The common denominator in all of these cases is an assumption the students had that education consists of indulgences bestowed upon the student by a more socially privileged teacher or administrator who pities them. These students were uniformly astonished when other considerations, such as merit, trumped pity. When we lower the bar of merit to admit the underprivileged, the message we send is that merit does not apply to them. Then we fail them by failing to disabuse them of this assumption.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Long, very interesting letter sent to Conor Friedersdorf, who is filling in at Andrew Sullivan's blog, by a former math professor at one of those "dropout factory" colleges, Cal State Hayward: