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Phi Beta Cons

The Right take on higher education.

Re: Spielberg Model



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It’s important to note that the new NBER study mentioned in Sue Shellenbarger’s article tears a gaping hole in the hull of the Good Ship Diversity. One of the justifications advanced over and over for “affirmative action” to enroll members of “underrepresented minority groups” is that doing so is a step toward “social justice.” The fact that, on average, people in those groups have lower earnings combined with the fact that, on average, people with degrees from selective colleges and universities have high earnings leads diversity advocates to conclude that it’s a gain for society to take some people in the former group and turn them into people in the latter.

But the spoilsports at the NBER tell us that graduating from an elite college isn’t any big advantage. So if, let us say, Duke lures Miguel Gonzalez away from UNC-Charlotte, that probably does nothing to improve Miguel’s life prospects, much less that of “Hispanics” or “Latinos” or whatever the correct term is today.

The NBER research seems to support the argument I’ve made for years that “elite” colleges and universities don’t necessarily do a better job of educating students than do the non-elite ones.



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