March 16, 2013

"Better Colleges Failing to Lure Poorer Strivers"

The Hoxby-Avery study I wrote about a couple of times in January is now being written up in the New York Times:
Better Colleges Failing to Lure Poorer Strivers 
By DAVID LEONHARDT

Most low-income students who have top test scores and grades do not even apply to the nation’s best colleges, according to a new analysis of every high school student who took the SAT in a recent year.

The pattern contributes to widening economic inequality and low levels of mobility in this country, economists say, because college graduates earn so much more on average than nongraduates do. Low-income students who excel in high school often do not graduate from the less selective colleges they attend.

With exceptions such as Caltech, Reed, and many engineering programs, elite colleges tend to coddle their students to make sure they graduate, while less selective colleges have a more sink or swim approach. It's the opposite of what most people assume.
Only 34 percent of high-achieving high school seniors in the bottom fourth of income distribution attended any one of the country’s 238 most selective colleges, according to the analysis, conducted by Caroline M. Hoxby of Stanford and Christopher Avery of Harvard, two longtime education researchers. 
Among top students in the highest income quartile, that figure was 78 percent.
The findings underscore that elite public and private colleges, despite a stated desire to recruit an economically diverse group of students, have largely failed to do so. 
Many top low-income students instead attend community colleges or four-year institutions closer to their homes, the study found. The students often are unaware of the amount of financial aid available or simply do not consider a top college because they have never met someone who attended one, according to the study’s authors, other experts and high school guidance counselors. 
“A lot of low-income and middle-income students have the inclination to stay local, at known colleges, which is understandable when you think about it,” said George Moran, a guidance counselor at Central Magnet High School in Bridgeport, Conn. “They didn’t have any other examples, any models — who’s ever heard of Bowdoin College?”

There's a lot to be said for staying fairly local in that one reason for going to college is to develop a social network that you can stay in touch with after college. Bowdoin in Maine is a long way from where most people will wind up. On the other hand, it tends to be nicer to have a social network of the kind of people who can get into Bowdoin than into the local JC.
Whatever the reasons, the choice frequently has major consequences. The colleges that most low-income students attend have fewer resources and lower graduation rates than selective colleges, and many students who attend a local college do not graduate. Those who do graduate can miss out on the career opportunities that top colleges offer.

The big problem is that Wall Street sucks up such a large fraction of the nation's income, and Wall Street firms don't bother recruiting widely. Before 1982, when Wall Street wasn't so ungodly rich, it didn't matter much that investment banks didn't recruit widely. Now, it does. Yet, while I'm all in favor of shaming Goldman Sachs into spending the money to recruit at, say, the U. of Oklahoma (which has a very large number of National Merit Scholars), the bigger question is how much money Wall Street makes.
The new study is beginning to receive attention among scholars and college officials because it is more comprehensive than other research on college choices. The study suggests that the problems, and the opportunities, for low-income students are larger than previously thought. 
“It’s pretty close to unimpeachable — they’re drawing on a national sample,” said Tom Parker, the dean of admissions at Amherst College, which has aggressively recruited poor and middle-class students in recent years. That so many high-achieving, lower-income students exist “is a very important realization,” Mr. Parker said, and he suggested that colleges should become more creative in persuading them to apply. 
Top low-income students in the nation’s 15 largest metropolitan areas do often apply to selective colleges, according to the study, which was based on test scores, self-reported data, and census and other data for the high school class of 2008.

I think they are guesstimating parents' income based on certain approximations.
But such students from smaller metropolitan areas — like Bridgeport; Memphis; Sacramento; Toledo, Ohio; and Tulsa, Okla. — and rural areas typically do not. 

I.e., Red State America.
These students, Ms. Hoxby said, “lack exposure to people who say there is a difference among colleges.” 

The older I get, the more I become a contra-contrarian. Yeah, sure, I could gin up an argument about why, when you stop and think about it, it's better to go to Southeastern Louisiana U. than to Tulane; but, truthfully, the general pattern is that nice things tend to be nicer than not so nice things, and that the nice things that rich and powerful people choose for their own families tend to be nicer than the things that not rich and powerful people get stuck with.
Elite colleges may soon face more pressure to recruit poor and middle-class students, if the Supreme Court restricts race-based affirmative action. A ruling in the case, involving the University of Texas, is expected sometime before late June. 
Colleges currently give little or no advantage in the admissions process to low-income students, compared with more affluent students of the same race, other research has found. A broad ruling against the University of Texas affirmative action program could cause colleges to take into account various socioeconomic measures, including income, neighborhood and family composition. Such a step would require an increase in these colleges’ financial aid spending but would help them enroll significant numbers of minority students. 
Among high-achieving, low-income students, 6 percent were black, 8 percent Latino, 15 percent Asian-American and 69 percent white, the study found.

In other words, Asians tend to be self-propelled and NAMs are heavily recruited, which leaves whites.

Back in January, a reader looked at high achievers in the bottom quartile of income and determined how many apply to colleges like the smart kids they are or like the poor kids they are:
For every group, there are more low-income high-performing kids who are acting like poor kids than like smart kids - but as you can see, there's enormous variance by race.
- For every low-income, high-performing Asian kid who applies to college like a smart kid, there are 1.5 who apply like poor kids.   
- For every low-income, high-performing Hispanic kid who applies to college like a smart kid, there are 3.2 who apply like poor kids.   
- For every low-income, high-performing black kid who applies to college like a smart kid, there are 3.7 who apply like poor kids.  
- For every low-income, high-performing white kid who applies to college like a smart kid, there are 11.7 who apply like poor kids.  

