Saturday, August 30, 2014

Sincerity Integrity Respect and Trust

This a life lesson for anyone taking any major step in life:  Look for these qualities in your bosses, your co-workers and in the atmosphere that pervades the institution.  Are decisions made for the best outcome for the people you serve, in a school that is the students and the community, or because they are the ones that the leaders say you should follow because they made them?

Where I am now, these four qualities pervade everything that goes on.  It affects everything:  morale, achievement, motivation, quality.  When I left Montclair, it was totally absent.  Hubris had replaced respect, public relations had replaced integrity.  And sincerity, let's not even go there.

Why would a school system which was acting in good faith and transparently need a communication and a public relations plan?  Because people don't like what they see?  Because people don't trust who they see?

So do the test.  If you see these four qualities in our schools, feel good.  You have a great school.  If not, its time for you to work for a change.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Problems with the Common Core

1) The Common Core was not developed by teachers. It needs to reflect what the students can and should know, not just what is measurable and testable.

2) It assumes that there is a floor to which every non-disabled student can achieve, i.e. critical thinking and analysis. There is a Bell Curve, there always will be a bell curve and it is affected by SO many things that are outside of the purview of schools. Did the kid come into school reading? Were they read to as children? Is there a culture of reading in the home? Is there support for homework?

 3) It assumes that every student should be prepared to enter a career in the natural sciences or engineering when they graduate high school. This is neither necessary or desirable. Why is it more important to understand f(x) = 1/X  than to understand why an interest only mortgage, rent-to-buy, and a 0% deferred interest credit card are bad for you? If we had real education in financial math, maybe fewer people would be having their homes foreclosed. Instead, we have millions of kids having to balance chem equations and learning about trig functions, skills and concepts that they never, ever will need to know.

4) Teachers don't teach to the Common Core and not evaluated on how they teach to the Common Core, they teach to the PARCC, a test developed without teacher input and one that fails every basic test of reliability and validity. It has not been field tested. It has not been evaluated by the teaching community as to whether this is what students should be learning. It has not been evaluated for developmental appropriateness. It is a product of billionaires, profit making test companies and clueless college professors who have never taught in the classroom putting this thing together.

5)  Lastly, the Common Core and PARCC are really a re-hash of NCLB without a questioning the basic assumptions of each. There is an assumption in each that there can be federal control of education, when every study says that good schools are ones with good principals and teachers, There is an assumption that what is measurable is important and what is important is measurable, there is an assumption that formative assessments like the AP are not possible to create and use, there is an assumption that there is something wrong with having a graduation test of skills and a higher diploma that confirms stronger analytical skills and content understanding.

Saturday, June 28, 2014


I'll tell you who I am not disgusted with first:  with the teachers, administration and board members of Morristown.  They have lived within the mandates of the state and federal government, but used them as guides not as missions.  They have kept the primary missions of the school and district as creating educational environment and kept up the mantra over and over again:  "Is it best for kids?".

I am disgusted with the Democrats, including the President, the Congress and the members of the state Assembly and Senate in New Jersey.  They have rolled over and licked the soles of their corporate masters.   On the federal level, the Race to the Top, aka No Child Left Behind light, has embraced the corporate reform distortions that the problems are the result of not enough top-town standards, tenure, lazy and over-paid teachers, and the unions.  Despite reams of research that shows that strong principals with authority to build educational communities is the most effective way to improve education, they have rolled over like beaten dogs to the mega-billionaires who are truly guiding educational philosophy.

They have ignored what every psychometrician learns in first year undergraduate statistics:  There is no such thing as a good test that is not field tested for validity and reliability.  They have embraced the PARCC test, designed without virtually any input from classroom teachers and with almost no testing of its validity or developmental appropriateness and used it as a cudgel to force the teachers to change the way they teach.  "There's no need to teach to the test", I have heard again and again, followed by pronouncements that their jobs would depend on the test results.

The Common Core is a great idea, as are national graduation tests.  It is absurd that two classrooms teaching biology in the same school are teaching totally different content and that a students in Arkansas are expected to master totally different skills than those in NJ.  It is also an enormous waste of resources for the states to develop 50 different graduation tests.  But its creation and implementation has been a disaster.  The problem:  it is created by those who profit from it, groups like Pearson and McGraw Hill, and perhaps the biggest scourge in education, EdD's who teach in colleges but have never taught in high school.

