What’s Dennis Reading? – 4/29/15


The University’s Crisis of Purpose
by Drew Gilpin Faust, The New York Times

Colleges and universities in America have continually struggled to keep up with the demands expected of them, including the abilities to be practical as well as transcendent and to both add value and question values. These conflicting expectations have, in recent decades, created a wave of criticism on issues like the cost of college. At the same time, American colleges and universities have remained the envy of the world. A 2005 international ranking included 17 American educational institutions in the top 20, and a recent survey of American citizens revealed 93 percent of respondents considered American universities one of the country’s “most valuable resources.” Even still, the escalating cost of going to college has played a role in the slowdown of college attendance, despite universities expanding their programs of financial aid.

Single black female BA seeks educated husband: Race, assortative mating and inequality
by Edward Rodrigue and Richard V. Reeves, Brookings

Assortative mating, a phrase referring to the tendency for individuals to choose spouses with a similar educational attainment, has become a growing trend in the U.S. Jeremy Greenwood of the University of Pennsylvania and colleagues estimate assortative mating pushes up the Gini coefficient (a measure of income inequality) from 0.34 to 0.43. Work by Brookings’ Gary Burtless suggests between 10 and 16 percent of income inequality in the United States is caused by the “growing correlation of earned incomes received by husbands and wives.” Because assortative mating widens the gap in resources available in different households, it may also have an impact on intergenerational mobility. Also trending is a “marriage gap” in the U.S., with marriage rates among the non-college educated population falling sharply. Marriage rates among the African American population have fallen the sharpest.

Students Push College Fossil Fuel Divestment To Stigmatize Industry
by Carolyn Beeler, NPR

To slow climate change, many college students have become increasingly fervent in their efforts to persuade their schools to cease from using fossil fuels. This campaign has enjoyed many notable wins in the past year, however at Swarthmore College, where the movement was born, students staged a sit-in to try to make their voices heard.



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