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Higher education, inequality, and the public good

Tannock, Stuart 2006. Higher education, inequality, and the public good. Dissent 53 (2) , pp. 45-51. 10.1353/dss.2006.0059

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Is it possible that our thinking on the question of college access and economic inequality is back to front? At a time when some young Americans are quite literally dying to go to college—the primary reason now cited by young recruits for enlisting in the U.S. military is their desire to obtain financial assistance for college—we need to take a serious second look at what is being said and done with higher education and young people in this country. Now that alternative historical avenues for social and economic advancement (for example, industry-wide unionization and expanding public sector employment) have been shut down or obstructed, going to college remains the only legitimate, large-scale means for getting ahead. Yet even as demand for college education swells across the nation, the sobering truth is that college, in its current form at least, can help only a few of us resolve our labor market difficulties. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, no more than 30 percent of jobs in the United States currently, and for the foreseeable future, will require a college degree.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
ISSN: 1946-0910
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2016 23:54

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