Its time to start over.  Create a national committee of TEACHERS and ONLY TEACHERS to develop standards and assessments.  Create a multi-tiered system of assessments, one with expected minimal skills that all students need and a second set, like the Regents tests in NY, for more advanced work.  Its like the all these college educated people have ignored the most basic tenets of statistics and research they they were all required to know to succeed in college.  There is a bell curve and will always be a bell curve.  You can move the curve to the left or the right, you can distort the curve a bit, but there will always be a curve and the notion that everyone can and should achieve a high degree of analytical ability and critical thinking is impossible.

I reserve the greatest degree of disgust for President Obama, Arne Duncan and the Democrats in the NJ state Assembly and Senate.  They have decided to embrace a plan that was destined to fail from the start:  ignore everything that has been proven in education and embrace a top down control of education and the narrative that we have failing schools due to weak teachers.

Let's start with the NJ's legislature decision to cap superintendent's salary at $175,000.  New Jersey's quality superintendents are fleeing the state like lemmings to NY to PA, leaving behind a parade of weak and often polemical superintendents who know nothing, and care nothing, about the nuance it takes to create an educational environment.

Now let's discuss the methods of reducing teacher pay by requiring huge new contributions to pensions and health care costs.  Since "pension reform" was initiated, my pay has been reduced $15,000.  I used to have a large number of bright and capable students choose to go into teaching as a career.  This is a true rarity now.  Who would want to go into a career where they are vilified as  greedy and incompetent, forced to teach in a way that is antithetical to how students learn and whose job security and pay are being reduced every day?

I respect the Republicans for their honesty.  They come out and say that they think public schools are the problems and that their solutions are school vouchers and charter schools.  They have little problem with the notion of leaving in public schools who they say are the unteachable students, special education students, English language learners, students with emotional, physical and behavioral issues and setting up standards for them that it are impossible for them to meet with the resources available.  They are morally and repugnantly wrong, but at least they are straightforward.

Yes, I reserve my most contempt for the Democrats, who have jumped onto the "reform" bandwagon with both feet, letting the public schools die a death of a 1000 cuts.  Not a single one has stood up and said:  THIS IS WRONG!  Now they are passing a bill to delay this nonsense AFTER they passed it enthusiastically.  Aren't we closing the barn door after the horse has left?

Who will step up?  I haven't hear one word from Hillary Clinton about her ideas for this ill-fated and ill-conceived notion.  The Assembly voted almost unanimously to delay and study what they already overwhelming passed!  What a bunch of spineless hypocrites.  Where were they when we needed you?  I know, striking deals and kissing the ring of Chris Christie, the man whose claim to fame is degrading teachers as greedy and incompetent.  In economic hard times, there is always a straw man to blame.  Hitler came to power and by blaming the Jews and Christie came to power blaming public employees, particularly teachers.

And why have the Democrats finally started to act?  Moral outrage?  Common sense prevailing?  No, because Bridgegate and its successive investigations have shown that the emperor has no clothes and they think that their political futures not longer align with licking his boots.  I have no respect for you, democrats.  You have abandoned all ideals and let yourselves be sucked into this morass.

Who will speak up for the teachers, the students, the schools?  Who is the leader of tomorrow?  Certainly not Corey Booker.  Certainly not Arne Duncan.  Certainly not Barak Obama.  Certainly no one in the state legislature.

And yes, I reserve my greatest contempt for the citizens of Montclair.  Everyone I meet says the same thing.  They know the direction of the schools is wrong.  They know this superintendent is wrong for our schools.  They know that the teachers are disrespected and vilified.   They know that everything they believe in their hearts about what makes good schools and good education is wrong.  But they don't want to make waves.  Montclair Cares About Schools is a great source of information, but where is the outrage?  Where is the action?  Even our Town Counsel issued a declaration that what is happening in our schools is divisive and destructive.  But our town keeps standing behind a Board and a Superintendent who keep making decisions that increase this decisiveness and embrace a discredited philosophy and operating principles.  Yes, as long as each of your children has okay teachers, you're not going to rock the boat.

