Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Making Education Work for the PoorThe Potential of Children's Savings Accounts$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Willliam Elliott and Melinda Lewis

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190621568

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190621568.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 16 June 2021

The Battle to Define Life Chances and the Distributional Consequences of the Current Education and Economic Systems in America

The Battle to Define Life Chances and the Distributional Consequences of the Current Education and Economic Systems in America

Chapter:
2 The Battle to Define Life Chances and the Distributional Consequences of the Current Education and Economic Systems in America
Source:
Making Education Work for the Poor
Author(s):

Willliam Elliott

Melinda Lewis

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190621568.003.0006

Our stories serve to illustrate that divergent experiences are not primarily the result of different choices or preferences. Willie’s route to and through higher education was often perilous and frustrating because he lacked the resources with which to maneuver and bend institutions in order to meet his needs. In contrast, Melinda’s college aspirations were encouraged and rewarded by the same institutions because she had the resources to make them work for her. As stark as these different routes were, if the gap in our families’ wealth had ceased to matter once we got our degrees, some might still argue that higher education is “working” as a leveler. Sure, Willie had to try harder, wait longer, and forego many opportunities, but isn’t it where you end up that really matters? Our stories suggest that the answer to this question is a resounding “No.” Instead, our lives continue to be marked by the effects of wealth inequality and by the substantial differences in how the education system treats those who start with money and those working to get it. This is the thesis of this chapter: that wealth inequality is not just another manifestation of unfairness in US society but instead a primary force determining how people fare, including in the institutions that are supposed to catalyze equitable opportunities. Our lives reveal how assets chart one’s course not only at the beginning of a college career but also well into a college graduate’s future. In Willie’s case, even though it has been more than nine years since he graduated from his PhD program, student debt still compromises his ability to leverage his relatively high salary to secure sound financial footing. His lingering financial instability is rooted in the economic disadvantages of his family of origin, but, critically, it was not erased when he graduated.

Keywords:   529 college savings plans, Federal Housing Administration (FHA), GI Bill, Senate Economic Mobility Caucus, assortative mating, discrimination, racial, embedded thought processes, life chances, defying, role expectations, social expectations, stereotypes, math ability and gender, wealth inequality

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .