Federal prosecutors charged dozens of wealthy parents with bribing school officials to guarantee entry for their children into some of America’s most elite colleges and universities. As infuriating as these headlines may be, they are simply.
Admissions in our institutions is, in effect, a regressive tax on low-income pupils. It filters the poor through a maze of factors, and favors the rich — from heritage status to standardized tests — that inequities that are magnify endemic within our K-12 schools. And it is putting a chokehold on economic freedom in an era where graduates of elite institutions earn over 30 percent more than people who attend less selective colleges.
Only three percent of incoming freshmen in the most selective institutions now come from families in the lowest income quartile, while 72 percent are from households in the wealthiest quartile. About one-quarter of the country’s richest pupils attend an elite college, while just one-half of 1 percent of the poorest American families attend an elite institution. What’s worse, even the lowest-performing children of high-income parents graduate at higher rates than the talented students who come from low-income households.
A growing number of institutions are researching ways to make their admissions more accessible. The University of Chicago launched a test-optional admissions procedure. It is, arguably, the maximum profile to do so, while far from the first institution to research admissions. The shift has sparked hope that institutions will soon follow suit.
And with good reason. A 2018 study of applicants to schools with test-optional admissions found substantial increases in first-generation, low-income and minority students. The study also found t take the SAT or ACT before applying to school graduated in the same or higher rates than those who do.
Our results, albeit reflect a — pattern that is similar — and perhaps hopeful. Over half of our students come from families earning less than $60,000 annually. Forty percent are underrepresented students of color. People who didn’t make the cut MIT or Stanford currently sit in classes alongside peers who passed Penn and NYU. Colleges may not have been willing to take the risk, but our pupils have proven their potential in ways that have led to jobs at Google and Tesla. Their salaries, on average graduates of the nation’s most elite institutions. And they’re establishing that an admissions procedure that favors the elite is not required by results.
However, to make good we must go even further. Admissions at all colleges should be about the identification of possible, more so than the foreclosure of chance. The process should reflect that inequitable experiences form results — and inequitable results can mask potential.
Schools should evaluate students & rsquo; work ethic and ability Instead of measure a student & rsquo; s value through backward-looking proxies and socioeconomic status. Students who rsquo haven &;t yet developed evidence of these traits in the time of their application should be given chances to earn their entry through coursework or. Support should be provided by colleges — including office hours and feedback with instructors — to those students as they work to prove themselves.
It’s time for universities and colleges to stop paying lip service while slamming their doors in the faces of pupils that are low-income. So that it can better serve not a locked gate institutions must rethink and redesign the admissions process.
Ashu Desai is the creator of Make School, a computer science school in San Francisco.
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