What has happened to the era when the citizens of Montclair were in the vanguard of protesting what is wrong in America, in our state and in our town?  Now we are in the vanguard of accepting the narrative of Republican billionaires that more testing is the solution and the narrative of weak teachers and failing schools.  Montclair residents have put their tails between their legs and put their energies into making sure their children get the best teachers, teachers who take refuge in their classrooms and shut their doors to do what they do best:  teach students despite the atmosphere of hostility and, at least in the high school, a total lack of educational expertise of those supervising them.

Has management improved at the high school?  Absolutely.  Was their a need for an improvement in management?  Absolutely.  But what we have now is management without educational oversight and teachers teaching well despite the atmosphere and expectations, not because of them.  And if you are not speaking up and acting to change this, you are part of the problem.

"Montclair's Assemblywoman Oliver Flabbergasted Over School Reform in Trenton"

Flabbergasted with Trenton!!!! How about Flabbergasted with Montclair, whose Board and administration has enthusiastically endorsed and carried out this mission? How about disgusted with herself, for supporting the disastrous decision to cap superintendent's pay, to jump on board with this ill-thought out and planned implementation of an untested and ill conceived Common Core and PARCC and effectively reduce teacher pay by 25% in the guise of "pension reform" which has teachers and other public service employees make enormous contributions to their pensions and health care, that were frequently given in negotiations in lieu of pay raises. I find this Johnny come lately conversion of the Democrats repulsive. Where were they when we needed them? NOW they want to start undoing the damage they created? PLEASE!

Bloomfield Board Rejects Reformist Zeal

Sounds like they have a superintendent and Board who is making the bold and correct choices. What happened to Montclair? If you told me 10 years ago that Bloomfield was going to be the most progressive district in Essex County and that Montclair would be the first suburban district to fully accept the narrative of a failing school with a corporate solution, I would have told you that this would never happen. Truth is stranger than fiction.
This just in---Bloomfield Board of Education votes in resolution supporting moratorium on tests, evaluation, common core and key aspects of corporate education reform!


WHEREAS, our nation's future relies on a high-quality public education system that provides students with the opportunity to maximize their potential, instills lifelong learning, and promotes the development of engaged and informed global citizens; and

WHEREAS, the current standards-based system is a top-down authoritarian system that disregards the professional decision-making ability of classroom teachers and usurps the local control of educating the children of Bloomfield; and

WHEREAS, all children develop at different rates; and

WHEREAS, the efficacy of the Common Core State Standards (the Common Core) has never been evaluated relative to the previous New Jersey Core Content Curriculum Standards; and

WHEREAS, the Common Core has been integrally linked to the Partnership for Assessment of College and Career Readiness (PARCC) assessment in New Jersey by which students, teachers, administrators, schools and school districts will be evaluated; and

WHEREAS, the PARCC assessments will be required in all districts for grades 3-11, beginning in the 2014-2015 school year; and

WHEREAS, the PARCC assessments are central to AchieveNJ, which uses student assessment data in the teacher evaluation process through student growth percentiles (SGP’s) for public school teachers in certain grade levels and content areas; and

WHEREAS, the use of PARCC assessments or any Value-Added Model (VAM) for assessment purposes of children, schools, and teachers has not been shown to be a reliable method; and

WHEREAS, the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), the New Jersey Association of School Administrators (NJASA), and the New Jersey School Boards Association (NJSBA) members question the reliability of the data and the implementation of the schedule for AchieveNJ and PARCC assessments; and

WHEREAS, the PARCC assessments will require that districts provide the means to test students in a computer-based testing environment; and

WHEREAS, the Bloomfield Public School district will be required to spend an unknown amount for administrative positions, professional development, technology, and staff time to implement these mandates; and

WHEREAS, the Bloomfield Public School district’s Projected State School Aid for the 2014-15 budget represents a total increase in state funding of $126,800, or 0.61%, and PARCC Readiness Aid of a mere $63,400 to offset the substantial requirements of the PARCC assessments; and

WHEREAS, AchieveNJ is an unfunded mandate and the PARCC assessments are a severely underfunded mandate; and

WHEREAS, the New Jersey State Assembly has introduced Assembly Bill A3081 and its counterpart in the Senate, S2154, which calls for a minimum of a two-year delay in the use of the PARCC assessment data for any student or school accountability purposes, and calls for the creation of a task force to analyze the potential effects of the adoption of the Common Core State Standards, the new teacher evaluation system, and the use of PARCC assessments.