So, the biggest undertapped resource of smart poor kids in this country are whites. The picture I have in my head is: rural, small town, or exurban, male, and family trouble. Some of this is the fault of elite institutions, some of this is the fault of white people, who need to up their game to compete with the tiger cubs and the affirmative action beneficiaries.

78 comments:

Anonymous said...

Gee, Steve if you are a good student you don't have to go to the elite schools, in fact the regular Cal-State system might be better than the UC System since you have a regular teacher instead of a teaching asst.

Luke Lea said...

Hard to up your game if you didn't know there was a game being played. The internet should help in the years ahead.

Anonymous said...

some of this is the fault of white people

ALL of this (and every other problem in the world) is the fault of white people! Don't you read your own blog?

Seriously, though, redneck whites (sorry, "red-state" whites) must pay for the real or imagined sins of their forefathers and better off blue-blood (er, blue-state) cousins as long as possible for social justice to prevail.

I'd be shocked if the Roberts court strikes down AA. Most likely Scalia will write a dissent that makes the MSM start a campaign to make him retire.

deconstructingleftism said...

Would a culturally conservative, working-class white boy from Waco want to go to Harvard? He would be treated like a space alien at best, a Nazi at worst. If he got a Wall Street job he would spend the rest of his life in that environment. UTA and A&M have much hotter girls and much better parties, and unless he wants to be a Wall Street zombie or an elite lawyer the education is better.

The wealthy and merely affluent live far better in Texas than in the northeast. The constant status anxiety and pursuit of money among the northeastern elite comes from the fact that life there sucks unless you are very rich.

Anonymous said...

"The big problem is that Wall Street sucks up such a large fraction of the nation's income, and Wall Street firms don't bother recruiting widely. Before 1982, when Wall Street wasn't so ungodly rich, it didn't matter much that investment banks didn't recruit widely. Now, it does. Yet, while I'm all in favor of shaming Goldman Sachs into spending the money to recruit at, say, the U. of Oklahoma (which has a very large number of National Merit Scholars), the bigger question is how much money Wall Street makes."

Exactly. If an NBA or NFL general manager only wanted to draft players from his alma mater he'd quickly be fired because professional sports are such a competitive enterprise. The answer is to stop letting Wall Street firms be such takers leeching off the taxpayers through bailouts, too big to fail or prosecute status, and below market loans from the Fed. If they're not willing to rise or fall in the free market without the nanny state then put strings on their compensation and conduct and let their executives be paid like public employees. In a more competitive environment where they couldn't count on a "Greenspan put" they couldn't afford to overlook talent educated in a different social milieu.

rightsaidfred said...

So, the biggest undertapped resource of smart kids in this country are whites.

It's always been this way, and I used to not worry about it because business and other institutions in society were pretty good about sniffing out talent. However, lately hiring and promotion has become much more fashion driven, and I'm aghast at all the non-profits, gov't agencies, schools, etc. which with I'm familiar that are happy to slot in various politically correct personnel of dicey ability.

I'm not expecting GDP numbers to show any great gains.

Ex Submarine Officer said...

All this "what school didja go to" is simply the rising of a useless mandarin class in this country.

You can figure out how to game that and be in a rat race for the rest of your life, begging scraps from your betters.

Or you can figure out how to do something actually useful and valuable (as opposed to say, "networking", the province of drones") and make some dough.

I sit in my pjs in my kitchen and make, net, well into 6 figures inbetween posting on this blog.

Anyone w/half a brain should recuse themselves from this SAT/school phony beauty show and get on with bidness.

FWIW, I scored > 1400 SAT prenorming and that was after quitting HS in 10th grade (I didn't like institutional BS then).

countenance said...

Yet, while I'm all in favor of shaming Goldman Sachs into spending the money to recruit at, say, the U. of Oklahoma (which has a very large number of National Merit Scholars), the bigger question is how much money Wall Street makes.

The even bigger question (actually, not a question, more like a known scandal) is that we're printing ("quantitatively easing") our physical money supply like crazy almost purely for the benefit of stock indexes, mainly because so many important people are invested in stocks. The even bigger scandal than that is that even though we've inflated our physical money supply from $848 billion in August 2008 to $2846 billion in February 2013, that the DJIA only gets back to and slightly above the 14k par set in October 2007.

Guy with random names fuck you isteve said...

Offtopic but a goldmine of genes + their racial differences. The guy should have his own blog:

http://www.reddit.com/r/HBD/comments/19i1ed/racial_differences_in_personality

Anonymous said...

poor smart whites have a carve-out already for them: the military.
Many isteve readers forget that a 4 year hitch as a drone pilot gets you a 100k+ position afterwards, ie a 22/23 year old 100k position.
This is also true for some commo branches, mil-intel and specifically the Navy Nuke program and Army WO Helicopter program.
If you are a smart guy, what's the *funnest* route to 100k in 4 years? Studying calculus at all hours of the night or blowing sh*t up and being lionized for doing so?

If you look at the racial make-up of the "Blue Collar Yale" MOS/rates, you see EXACTLY where all the high-performing poor whites go. And bless them for their choice. I'd MUCH rather have them on a boomer than in Bowdoin.

James C. Thompson said...

I was a big underachiever from Long Island, NY, class of 82. I went to a JC for a year, then went to Binghamton University (SUNY), a super overachievers school. I felt later on that I was better off going to one of the smaller state schools. I would have fit in better, socially and academically.

Anonymous said...

