We see the problem of restricted access today in the new elite class, which passes on its privileges in the same way that the old elite from twentieth-century America passed on its privileges. But there is an even more worrisome aspect of the new elite. The old elite felt that it had inherited its privileges; in order to defend the social oligarchy over which it reigned, the old elite felt the need to give back through public service or a financial commitment to the greater good. The old elite recognized that it had been privileged by the accident of birth, so the message to those who were out of luck was that you were unfortunate but it was through no defect of your own.
The new elite, on the other hand, feels that it has earned its privileges based on intrinsic, individual merit. The message, therefore, to those who are not part of this elite is “You are stupid. You simply don’t matter. I deserve all the advantages I’m granted.” This attitude manifests in the jobs that college grads now take. For example, the student-run Harvard Crimson ran an article in 2007 about that year’s graduating class smirking that “only” 43 percent of female graduates entered finance and consulting compared to 58 percent of male graduates. The article, entitled “ ’07 Men Make More,” explained—with apparent disdain—that women choose jobs in lower-paying fields such as education and public service.
Despite the economic downturn of recent years, the striking number of Harvard graduates entering finance and consulting has persisted. The class of 2013 senior survey showed that more than 30 percent of the 2013 class had jobs in those fields. After consulting and finance, the technology/engineering industry captured 13 percent of Harvard graduates that year. The Crimson again emphasized—with what seems to me to be the appearance of similar disdain—the preference of women to pursue less-lucrative work in education, media, and health care rather than in finance, consulting, and technology.
The top career choices of many male Harvard students—whether it is 2007 or 2013—are severely lacking in any element of service. This is the damage that we are doing through our testocracy. We are credentializing a new elite by legitimizing people with an inflated sense of their own merit and little unwillingness to open up to new ways of problem solving. They exude an arrogance that says there’s only one way to answer a question—because the SAT only gives credit for the one right answer.
The world, by contrast, provides us with more than one correct answer to most questions. In the face of mounting criticism, the College Board has recently proposed changes to the SAT, including reducing the use of obscure vocabulary words, narrowing the areas from which the math questions will be drawn, and making the essay section optional. But individuals such as Bard College president Leon Botstein find these proposed changes are too little, too late because they don’t address the test’s real problem. In an eloquent rebuttal, Botstein writes:
The essential mechanism of the SAT, the multiple choice question, is a bizarre relic of long outdated twentieth century social scientific assumptions and strategies. As every adult recognizes, knowing something or how to do something in real life is never defined by being able to choose a “right” answer from a set of possible answers (some of them intentionally misleading). . . . No scientist, engineer, writer, psychologist, artist, or physician—and certainly no scholar, and therefore no serious university faculty member—pursues his or her vocation by getting right answers from a set of prescribed alternatives that trivialize complexity and ambiguity.
Meaningful participation in a democratic society depends upon citizens who are willing to develop and utilize these three skills: collaborative problem solving, independent thinking, and creative leadership. But these skills bear no relationship to success in the testocracy. Aptitude tests do not predict leadership, emotional intelligence, or the capacity to work with others to contribute to society. All that a test like the SAT promises is a (very, very slight) correlation with first-year college grades.
We see the problem of restricted access today in the new elite class, which passes on its privileges in the same way that the old elite from twentieth-century America passed on its privileges. But there is an even more worrisome aspect of the new elite. The old elite felt that it had inherited its privileges; …View full post
The EU could address these issues by, for example, increasing humanitarian aid budgets instead of splurging billions of euro on military spending as part of its US-NATO alliance. EU countries could cancel trillions of euro in debt owed to European banks by countries in Africa. That would then allow those countries to develop resources for …View full post
Dr Williams and Dr Ceci conjured up trios of hypothetical candidates for tenure-track jobs in various fields. In each case two of the three were fantastically qualified and one, there to act as a foil, slightly less so. They sent the three candidates’ CVs, together with mocked-up interview comments about them, to 873 high-level academics …View full post
http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/item/yanis_varoufakis_austerity_is_bad_medicine_greece_needs_a_new_20150422View full post
Apr 26 2015
Apr 26 2015
The EU could address these issues by, for example, increasing humanitarian aid budgets instead of splurging billions of euro on military spending as part of its US-NATO alliance. EU countries could cancel trillions of euro in debt owed to European banks by countries in Africa. That would then allow those countries to develop resources for their people instead of them being forced to migrate to find employment in Europe.
But here is the real factor: conflict. Most of the people migrating to North Africa and thence to Europe are fleeing war and conflict. The UN High Commission for Refugees records that among the millions of would-be migrants the preponderant nationalities are Syrian, Iraqi and Afghani. Among the African migrants, many too have come from countries torn apart by violence.
Now we ask: who has caused these wars and conflicts? It should be obvious, but amazingly, the Western media do not permit the explicit identification of the countries that are responsible for most of the conflicts.
The Washington Post, for example, this week wrote about the refugees crisis and “an of arc of strife from West Africa to Afghanistan”. Nice prose, but neither the Washington Post nor the Western media in general identify the culprits for this “arc of strife”.
Apr 25 2015
Dr Williams and Dr Ceci conjured up trios of hypothetical candidates for tenure-track jobs in various fields. In each case two of the three were fantastically qualified and one, there to act as a foil, slightly less so. They sent the three candidates’ CVs, together with mocked-up interview comments about them, to 873 high-level academics in the departments of biology, economics, engineering and psychology at 371 American universities. They tweaked the particulars of each trio to match the relevant discipline, and randomised which of the two outstanding candidates was referred to as “he” and which as “she”. Respondents were asked simply to pick the best of the three.
As the chart shows, professors of biology, engineering and psychology all chose female candidates over equally qualified male ones, and did so by an overwhelming margin (as high as three to one in the case of psychology). Moreover, they made this choice regardless of whether they, themselves, were men or women. The sole exception to this pattern was economics. In this discipline male professors showed a slight preference for men, though females had a strong one for women.