Education in the US: Separate and Unequal

In a new study of 4,400 two and four year college and university systems by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW), "Separate and Unequal: How Higher Education Reinforces the Intergenerational Reproduction of White Racial Privilege,” it was found that the higher education system acts as a means of transferring White privilege from generation to generation. Further, the authors find that the percentage of White students at the 468 most well-funded and selective college and universities is increasing relative to the number of college age students of all races, while African American and Hispanic students are increasingly attending the 3,250 least well-funded, open-access two and four year colleges.

The top 468 colleges spend between two and five times more per student than open-access two and four year colleges leading to higher graduation rates giving their graduates a competitive advantage in the marketplace over equally qualified African American and Hispanic graduates of less well-funded institutions.

Anthony Carnevale, director of the center and coauthor, said, “The higher education system is color blind, in theory, but in fact operates, at least in part, as a systematic barrier to opportunity for many African-Americans and Hispanics, many of whom are college-qualified but tracked into overcrowded and underfunded colleges where they are less likely to develop fully or to graduate.”

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Sue Hodge

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