The big problem is that Wall Street sucks up such a large fraction of the nation's income, and Wall Street firms don't bother recruiting widely. Before 1982, when Wall Street wasn't so ungodly rich, it didn't matter much that investment banks didn't recruit widely. Now, it does. Yet, while I'm all in favor of shaming Goldman Sachs into spending the money to recruit at, say, the U. of Oklahoma (which has a very large number of National Merit Scholars), the bigger question is how much money Wall Street makes.

The problem seems to be that the economy is increasingly centralized such that there is increasing pressure to go to elite colleges in order to have good jobs in the centralized economy. If there were more viable, healthy local economies and communities instead of having everything run by a few metropolises, there'd be less pressure to go to the prestigious colleges. Local colleges would be sufficient.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I'm not so sure that elite instituions vacuuming up more talent would necessarily be a good thing. Objectively they've done a pretty awful job for the last 30 or 40 years. In everything but the real sciences they ingest intelligent kids and spit out lamers with a 'tude and sense of entitlement four or five years later. Increasingly they're selecting for risk-adverse box-checkers and brown-nosers.

The state schools might not do a better job of educating the average talented kid, but at least it's cheaper for the parents and the sense of entitlement on the other end is less pronounced.

Anonymous said...

http://bigthink.com/e-pur-si-muove/why-i-am-not-an-atheist

Whackiest thing I ever read.

Anonymous said...

I sit in my pjs in my kitchen and make, net, well into 6 figures inbetween posting on this blog.

Ok, I'll bite. What do you do to make a living?

Anonymous said...

I sit in my pjs in my kitchen and make, net, well into 6 figures inbetween posting on this blog.

What do you do? SEO?

Anonymous said...

Using 200+ "highly selective" colleges for this study was a mistake.

There are maybe 20 colleges that are worth their high tuition, and I'm doubtful that Bowdoin is one of them.

I know too many graduates of extremely expensive "highly selective" colleges who are woefully underemployed a decade or more out of college.

There is probably little advantage to attending 200 of those 238 schools instead of much cheaper comprehensive state universities.

Bill said...

Poor white boys with math/engineering talent can do alright whether they go to the ivies or not, so long as they can complete studies. However, having a crappy family is a handicap even if they are intelligent. If the kid is in an intact family, even if he's poor, he's got a good shot.

However, my smart acquaintances who grew up with poorly-behaved single moms all ended up working class -- to a man. The relatively successful ones (something like half of them) are invariably owners of contracting businesses who worked their way up the old-fashioned way. Some of them are very intelligent guys, and sadly these guys have had the worst outcomes. Their fathers were usually bright, middle-class men who just married the wrong woman when young, which was very common in the 70s.

It's pretty tragic, but the only solution would be to drastically curtail sexual privileges that have been established for decades, and I don't see that happening any time soon.

Anonymous said...

Gee, Steve if you are a good student you don't have to go to the elite schools, in fact the regular Cal-State system might be better than the UC System since you have a regular teacher instead of a teaching asst.

If you are talking about getting an education, you don't even have to go to college. You could learn more from Youtube in one week than you could in any college. This isn't the 19th century where one had to attend classes near large libraries to get an education. Today, all of the knowledge you want is at your fingertips.

In the modern world, colleges are nothing more than a place to get credentials and to network or to get recruited from. How many IBankers do you know that went to Cal State anywhere? None? It's because they don't recruit from there.

guest007 said...

What would be better for a middle class/blue collar kid with really good SAT scores: attending a school like Emory/Tulane while majoring in international studies/sociology or attending Louisiana-Lafayette and majoring in petroleum engineering. For any smart/poor white kid who has the ability to plan ahead, the petroleum engineering degree is a better route if for no other reason that he will never have to directly compete with the Ivy Leaguers.

Anonymous said...

Bowdoin reference reminded me of the episode with Tony Soprano sitting in their admissions dept. hallway, staring up at the Nathaniel Hawthorne quotation in the pediment. The real subtext of these pageview-mining elite admissions stories is to investigate the prestigious schools' de facto function as social-status laundries rather than rigorous ecoles, as Malcolm Gladwell pointed out in The New Yorker years ago (Steve also references how the elitest elites pulling out all the stops to get their yield and graduated-within-5-years #'s up past 98%).

And to 1st Anon, the CSU system is really not some haven of efficient educational bargains that you seem to suggest. Take any story of a UC dealing with some students who can't seem to read English at all and then scale it a thousand-fold for the populations sluiced into the regional second-tier unis. The point of going to college in America is not to have high-quality staff training you--almost all of them can afford that--it's to fuzzily associate oneself with high-quality STUDENTS who are believed to represent the output of said institution. This is how Cal Poly San Luis Obispo somehow attained "Public Ivy" status, whatever that means.

Anonymous said...

I hope the Ivies start recruiting in Red State American and everyone tells them to fuck off.

Anonymous said...

I've often thought that, just as poor whites go to local schools to be with their friends, so Jews and Asians apply to selective colleges because they know that folks like them will apply there and so there will be more of their own kind there.
Robert Hume

Anonymous said...

However, having a crappy family is a handicap even if they are intelligent. If the kid is in an intact family, even if he's poor, he's got a good shot.

I agree with the first part. But even intact families from the working class or lower rungs of the middle class will not always know about the importance of college. My parents and nearly all the parents of my friends said, "It doesn't matter where you go or what you major in! Just go to college and you'll get a good job!"

That's the advice passed down in most of the families this article is about. My sister had a 1380 SAT; 4.4 GPA (due to AP classes); handful of extra-curriculars. Could have gotten into UCLA, UC Irvine, maybe Stanford on a less competitive year. But no. My parents said: "Doesn't matter where you go or what you study." She went to the tiny religious school down the freeway.

Rohan Swee said...

I'm having a hard time believing any of the people wringing their hands over this study actually want to do what they claim they want to do: just reach and recruit smart poor kids who aren't aware of their options.

Really? That "biggest undertapped resource" of smart, poor, rural, small town or exurban male kids? They want them? Pshaw. From the article: "Elite colleges may soon face more pressure to recruit poor and middle-class students, if the Supreme Court restricts race-based affirmative action." In other words, they're now looking for ways they can continue race-based affirmative action while calling it something else. Seriously, how hard would it be to recruit smart white fly-over boys if that was the real goal? But it's not the goal, so their under-representation at elite schools will continue to be one of those intractable sociological puzzling puzzlers.

Anonymous said...

The problem with your article is it assumes that going to college is the right decision.

College educations in the US are too expensive, don't lead to well paying careers, don't lead to government pensions and are now financed by going into debt.

Derb's Mossberg said...

I think these people are coming from lower-middle to middle class families with little exposure to the bigger world. The parents did their bit at the local college to get their bachelor's degree to be a teacher at the local HS, nurse, or local businessman, or maybe even only got a HS degree and got a decent enough job as a waitress, or a skilled laborer to pay the bills.

In short, they had little exposure to the wider world, and the internet is a recent phenomenon, so they couldn't really give great guidance to their kid who happened to be 1 or 2 SD higher IQ kid. They may not really know just how much of a leg up in life it gives you to have Ivy League credentials on your resume, because they never tried to go out beyond their local little world to strive for a professional career in a major city.

The parents know that they can't afford the tuition at the more elite Universities directly, but don't know about the opportunities they might be able to find to help them afford to go (better schools often have more scholarships, etc). They correctly assume that many forms of assistance will be preferentially given to blacks, which has the effect of driving whites away when they might have still been able to get some kind of scholarship if they really dug around.

One obscenitity is that increasingly, resources for guiding kids along the right paths and giving them a helping hand are being given to NAMs preferentially. There are vast programs to help them every step of the way including even through grad school that simply are not open to whites who have done better academically and hold more promise for the US than the NAMs in those programs.

Peter Lynch complained about watering the weeds and pulling the flowers or something to that effect, as an insane approach to managing one's stocks that was going on that guaranteed a poor performance in return, but there seems to be the same sort of insanity going on when it comes to the educational system of the US.

When we shower the rewards and effort on the people who have the lowest potential and lowest achievement and deprive higher achievers, how can we possibly expect the country to excel in the world?

JSM said...

"Their fathers were usually bright, middle-class men who just married the wrong woman when young, which was very common in the 70s.

It's pretty tragic, but the only solution would be to drastically curtail sexual privileges that have been established for decades, and I don't see that happening any time soon"

How come the bright, middle class fathers didn't come give the boys a boost at age 18, help him get squared away after the boy was grown and the single mom no longer had power?

Ex Submarine Officer said...

Ok, I'll bite. What do you do to make a living?

Design & write software.

desert lady said...

the income stats for college grads are fake, false, bogus and or massaged to a fare thee well.

Also, self selection bias.

Anonymous said...

deconstructingleftism:"Would a culturally conservative, working-class white boy from Waco want to go to Harvard? He would be treated like a space alien at best, a Nazi at worst. If he got a Wall Street job he would spend the rest of his life in that environment. UTA and A&M have much hotter girls and much better parties, and unless he wants to be a Wall Street zombie or an elite lawyer the education is better."

Can't comment on A&M, but UTA is notoriously liberal; it's the one place in Texas that SWPL types rave about.So, I'm not sure that a hypothetical conservative White boy from Waco would find it all that pleasant.

Anonymous said...

I was a Cal State physics undergrad, and managed to get into a top 10 grad program (as a white male) by graduating Summa, high GRE scores, and research experience/letter of recommendation from a prestigious university.

It is certainly possible to take the tier 4 --> tier 1 route, but I had more luck than most of my Cal State peers did. A lot of genuine talent is overlooked.

peterike said...

Well of course high-achieving low-income white kids don't apply to elite schools: they can't afford them.

And perhaps they are smart enough to know the schools won't take them anyway, especially if they are rural.

If I'm an elite U and I have a choice between two equally qualified white kids, one poor and one wealthy, why in hell would I take the poor one? So I have to offer him financial aid? So his parent(s) rips up the fund raising letters we send instead of writing a check? So a bunch of yahoos that don't know how to dress show up on parents visiting day and embarrass everyone? So some kid who might be an evangelical Christian brings his hate-hate-hate to my precious LGBT friendly school?

Elite universities have no incentive whatsoever to take low-income whites. It gets them zero status bump (the reverse in fact), does nothing for their "diversity" numbers, and saddles them with a kid that professors and staff will roll their eyes at in disdain. If you are giving a party do you invite people that you feel a deep, visceral disgust towards?

Elite U's will never agree to take low-income whites in any number unless forced too, and since our laws are written by elites from these schools, that's not happening.

PS - If you are a high-achieving, low-income white, your application better be stuffed to the gills with blatantly Leftist tells. "And that summer I organized a letter writing campaign to prisoners, and on spring break went to Nicaragua to help build schools, and I was co-chair of my high schools LGBT alliance..."

Anonymous said...

