Colleges fiercely defend America’s deeply stratified higher education system, arguing that the most exclusive schools reward the brightest kids who have worked hard to get there. But it doesn’t actually work this way. As the recent college-admissions bribery scandal demonstrates, social inequalities and colleges’ pursuit of wealth and prestige stack the deck in favor of the children of privilege.
A vigorous argument against the entrenchment of elite interests in the nation’s higher-education system ... A strong argument for educational reform at every level in order to make schooling truly equitable.
... [a] detailed yet disappointing polemic ... Though the authors’ indictment of the 'market forces' driving stratification is valid, and their discussions of historical developments (including the implementation of the S.A.T. as a screening tool) can be illuminating, their dismissal of the majority of American colleges as 'underfunded dropout factories' grates—and reveals their own elitism. The book’s reform proposals, including the worthy idea to extend guaranteed public education from 12 to 14 years, are more conjectures than actionable plans. This well-intentioned critique misses the mark.