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the Bloomfield Board of Education strongly supports passage of Assembly Bill A3081 and Senate Bill S2154; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a moratorium be placed on the use of SGP’s in a teaching staff member’s summative evaluation until such time as the measure has been independently validated; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that full reimbursement be provided by the State of New Jersey for costs incurred in the administration of and training related to the PARCC assessments and the accompanying administration evaluation mandates; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that school districts be given the option of administering the PARCC assessment online, using a pencil and paper format, or a combination of the two during this timeframe; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be sent to Commissioner David Hespe, Senate President Steven Sweeney, Senator Ronald L. Rice, Assembly Education Committee Chair Patrick J. Diegnan, Jr., Assemblywoman Cleopatra G. Tucker, Assemblyman Ralph R. Caputo, Senate Education Committee Chair M. Teresa Ruiz, the Joint Committee on Public Schools, New Jersey School Boards Association, New Jersey Education Association, New Jersey Association of School Administrators, New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association, the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders, and the Bloomfield Township Council

Monday, June 09, 2014

What robotic PR sounds like in Montclair

Did you read the PR document on the schools created by the Supe's office? Here it is:

It gets to the heart of the problem: it is a soul-less description of what we do, that makes us sound like a million other school systems. It has no real description of who we are! If this was a personal statement of our school system, with the assignment of capturing what is unique and special about our schools, it would be a D-.

The document:

*Lists MHS as one of 1000 Best High Schools in America (not a huge accomplishment) in Newsweek, a dubious list from Jay Matthews that rates schools by AP participation (not performance) and was boycotted by 38 high schools from 5 states, yes, including Montclair High:

*Of the six of the "over 100" highlighted activities, Ultimate Frisbee is listed, something that has not run at the high school since I last ran it, over 5 years ago

*Lists SVPA as a small learning community, something that has not existed since I started there in 1991.

*Does not distinguish Fed Challenge, which has had the best success of any of their competitors in the nation, from Model UN and Model Congress, which have had modest success.

*Throws together the STEM academy, a slap dash effort that is ill defined and directed, with CGI and CSJ, programs which are national models emulated by schools across the country.

*Says nothing about the accomplishments of individual teachers and students.

*Says not ONE WORD about what distinguishes Montclair culturally and educationally that could not be said about hundreds of high schools.

*Throws out terms like a "creating connections" magnate school, something that means nothing to an outsider reading this.

So, here, Dr. MacCormack, are some things you MAY want to consider in this document:

*Get lists of accomplishments that individual students and teachers have achieved and list them. We have many more than other schools and need to highlight them.
*Get quotes from students about their best teachers. We have amazing teachers who give their lives to the students (I wouldn't bother with quotes about administrators...don't think that would go so well).
*Think about what truly distinguished the district. Here are a few that I directly know of, but I'm sure it would be much larger if you did some research:

*Fed Challenge team that has won the national championships multiple times and has been to the National Finals almost every year since its inception. Give the college profile of where the FC presenters have attended college over the past 5 years and how many students participate each year.
*A math program where almost 50 students each year take BC Calculus as juniors each year and over 95% over the past decade have gotten a perfect score (5) on the AP test.
*A performing arts program at Glenfield that is simply amazing. I don't know what awards they have gotten, but it must be pretty impressive. Their instrumental program is like nothing I have ever seen at a middle school.
*Creative programs at the high school which are highly rigorous alternatives to the AP program, including hundreds of students taking courses like High Honors Humanities and Philosophy.
*A Writers Room (it is coming back, isn't it) that is a national model to aid students in writing.
*A unique partnership with IMANI to give students of color access to evening and weekend programs to improve college access and performance.

Whenever I read college essays, I ask students to write things that only they could say. This document is a slap dash listing of things that we do, something that does almost nothing to promote what we do really well and to give a sense of how we are different. That is a difficult thing that requires a nuanced understanding of the schools, the students and the town. It can't be put put together with measurements, rubrics, and numbers. Time to go back to the drawing board and actually write something meaningful.

Perhaps, Dr. MacCormack, some of the volunteers in the Writers' Room could help you with this. 