If poor but smart white teens from Podunk are going to State U. instead of Harvard, it must be because they want to. We live in a high information society - everyone knows about Harvard and the networking opportunities that it brings. But poor whites must feel that they have good and sufficient reasons for not attending (or even applying) - they may get the feeling that they would not feel at home there and they are probably right.

K

anony-mouse said...

Smart poor Whites may never have heard of Bowdoin, but they sure have heard of Harvard, and most of the non-liberal arts elite schools. If they are smart and don't apply then they don't want to.

Anonymous said...

Do we really want all the smartest white kids going to the Ivy League? True, their incomes might be higher, but who will be the effective patriotic leaders of tomorrow? Who will staff Navy Seal Team 6? Who will develop and preserve Euro-centric culture i.e. learn, play, and teach Beethoven sonatas on the piano long after it doesn't matter to their Ivy League college application: nearly all the (mainly Asian) accomplished pianists and violinists I knew at my high power alma mater stopped practicing between freshman and sophomore year. Not only that, the brightest graduates of Oklahoma U know bucket loads more than the average Harvard grad, whose head is stuffed with PC drivel. Also, Steve's comment about nicer things being nicer doesn't factor in how much nicer it is to live in Manhattan, KS than in New Haven, CT.

Anonymous said...

http://bigthink.com/e-pur-si-muove/common-misconceptions-about-intelligence-v-education-increases-intelligence

Anonymous said...

"poor smart whites have a carve-out already for them: the military."

Indeed, if poor smart whites start going to, I don't know, Oberlin, who's going to run our submarine nuclear reactors?

guest007 said...

Poor kids need to seek careers in normally distributed career fields such as healthcare or engineering rather than attending Ivy League universities to seek jobs in log-normal carrer fields such as college professors, investment bankers, or in entertainment.

If a poor kids get a job as an engineer, pharmacist, nurse anesthetist, or accountant, then maybe their kids can plan on attending an Ivy League-Ivy like university.

Anonymous said...

http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2013/03/16/the-k-12-implosion-review/

a Newsreader said...

With exceptions such as Caltech, Reed, and many engineering programs, elite colleges tend to coddle their students to make sure they graduate, while less selective colleges have a more sink or swim approach. It's the opposite of what most people assume.

When Harvard's hockey team plays at Cornell, the students will chant in sing-song "Grade Inflation, Grade Inflation", and the traditional call and answer:

Call: "Give me and A"
All: "A!"
Call: "Give me and A"
All: "A!"
Call: "Give me and A"
All: "A!"
Call: "Welcome to Harvard!"
All:

Ex Submarine Officer said...

Smart poor Whites may never have heard of Bowdoin, but they sure have heard of Harvard

They may have heard of Harvard, but Harvard seems not to have heard of them.

Anonymous said...

My close friend's daughter went to Ivy and did very well academically. Still transferred back to home flagship State U after 1.5 years. Said could never fit socially. A very smart kid, she later got into top 14 law school and is now a big time lawyer in Boston. Probably a waste of talent still...

Anonymous said...

another recent article pointed out that colleges forgot diversity of class due to the overwhelmingly focus on diversity of race, and gender.

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_NwGKx_0j8

A nation in which so many people can confuse Creationism for science can also confuse 'gay marriage' for real marriage.

Anonymous said...

KKKold War is still on.

Anonymous said...

I think one of the worst things about large numbers of Chinese, Indian, Korean, and similar immigrants is the attitude that society is completely organized as a pyramid, with institutions such as universities reflecting this pyramid. (Jews and many other non-traditional immigrants might also have this same problem.) It's the old "if you don't get into the big imperial university in the big central city, you'll be a peasant the rest of your life." My impression from talking to some managers from these ethnicities in silicon valley is that it wouldn't even occur to them to not hire from the "best" school possible, regardless of the attributes of the candidate. Of course that's what any good manager does, that's just how it is done! (Of course, this often seems to conveniently fit into their de-facto ethnic pipelining and they seem befudled when I point out that the people who built silicon valley didn't have CS degrees from these schools and that the CS degree became widespread fairly late.)

I don't think until after WWII US universities (and perhaps US society) really worked this way. Things were more uniform (perhaps by necessity, roads and travel were more difficult, communication was more expensive). A pyramid might have been more efficient, in theory, at extracting the top few percent of the best-and-brightest (perhaps just to serve the government or religion), but uniform access, pretty deep into the population, across the board, with a population able to take advantage of it, produced a much higher average application of intelligence throughout society. In total there was no comparison.

Now it seems like we're getting dangerously close to "You're nobody unless you get into University of Tokyo". Of course, after you get in, you tend to relax and coast. (I am sure U.Tokyo had this problem.) It's a problem when schools reflect the elite pyramid, rather than providing some sort of dynamic uniformity. It seems the same thing tends to happen in French schools, with students from the top elite schools often getting shocked at how poorly they do when they have to compete at grad-school level with grad students from mediocre Italian schools (which I understand are free but competitive, you have to "win" every semester or year to stay in). There was a time when US professional societies, such as the IEEE, tut-tuted about how bad the "elite pyramid" was for a profession and how lucky the US was not to be saddled with such a problem. Sometimes progress goes backward, I guess.

Politically Correct said...

Demand affirmative action for Gentiles. Gentiles are 98% of America, and should be 98% of elite student bodies and media.

Martin B said...

"Anonymous said...

Do we really want all the smartest white kids going to the Ivy League? True, their incomes might be higher, but who will be the effective patriotic leaders of tomorrow? Who will staff Navy Seal Team 6?"

