Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Education and Economic Mobility

This article from the New York Times is directly related to the discussion that we have been having regarding education.

Higher Education Gap May Slow Economic Mobility

On particular quote from it:

"Mr. Butler said experts were likely to disagree about the reasons and, hence, on policies to improve mobility. Conservative scholars are more apt to fault cultural norms and the breakdown of families while liberals put more emphasis on the changing structure of the economy and the need for government to provide safety nets and aid for poor families."

I think we all agree that there are things that need to be fixed -- we just can't agree on how to fix them.


jez said...

E.R. welcome back to the blog world, it has been intellectually anemic without you around. Thanks for the comment on my boy, he is worth the weight, but I still want it gone. :)

E. R. Dunhill said...

I'll preface by admitting that I've only had time to skim the article you reference.
I think your statement is dead-on. Unfortunately, I think those of us who would like to solve these problems are fighting against solutions. In addition to the differences in the way we perceive root causes of the problem, I fear that political interests are more interested in getting the credit for solving problems (or using blame as a weapon) than in actually solving them.
In this same vein, the piece Prog offered a few days ago advocated that the two large parties accept effective elements of one anothers' solutions. Voters need to hold elected officials accountable to this.
You've also suggested that the solution may require a government upheaval. I think this is already hitting civil service and is about to accelerate. The federal government (as is true of government at other levels) is tipped toward people late in their careers. As people retire in droves, there will be opportunities to introduce new thinking into the government. Again, voters must educate themselves and press elected officials to take advantage of this opportunity, rather than simply passing the torch.

E. R. Dunhill said...

It's good to be back. There are some very insightful people on this project, who have been kind enough to share the by-line. As with The Influence Machine, please feel welcome to comment on anything that moves you to do so.

Jessie O said...

Thank you, ER. It means a lot! And now I have a new blog to add to my roll...

Sue said...

I recommend the most recent detailed research on social mobility (or the lack there of) in the U.S., recently released by the Pew Charitable Trusts. There are three reports, one focuses on social class, one on race, and one on gender and links to all three can be found at the link above.