Education and inequality

On my way back from the Happiest Place on Earth, I bought a book from the airport (Why do those little shops always have such good selections?) called The Price of Inequality, by economist Joseph Stiglitz. This book is rich in economically sound explanations for inequality and why it sucks for everyone (and isn’t merely a moral failing of the poor themselves.)

At one point, he says a few things about the impact of education on poverty that underscore the idea that education isn’t the end-all be-all to ending poverty.

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Is Education the Answer to Economic Inequality?

I thought this was interesting, as education may be seen as a panacea for the impoverished. Education is surely important, but I appreciate how this post underscores how “education simply won’t address the root causes of today’s economic inequality.” The post suggests solutions like “public policies that will create more jobs, increase wages…and protect people from the financial ravages that often accompany illness, natural disasters, and other devastating and expensive events.”
What do you think about these suggestions or this post?

Working-Class Perspectives

One of the most common solutions offered to reverse America’ growing economic inequality is increased access to education.  President Obama may have started the trend with his call for universal, high-quality preschool, but others have joined the fray.  In March, Ronald Brownstein argued in National Journalthat “Education remains critical to reversing the erosion in upward mobility that has made it harder for kids born near the bottom to reach the top in the United States than in many European nations.” On The Century Foundation’s website just last week, Benjamin Landy posted a blog entitled “To Battle Income Inequality, Focus on Educational Mobility.”   

According to Brownstein, colleges and  universities are failing to make those opportunities available, because higher education has become too expensive and doesn’t do enough to help lower-income students succeed. In their 2009 study of college completion rates, William G. Bowen, Matthew M. Chingos, and Michael…

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Debt with a return

In general, I’m not so quick on the political uptake. I never feel like I have the “full” story, but I feel like I should, as a good poverty and policy blogger, talk about the looming sequestration, due to go into effect on Friday.

Nothing about this is pretty or kind.  If it goes into effect, it will be painful.  If it doesn’t, there will be posturing and under-the-table decisions that are painful.

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