[Marxism] Reuters report on inequality in America

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Dec 22 09:09:45 MST 2012

Heard one of the reporters on the John Batchelor show last night. He 
made the point that unless you are "super-educated", your shot at 
getting a good job is nil.


An excerpt:

Falling behind the rich

Just to stay even, poorer Americans need to obtain better credentials. 
But that points to another rich-poor divide in the United States. 
Educators call it the scholastic "achievement gap." It has been around 
forever, but it's getting wider. Lower-class children are getting better 
educations than before. But richer kids are outpacing their gains, which 
in turn is stoking the widening income gap.

Across the country, a Stanford University study found last year, the 
achievement gap between rich and poor students on standardized tests is 
30 to 40 percent wider than it was a quarter-century ago. Because 
excellent students are more likely to grow rich, the authors argued, 
income inequality risks becoming more entrenched.

"Now, we're in a situation where we need to educate everyone at the 
level of the elite in the past," said Paul Reville, Massachusetts 
secretary of education. "We don't have a system to do that."

It's an academic arms race, and it can be seen in the sharply 
contrasting fortunes of Weston, a booming Boston suburb, and the 
blue-collar community of Gardner, where a 20-foot-tall chair sits on Elm 
Street as a monument to the town's past as a furniture-manufacturing hub.

The percentage of Gardner children bound for four-year colleges has held 
steady at about half in the past decade, and median incomes have tumbled 
as furniture makers headed south or overseas. Gardner High School 
graduate Curtis Dorval dropped out of the University of Massachusetts 
this year after his father, a Walmart worker, ran short of money. He's 
working at a Walmart now, too, and then heading off to the military.

In Weston, hedge-fund managers are tearing down modest homes to build 
mansions. Per-capita incomes have leaped 161 percent in the past two 
decades, and the high school is sending 96 percent of its graduates to 

Tanner Skenderian, president of the class of 2012, is now at Harvard; in 
her graduation speech, she told her classmates to "reach for the moon."

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