I agree with your essential point. It would be harmful to the nation - the real nation, whatever is left of it - for more middle-american whites to be corrupted by the Ivies and inducted into the permanent hostile elite.

I take issue however with your characterization of what would constitute an American patriot in the whatever-becomes-of-America of tomorrow. We don't need more super-commandos, kicking in doors and killing brown people in their homes, half a world away in Bumfuckistan. We need tradesman, business owners, policemen, and politicians at the local and state level, who will stick up for their own culture and their own people.

The Seals - brave and patriotic men all, no doubt - are ultimately just imperial goons, acting in the service of that hostile elite, in a cause that is harmful to the country they think they serve.

E. Rekshun said...

@Bill +1!

In my working-to-middle class, 95% White Boston suburb, most of my high school classmates were busy working all through high school, and planned to continue doing that after high school, whether they worked in a trade or went to the local community college. We worked to afford our cars and other wants. Not working was never considered. The jobs kind of pre-empted any thoughts of going away to an upper-tier school.

I did the same and attended the local CC, switching from a criminal justice major to computer science for my AS. Then transferred to a well-respected, nearby private college, for the BSCS. In the mid-80s, MA government defense contractors and route 128 high tech companies were recruiting grads like me at $30K to start. And, of course, that was big $ to me and my peers.

I think my status as a RWG and non-elite torpedoed my chances for an elite MBA despite a 720 GMAT. That fact, plus the Great Recession a couple of layoffs, and a few missed opportunities have held my wages completely flat since 1999.

On the other hand, my brother from the same household and background, just one year younger than me, went off to medical school and practiced as a GP for ten years. At age 35, out of no where got hired by a large health insurance company and now makes $500K per year in his late 40s.

E. Rekshun said...

@anon: "...poor smart whites have a carve-out already for them: the military." Yep.

Other options for my peers turned out to be the military and the local police & fire departments. My best friend from childhood did 22 years in the Navy, rose to Master Chief Petty Officer, retired at 42 w/ a military pension, then got hired as a civilian with the Coast Guard and now makes $90K.

A few other good friends have done 25 years in local police & fire departments and are now enjoying $50K+ government pensions in their late 40s.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous Ex Submarine Officer said...

Design & write software.


As a freelancer/consultant I guess? I cannot imagine any manager rewarding a corporate programming drone with 1000k unless you program trading algorithms for Wall Street companies.

- from Germany

Anonymous said...

Steve is overlooking something about rural or low income white kids, spirit. Would a black, hispanic or Asian ever turn down the opportunity to be king and tyrant? Well, the first guy ever to do that was a white guy. They are just cut from a different piece of cloth.

Anonymous said...

"
"The big problem is that Wall Street sucks up such a large fraction of the nation's income,"


This.

Texas needs its own stock exchange with its own rating agencies that have higher standards than those in New York. The best companies would want to be the Texas exchange for its better transparency and honesty with investors and less graft for the insiders. New York City needs some competition.

eh said...

re 1st poster:

In early '80's, I had a good high school friend who attended SF State rather than Cal because he couldn't afford to live away from home. With a CS degree, he became an early Apple employee, and went on to run a division at one of the other Valley giants. I wonder if that same path is still available.

Mitchell Powell said...

Imagine that the poor striver is one of nine children, raised on under $30K per year, total household income. And it wasn't all that bad, because American poverty is what they call "wealth" in a lot of the world -- or even in the US a hundred years ago.

So this striver, who has exceedingly good test scores, knows that if he just has a few kids and makes, say, $50-60K, he'll be able to live what is by his standards an extremely comfortable lifestyle.

Why bother with Harvard?

Anonymous said...

Every poor, smart, rural, etc., white male kid should apply to Harvard, Yale, etc., to leave the record of all of the qualified poor white guys they have rejected.

Never self censor.


Given the low number of seats at Harvard, they could probably fill every place in their freshman class with a qualified white male from rural/small town/red county America.

Anonymous said...

"nicer things being nicer doesn't factor in how much nicer it is to live in Manhattan, KS"


Would you please shut up before we have some east coast do-gooder princess come up with a fed gov funded project to relocate NAM's to nice little places in our areas like the thugs in Chicago are doing to small towns in Illinois?

Anonymous said...

How do you know that a white boy from Texas is working class. It seems many whites now in Texas are upper middle class. Some working class but probably the majority are Hispanic. Texas seems to be like San Diego and Orange County whites do the white collar and maybe some better paying blue collar jobs like oil and Latins do the working class. Also, I remember a letter showing that white cities in Texas have over 45 percent of the residents have a 4 year degree. Stop our sterotyping Texas is not Ak.

alonzo portfolio said...

This post actually implicates one of the ironies, or perhaps one of the fraudulences, of liberal doctrine. Now that we're unashamedly in the era of government coercion, one would think that one of the bureaucratic projects would be pruning back the overcredentialization of everything, and requiring that, say, mid-level insurance defense firm hire graduates from Iowa State or Chapman. As I related here years ago, in 1996 a partner at a SF asbestos-litigation firm told me they hired only from Harvard, Columbia and Stanford law schools, which seemed ludicrous given the nature of the work ("sir, can you remember how many brake jobs you would have performed each week in 1976?")

Anonymous said...

Strictly speaking, Wall Street is more of a club than a business. All graft, no product.

FWG said...

Derb's Mossberg's post describes my situation to a tee. My dad was able to start his own business with a high school education and my mom is a nurse. They aren't really up on the Ivy League thing and thus I was never exposed to a lot of the information I find on this blog and others. Not to reflect badly on them because they are great parents, I'm just saying many kids aren't exposed to these things.