Saturday, May 31, 2014

What a Shame

I posted this story on Facebook:

Love Story
One night shared by a historian and a poetess illustrates a rarely argued but powerful reason to study the great books: it expands the experience of love.
Preview by Yahoo

And got this response from one of the sweetest, least controversial and most talented teachers at Montclair HS:

  A beautifully written piece that makes me sad. I remember the days when this kind of conversation went on at MHS all the time! People we hired had Master's degree in their subject matter, had written and published in their fields, and cared deeply and passionately about sharing that with our students. Now we crunch numbers and fill out forms in data analysis sessions. There is no summer reading. I ask if I can order books for next year and get no reply.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Why I'm at Morristown

A few reasons why I'm in Morristown: 

Number of high school subject area supervisors:
Morristown 6 Montclair 0

Number of staff dedicated to closing the achievement gap
Morristown 2 Montclair 0

Number of Assistant Principals
Morristown 2 Montclair 5

Responsibility of Guidance Director
Morristown: running the department, responding to parent and student needs
Montclair: scheduling, testing, 504, I&RS

Amount of money investigating and defending consequences of bad decisions (Assessmentgate)
Morristown 0$ Montclair $100,000's

Discussion time with Superintendent about directions of schools
Morristown: many hours Montclair 0

Administrators who care more about learning than management and control
Morristown: all Montclair: none

Board Meeting

In the last edition of the Montclair Times, the title of the article stated “MacCormack Encourages Teachers to Speak Up.”  A more apt title might be “Teachers See A Failure of Leadership.”  Some comments include: “The relationship between central service and teachers is strained at best and there is a constant fear of reprisal.”  “There is the lowest morale at MHS in all of our collective memory.”  “This once great Montclair that other districts admired and copied is being dismantled.”  “Teachers feel disheartened and vilified.”

The teachers requested a moratorium on quarterly assessments;  a desire to “trust your teachers and respect their judgment.  Stop making everything common and centralized.  It is too inflexible and not authentic.”;  A to return to “building level department supervisors”;  and a desire to “bring back the Writer’s Room, reduce class size and increase library hours and staff.”

Despite this, they concluded that “We love what we do so much.  The passion in our building is astounding.”  When I asked one teacher about the response of the Board, he responded  They defended, denied, deflected and didn't do anything to get off the track they are on.” 

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Some thoughts on College Athletics

There are two books on athletics that, though a bit too dense for most athletes, should be read by all those who advise them:

As a former college athlete, high school and college wrestling referee, counselor to scores of student athletes and coach of 33 years, I have gotten to see all sides of college athletics and cannot help be struck how far it has strayed from what I do now:  coach novice 2nd through 8th graders in my town rec program.  Honestly, this is the purest coaching I have ever done.  I get to build young men (and occasionally women).  Sports are merely a metaphor for building character, mentoring, being a role model and building pride and discipline.

The perceived unfairness of development cases, legacies, early decision, merit aid, need aware admissions, etc. is dwarfed many fold by what happens in college athletics.  Everyone who has been in this business knows of the huge numbers of student-athletes who would never have been admitted without athletics, ironically, with greatest impact at the smallest, most selective colleges.  

The pernicious effects of this pervade every economic class, every community, every school.  My son played regionally select soccer (luckily he did not have an interest in the college sweepstakes).  We were told again and again how every event was a "showcase" for college coaches, and that the thousands spent would be returned with winning the lottery of college admissions.  So many students, with no chance of a scholarship, spent every waking moment in pursuit of this unrealistic dream.  And to be honest, we all let it happen.

College is supposed to be about the transition to adulthood, with an opportunity to explore the world socially, intellectually, philosophically.  I believe my experience is a more common experience, one of being told to play through injury, being asked to put everything else in life aside for ones sport and given the message that the only important thing is getting the coach W's for their resumes.

How disgusting that so many of our tax dollars are spent on coaches and athletic programs when it could go to bolstering the academic programs.  Maybe we should put limits on public college athletic expenditures and have our public colleges just compete among each other.  I have to praise my alma mater, Swarthmore, for dropping wrestling and football.  The cost, in both dollars and in the academic quality of the student body, not just in these programs, but on also the need to provide similar support for women's athletics, was staggering.  

I don't know if this body can impact any of this.  To be honest, I don't know the sting of having to admit an academic recruit at the expense of some student who would contribute in so much more in other ways (I worked at Bard College in the early 80's), but maybe we should start speaking out about our experiences.  

