In his quest to understand the realities behind the modern higher education industrial complex, author Paul Tough spent six years traveling across 21 states visiting college campuses, corporate officers, labs and people's homes and schools. He talked to high school students in various socioeconomic strata, test prep business people, college admissions officers, economists, education reformers and professors.
Tough's new book "The years that matter most: How college makes or breaks us" contains eye-opening stories about incredible students and their achievements, as well as the stories of students who struggle once they get into elite colleges. But his book also examines the disturbing findings of Harvard economist Raj Chetty, who among other things found that "rich" and "poor" kids generally attend different colleges in the United States.
It's a deep behind-the-scenes investigation into the nature of social mobility, or the lack thereof, in 21st century America, and what we can and should do to fix the broken system. In the process of showing us why these developments are manifesting themselves, Tough also reveals the details of what’s really driving the higher education testing and admissions systems.
Paul Tough's web site: https://www.paultough.com/
New York Times Magazine article: What College Admissions Officers Really Want: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/09/10/magazine/college-admissions-paul-tough.html
More on colleges and social mobility here: http://www.equality-of-opportunity.org/college/; https://www.nber.org/papers/w23618; https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/01/18/upshot/some-colleges-have-more-students-from-the-top-1-percent-than-the-bottom-60.html
The College Board's response to Tough's book is here: https://pages.collegeboard.org/paul-tough
Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/sarah-lai-stirland/support