CGCL III: ``Wealth'' and Elite Education

Faculty: Professor Michael F. Brown and David Kane '88

Winter Study 2007

Professor Robert Jackall suggests that Williams is, or should be, a ``cross-generational community of learning.'' The purpose of the CGCL (our abbreviation of Jackall's phrase) seminar is to realize this vision in a small but real setting. We will read and discuss various articles on wealth and higher education. In this context, we understand ``wealth'' to include not just money, but all aspects of a student's background and upbringing which have a bearing on her access to, and success in, elite education.

The main text for the class is College Access: Opportunity or Privilege? by Michael S. McPherson and Morton Owen Schapiro. (All articles used for the class are available on-line and linked to below. Special thanks to Mike McPherson for providing electronic versions of some of the chapters. For other chapters, we have used working paper versions.)

Class will begin in the morning and then meet asynchronously thereafter as participants comment on the material and take issue with the comments of others. For each article, a ``discussant'' will be responsible for posting a short commentary to start the conversation. Discussants who are already authors on EphBlog should start a new thread for each article. Discussants who are not authors should e-mail their commentary to me for posting or post it on their own blogs and provide me with a link. After the discussant has posted, everyone else is invited to chime in with either comments on the underlying material or on the discussion so far. Civility should be maintained. Rude comments will be deleted.

Those curious about the style of conversation we encourage should look at our seminars from 2005 and 2006.

Thursday, January 4
``Introduction'' to College Access: Opportunity or Privilege? by Michael S. McPherson and Morton Owen Schapiro. Discussant: David Kane '88.

Monday, January 8
Interview with Nicholas Lemann, author of The Big Test: The Secret History of the American Meritocracy. Discussant: TangoMan.

Wednesday, January 10
``Race, Income and College in 25 Years: The Continuing Legacy of Segregation and Discrimination'' by Alan B. Krueger, Jesse Rothstein and Sarah Turner. Discussant: Ronit Bhattacharyya '07.

Friday, January 12
``Watch What We Do (and Not What We Say): How Student Aid Awards Vary with Financial Need and Academic Merit,'' by Michael S. McPherson and Morton Owen Schapiro. Discussant: Whitney Wilson '90.

Monday, January 15
``U.S. Tax Policy, Research Grants and Higher Education: The Undebated Billions,'' by Wick Sloane '76 and Jonathan Leirer. Discussant: Lowell Jacobson '03.

Wednesday, January 17
``Access to the Most Selective Private Colleges by High-Ability, Low-Income Students: Are They Out There?,'' by Gordon C. Winston and Catharine B. Hill. Discussant: Glenn Yong '11.

Friday, January 19
``No Merit in These Scholarships,'' by Fay Vincent '60. Discussant: Chris Warren.

Monday, January 22
``Social Comparison of Abilities at an Elite College: Feeling Outclassed with 1350 SATs,'' by Matthew B. Kugler and George R. Goethals. Discussant: Professor Michael F. Brown.

Wednesday, January 24
``Conclusion'' to College Access: Opportunity or Privilege?, by Michael S. McPherson and Morton Owen Schapiro. Discussant: Wick Sloane '76.

David Kane 2007-01-03