It seems those in our profession or those who write about it are so oddly silent about it.  I loved reading inside looks of college admissions, like Admissions Confidential or the Gatekeepers, but there was this odd avoidance of this topic.  Its like someone writing about the effects of drought or unemployment on some small town, ignoring a tornado that just roared through the town tearing up most of its buildings.

Compelling idea

So I heard this idea on the news.  It was that we take all education dollars from the federal government and use it all to pay for all public college tuition, which makes college free for anyone who wanted to go to college.  It would have massive drawbacks, not the least of all on the diversity at private colleges.  Operationally, it would be a nightmare with trying to control costs, decide who gets what, being able to deal with the influx of students, etc.  But it is a very thought-provoking idea.

College and Students of Color

There is a short article in the Atlantic, written by a student of moderate means who is "a native of East Flatbush, Brooklyn and the descendant of a housekeeper, doorman, drug addict, and prisoner."    There are many observations that are thoughtful about the challenges of low income students gaining admission to elite universities.  There are a few observations that I might want to add:

She compares elite colleges, including Yale, Amherst and Vassar to other colleges, writing  "Schools that are lower ranked and less rich but more committed to social justice—such as Antioch, Berea, or my current employer The New School—may be the actual bests for the normal-income student who is committed to economic equality. In their curriculum and admissions practices, these institutions of higher learning have centered concerns about systemic economic inequality. The experiences and perspectives of average income families are not rarefied but robustly reflected in these schools’ ethos and practice. The diversity of achievements by average income youth who navigate many obstacles to obtain an education are fully recognized. These are some of the steps elite universities like Yale, Amherst, and Vassar need to take in order to see their vision of an economically democratic student body become a reality."

My own observations, doing admissions work at a selective college, 9 years at private schools and 23 years in diverse public schools, mirror hers.  There are things she implies or alludes to, though, that I have observed:

  • The greater the income gap between the average student and that of recruited "under-represented" students, the less likely the connection between these students and the community.  The experience of first generation low-income students is one of being in a fish bowl.  The average student in the school cannot understand or comprehend the lives and experiences of these students.  When these students are students of color, as is more often the case, there is this norm of rich white kids and poor students of color with little intersection of the two worlds, something I clearly observed at the elite private school I worked at.    
  • Much of the discomfort is not in the lack of programs and services for these students, but cultural norms which are embedded in the environment.  One of my low income students of color who went to Harvard tried to explain this to me.  She said it was something that most white students would never even notice.  "Have you ever noticed," she said to me, "that when police cars go to an emergency in your end of town that they only have flashing lights on, but in my end of town, they always have their sirens on, no matter what time of day it is?"  When I worked at a private school in Montclair, I wrote an article in the school paper about this, noting that all the professionals in the building were called by their last names, but the custodians had their first names printed on their uniforms.  Needless to say, not something that was deeply appreciated by the administration.
  • The language in many urban and rural environments is truly a different language from that of the majority.  I am not talking about ELL students but native English speakers.  I read the papers that my wife's students hand in (she is a social studies teacher in an alternate school in Orange NJ).  They communicate well, but the rules of their language are simply different from those of Standard Written English.  And learning SWE is not about "improving" their writing, it is about learning a new language with different rules of grammar and usage.
  • Which takes me to this main point:  many elite colleges seek students of color from places where white, upper middle class values and cultures have been inculcated from an early age.  Many have been placed in prep schools through organizations like Prep for Prep or the A Better Chance program.  Others have been educated at charter schools, like Northstar Academy, where all the rooms have names of elite universities and the norm is preparing students for the world of the white upper class:  how to dress, how to speak and how to behave.  Others are sought from the few truly diverse public schools, Evanston, Montclair, Morristown, etc.  Those students of color who are talented yet remain where most students of color are educated, i.e. schools of little diversity, high poverty and low parental involvement, rarely enter the elite college lottery.
  • Also, many of the "under-represented students" are students of color from upper middle class families who have already been inculcated in this culture.
  • Attending an "elite" college is more often about power than education.  Going to a school like Yale, as the writer did, was not just about learning how to write and think, it was about learning how to speak and behave in order to be successful in the world of the rich.  There was in interesting conclusion in the Dale and Krueger study (which found that students who were admitted to elite schools and went to other colleges did as well as those who attended these elite colleges):  " Lastly, the payoff to attending an elite college appears to be greater for students from more disadvantaged family backgrounds."  This is consistent with my observation above.