVER $50,000 A YEAR FOR HIGH SCHOOL.

THIS IS WHERE LOWER INCOME STUDENTS ARE GOING THANKS TO A BETTER CHANCE, THE WIGHT FOUNDATION, W-I-G-H-T.

YOU HAVE TO SAY IT.

THESE PROGRAMS PUT LOWER INCOME STUDENTS IN PRIVATE SCHOOLS.

AND THEY'RE AT AN ECONOMICAL DISADVANTAGE.

THEY COME FROM SINGLE PARENT HOUSE HOLDS, LIVES IN SUBSIDIZED HOUSING.

BUT THEY HAD ACCESS TO THE ELITE ENVIRONMENTS.

THEY STUDIED ABROAD IN HIGH SCHOOL.

THEY'VE BEEN TAUGHT BY Ph.D.s.

THEY'RE PRIVILEGES IN THE SENSE OF HOW MUCH ACCESS THEY HAVE TO CULTURAL CAPITAL.

THE WAYS OF BEING.

THE COLLEGE OF VALUE.

AND I WANTED TO PUT IT TOGETHER.

I WANT PEOPLE TO ASK THE QUESTION.

HOW CAN SOMEONE BE BOTH PRIVILEGED AND POOR?

I WANT PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND THAT'S PART OF THE FIRST GENERATION COLLEGE STUDENTS.

YOU TALK ABOUT THE ACADEMIC ASPECT OF IT.

WHAT DOES THE SOCIAL IMPACT HAVE?

HOW DOES THAT CHANGE THEM?

SOMETIMES COMING AS AN OUTSIDER.

IT CAN BE DAUNTING.

ABSOLUTELY.

IT IS IMPORTANT.

WHAT I'M SAYING IS WHAT WE HAVE ASSOCIATED WITH CULTURE SHOCK AND GOING TO COLLEGE, THOSE STUDENTS EXPERIENCED THAT IN THEIR FRESHMAN YEAR OF HIGH SCHOOL.

AND WHAT'S IMPORTANT ABOUT THAT IS, I ACTUALLY ARGUED THAT IT IS THE SOCIAL UNDERCURRENT OF ELITE INSTITUTION THAT'S ARE THE BIGGEST HURDLES.

THE EXAMPLE THAT I USE ALL THE TIME IS OFFICE HOURS.

IF YOU'VE NEVER BONE A COLLEGE CAMPUS, IF YOUR PARENT DID GO TO COLLEGE, YOU'VE PROBABLY NEVER HEARD THE TERM OFFICE HOURS BEFORE.

IT IS THROWN AROUND CAMPUS WITHOUT ANY EXPLANATION.

PROFESSORS SAY MY OFFICE HOURS ARE WEDNESDAY, 2:00 TO 4:00.

FULL STOP.

THEY DON'T SAY WHAT OFFICE HOURS ARE.

THEY DON'T GO THE EXTRA HOURS OF EXPLAINING HOW THIS VERY, VERY CLASS TERM IS REALLY THE GATEWAY TO LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION, INTERNSHIPS, INTRODUCTIONS TO DIFFERENT PEOPLE LIKE HEAD HUNTERS AND DIFFERENT RESUME HELP.

SO WE HAVE A LOT OF TAKEN FOR GRANTED ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT WHAT STUDENTS KNOW AND ARE COMFORTABLE WITH BECAUSE WE HAVE IT BASED UPON WEALTHY STUDENTS.

WE ARE SO USED TO EDUCATING THEM.

AND IT IS NOT JUST GETTING IN.

IT IS HAVING THE SUPPORT NETWORK.

IS THIS SOMETHING THAT YOU ARE SEEING WITH THESE STUDENTS YOU'RE LOOKING AT WITH YOUR BOOK?

SOMETHING THAT SHOULD BE EXPANDED MORE ON A NATIONAL STAGE?