Whiskey said...

Steve -- MOOCs, the Massive Online Open Courses, are going to hammer Cal State and Southeastern Louisiana, perhaps even LSU and Tulane.

The FT has been all over this story, both Pearson (their parent company) and News Corp have invested heavily in commercial forms. Places like Stanford, MIT, etc. can offer distance degrees in say, accounting, that offer the same vetting as their in-person students, at much lower costs, and for modest fees have say, maybe an extra 1-2 billion in revenue every year, from global students.

Hmmm ... a degree online from Stanford, in accounting, at half the cost of say, Cal State, in perhaps a year's less time?

And come one, come all, no AA admits because its cheap and easy.

That won't work for everything, lab courses, etc. But it will for a lot. And that means no student debt overhang, too, for kids who work part-time, attend online, and get their degree quickly.

Which means Cal State Latino Studies and the like get cut, because their is no subsidy from student loan fueled tuition and fees to cover them.

Anonymous said...

I say assemble a massive 'undocumented student' community at Harvard with tents and all, just like Occupy Wall Street.

Anonymous said...

Anon from Germany As a freelancer/consultant I guess? I cannot imagine any manager rewarding a corporate programming drone with 1000k unless you program trading algorithms for Wall Street companies.

He did say six figures, so that would be 100K, not 1000K.

Anonymous said...

The modern US system of higher-education, ever increasing faster in cost than just about everything else and with huge endowments, is becoming our version of the medieval "Dead Hand" problem. The Dead Hand of the Church (or Monasteries) referred to the inevitability of the institution slowly and legally gathering ever-more wealth to itself. Over the years as people died and willed lands and wealth to it, etc., the wealth owned by the Dead Hand (the hand that never died) accumulated. Of course, with wealth goes power.

We don't have much organized religion anymore, but we sure have a Dead Hand problem. (Well, actually those commencement robes are old church robes, so maybe we still have organized religion without any of the religion, which probably just gets in the way of The Organization.) It's not clear these organization are really about education or learning, so computer education might have surprisingly little impact. They are also well positioned to play that game. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

"The term "mortmain" - literally the "dead hand" - indicated that a person who had died years earlier still dictated land use to the next generations by leaving it to the Church, which never died, and hence never had to relinquish land."

John said...

I actually don't think attempting to recruit whites will change anything. I think smart whites today actually are not interested in putting in the level of mindless drudgery needed to compete for a slot in the top colleges

In other words, this situation is by design, not oversight. Smart whites today simply are not ambitious or motivated. Trying to recruit them won't help.

ATBOTL said...

"Gee, Steve if you are a good student you don't have to go to the elite schools, in fact the regular Cal-State system might be better than the UC System since you have a regular teacher instead of a teaching asst."

You're completely missing the point. In America today, one cannot rise to the top in politics, media, law or finance without having graduated from an elite college. The fact that so few poor whites are in these elite schools means that the future elite will have zero representation from poor, working class, rural and culturally conservative whites. It means the future elite will have very heavy representation of Jews, Asians and SWPL types. That's bad for American and bad for white people, even SWPLs.

"Would a culturally conservative, working-class white boy from Waco want to go to Harvard? He would be treated like a space alien at best, a Nazi at worst. If he got a Wall Street job he would spend the rest of his life in that environment. UTA and A&M have much hotter girls and much better parties...

...The wealthy and merely affluent live far better in Texas than in the northeast..."

Nonsense. It's not only about what's in the individuals interests, which you're wrong about anyway, it's about the GROUP. The whole problem with white people is that they all pursue self interest without regard for larger consequences. The big picture matters. The long term matters. Parties, watching football games and being polite are not the most important things. They don't matter at all. Power matters and when your group loses power, it will eventually lose everything.

"poor smart whites have a carve-out already for them: the military.

...If you are a smart guy, what's the *funnest* route to 100k in 4 years? Studying calculus at all hours of the night or blowing sh*t up and being lionized for doing so?

....And bless them for their choice. I'd MUCH rather have them on a boomer than in Bowdoin."

More foolishness. The people on the boomers take orders from the people at Bowdoin. It maters who the master is.


All these comments illustrate a tendency that conservative whites have to play "sour grapes" in reverse and claim that the scraps their people can find on the floor are better than sitting at the head of the table. This kind of thinking leads to acquiescence and complacency.

Our people have a disturbing lack of aptitude for playing politics and defending their interests in a multi-cultural society. There is a dodo bird-like blindness to threats and an ostrich-like tendency to retreat into minor side issues, cynicism or hyper individualism. It's scary to read these clueless comments on a blog that is largely dedicated to exposing European Americans to more canny ways of looking at the world than they are used to. A large portion of Steve's writing is about how terribly important networking is and how some groups use it to great advantage. Yet many posters here are pooh-poohing the concept or saying they would rather take their toys and go home.

The correct response to this situation is to rectify the problem. Aware European Americans need to take back full control of all important institutions in our country or we're done. It's up to us to figure out how to accomplish this and then do it. Some other groups have a way of thinking big and then executing, even if it takes centuries. They keep working, stay focused on the long term goal and don't get discouraged by setbacks. We need to be more like that.

JHB said...

As I've posted here before, my Caucasian daughter, valedictorian of a good rural private school with a 2380 SAT and excellent supporting credentials, was waitlisted, not accepted, by Bowdoin. She might've had the highest SAT in the school had she simply been accepted, but we had a six-figure income/personal wealth combination low enough that she would've received about $10,000 a year in financial aid. Waitlisting her gave them the chance to accept her, if she persisted, without the offer of full financial aid to any accepted student.

Let's not kid ourselves. Ivies and near-Ivies aren't recruiting on the basis of academics. The smart white kids not applying to Harvard--or to Bowdoin--know that the financial aid dollars are for other applicants, and that applying is a waste of time and money.

Education Realist said...

"The smart white kids not applying to Harvard--or to Bowdoin--know that the financial aid dollars are for other applicants, and that applying is a waste of time and money."

Hey,I just said as much: http://educationrealist.wordpress.com/2013/03/18/why-most-of-the-low-income-strivers-are-white/

Although I don't even think it's about financial aid, but whether or not the school thinks you or your parents will be good for more money later.

Anonymous said...

"The correct response to this situation is to rectify the problem. Aware European Americans need to take back full control of all important institutions in our country or we're done."

It might be easier to do this than we think. (One reason so many are terrified of even having it brought to mind.) Think about the current ultra-PC environment as similar to Prohibition.

Much about how we got into the silly world of today resembles how Prohibition came about. A good bit of the same nice white lady (sometimes of both sexes) willing to tell-us-all-how-to-act enforced-into-law stuff (but really callow and foolish). Sort of the religious impulse gone bonkers, often mixed with opportunistic politics and abetted by people who acted as if they had a lot of hate in their heart for us, if they were to be truthful..

Perhaps we can study the politics of the repeal of Prohibition and apply it to repealing much of the legal structure and government funding behind AA, the higher-education PC/aggrievement industry, and probably things like the EEOC that enforce brain-dead AA corporate behavior. In the end Prohibition seems to have gone out with a whimper, I've never heard much about how it was repealed. In a future in which the US is no longer the "colossus astride the world" perhaps institutional White-animus in government and other public institutions can be reversed.

Probably a long road to there and back, but there it is.

"No more good must be attempted than the people can bear."

Anonymous said...

In a lot of Red States, conservative white kids end up in non-elite universities. For example, in Texas, the UT schools draw in lots of Asians, Indians, and SWPL whites. Meanwhile, lots of conservative white kids to Texas A&M........ It's the same pattern throughout the South. A lot of white conservatives (rich and poor) choose non-prestigious schools like Ole Miss or Auburn.

When the whole Duke Lacrosse situation errupted, I was surprised by how many of the lacrosse players came from up in the northeast.

Outside of the northeast, Chicago, and maybe California, the concept of going to an elite university is foreign to whites. In contrast, Jews, Asians, and Indians are definitely all pushing their kids to get in.

rob said...

If an institution wants to reduce the racial ability gaps they can find better non-Whites. Lots of places tried that. There just aren't enough smartish ones to go around.

Another, rarely mentioned, way to reduce the gap is to take less-able whites. I'm sure I'm not the first one to think of that. Someone who thought that might be on an admissions committee somewhere.

Svigor said...

It would be harder to put the whole rotting edifice to fire and sword if it was more meritocratic.

Other options for my peers turned out to be the military and the local police & fire departments. My best friend from childhood did 22 years in the Navy, rose to Master Chief Petty Officer, retired at 42 w/ a military pension, then got hired as a civilian with the Coast Guard and now makes $90K.

A few other good friends have done 25 years in local police & fire departments and are now enjoying $50K+ government pensions in their late 40s.


Great, let's all work for the gov't and let the taxpayers figure out the bill.

Our people have a disturbing lack of aptitude for playing politics and defending their interests in a multi-cultural society.

Nothing a population bottleneck won't fix. "Now all restaurants are Taco Bell, and all whites are racist."

Anonymous said...

I'm originally from a small town in [red state] and I went to one of these "elite" schools. I was astonished at how few working-class white people there were at my school. VERY few. In my four years
there, I met probably twenty or thirty. (Each class year at this school was ~1,000 students.)
And, of course, despite receiving a piss-poor high school education, I only had a fraction of the tutoring opportunities available to me that "minority" (the undergraduate population was less than half white) students did. I suspect working-class whites aren't recruited because there's simply no space for them in a racial quota system where there are so many other affluent whites who need their spots.

Actually, there's no reason to spare them the bad press: I went to MIT and have graduated within the past 5 years.

I got an awesome education from an unapologetically racist institution.

commonwealth contrarian said...

Rural kids (who tend to be white) tend to be academically disadavantaged in a number of ways. Here's a few:

1. they lack access to large city libraries, museums, archives, tutors etc.

2. they are often more tired at school and after school because they spend so more time getting to and from school, due to long commutes

3. in small rural schools they often have under-qualified teachers who have to teach multiple subjects.

- the internet is helping reduce this disadvantage, but even in this regard, rural people tend to have poorer internet connections, or have to use expensive, inferior wireless internet services.

-the only real occupational advantage that rurual kids have is more opportunites to learn various practical skills like driving heavy machinery and working with animals.

Anonymous said...

I think these people are coming from lower-middle to middle class families with little exposure to the bigger world.

Not so much "the bigger world", but the "upper class world". It makes a difference. Accents, speech patterns, clothes, cars, hairstyles - it all makes a difference. Even hackneyed stuff like secret handshakes and code words. The handshakes don't even have to be from secret societies, merely class-specific ones. There is a way that the upper class and upper-middle class do things, and it's not taught in schools, or on the Internet. Trying too hard to copy it marks you as a striver, and that is not always a good thing. It is often better to wear jeans than a cheap suit.

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