OR IS IT A MATTER OF IMPROVING THE LEVEL OF PUBLIC EDUCATION THAT KIDS ARE GETTING, PERIOD, SO SOME OF THESE UNDERSTANDINGS JUST BECOME UBIQUITOUS ACROSS THE COUNTRY?

MORE THE LATTER.

PUTTING POOR STUDENTS INTO PRIVATE SCHOOLS, THAT'S ABDICATING RESPONSIBLE.

WHAT RESEARCH SHOWS TO ME, THE LARGER STORY, WHEN YOU GIVE LOWER INCOME STUDENTS THE RESOURCES OF THE TOP 1% PEERS, THEY DO JUST AS WELL.

THEY MAKE USE OF THE CAREER CENTER, STUDY ABROAD, MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES WHICH WE SHOULD ELEVATE INTO OUR CONVERSATION AND PUT THEM ON THE SAME PEDESTAL.

ARE YOU TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF SO YOU HAVE THE ENERGY.

I WANT US TO NOT JUST GRADUATE BUT WHOLE AND HEALTHY FOR THE NEXT ADVENTURE.

OF COURSE.

THIS IS REALLY A CAPTIVATING BOOK.

IT SOUNDS LINING IT IS FOCUSED AROUND A SIMPLE THING OF PEOPLE RISING TO THE OCCASION THAT YOU PRESENT THEM WITH.

ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I TALK ABOUT IS FOOD INSECURITY.

THE ONE THING WE THINK ABOUT WITH COLLEGE STUDENTS, OKAY, YOU'RE ALL OKAY.

YOU'RE GOOD WHEN YOU GET TO CAMPUS.

WHEN TWO OUT OF FIVE STUDENTS ACROSS THE NATION FACE FOOD INSECURITY, NOT KNOWING WHERE THEIR NEXT MEAL IS COMING FROM, WITH STUDENTS ACROSS DIFFERENT GROUPS.

IT IS NOT JUST LOWER INCOME STUDENTS WHO SUFFER.

ALSO STUDENTS WHO ARE IN THE FOSTER CARE SYSTEM, STUDENTS ARE ARE QUEER, WHO HAVE NOT GOT THEIR FAMILY WHEN THEY GO OFF TO SCHOOL.

EVEN THOUGH I STUDY LOWER INCOME STUDENTS, THE IMPACT IS FAR BEYOND.

THAT IT IS NOT JUST THE SHEER MAGNITUDE BUT THE NATURE OF IT ON SPECIFIC CAMPUSES.

ON THE CAMPUSES THAT I STUDY.

WE SEE FOOD INSECURITY HAPPENING AROUND BREAKS, SPRING BREAK, WINTER BREAK.

WE ASSUME ALL STUDENTS GO HOME FOR FUN IN THE SUN.

WHAT IF YOU DON'T HAVE A HOME TO GO HOME TO?

WHAT IF HOME AND HARM ARE SYNONYMOUS?

BEING FORCED TO GO HOME FOR SPRING BREAK.

MOST COLLEGES SHUT DOWN AND THOSE THAT ARE OPEN CHARGE STUDENTS A DAILY RATE TO EITHER STAY IN THEIR ROOM OR THE ROOM OF THEIR PEERS WHO ARE ON VACATION.

THINK ABOUT WHAT THAT DOES TO SOMEBODY.

THEY'RE WORRIED ABOUT WHERE THEIR NEXT MEAL IS COMING FROM AND THEIR UNIVERSITY IS CHARGING THEM A DAILY RATE TO STAY ON CAMPUS.

THESE ARE SOME OF THE PROBLEMS ON WHY PEOPLE CAN'T RISE TO THE OCCASION.

LISTEN, I WANT TO THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS BOOK.

FOR GIVING US A DIFFERENT WAY TO THINK ABOUT, ESPECIALLY HOW WE CONSIDERED NOT JUST EDUCATION BUT HIGHER EDUCATION.

HOW WE HIRE PEOPLE TRYING TO CLIMB UP THE LADDER.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

ABSOLUTELY.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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