Opinion | The N.Y.U. Chemistry Students Shouldn’t Have Needed That Petition

Today, however, the context is different. Sure, students from rich, white families still overrepresentation at elite colleges and universities, but they are no longer the only constituency. Meanwhile, as the US economy has become more inequality and uncertaintya college degree has essentially become Prerequisites for the kinds of jobs that cushion the precarious economy. This has increased competition among students and raised standards for admission to elite schools.

In this context, where admissions standards are set too high, where privilege is far from constant, where pressure on students is greater than ever, and where many students are burdened with debt. life to pursue your degree, get rid of courses that don’t discriminate students on mere merit.

For example, imagine a high school student with no advanced chemistry class, the first in her family to go to college, and in addition to her studies has to work 20 hours a week to pay the bills. . Also, imagine that this student doesn’t have a laptop or reliable Wi-Fi at her apartment, so she has to do her work in the computer room – or on her phone. me. Now compare her to the kid who took a lot of AP science classes, who had no financial obligations and who had all the necessary learning tools. They may sit right next to each other in that orgo class, but their backgrounds are miles apart.

However, elite universities do little to acknowledge those realities, and instead rely on outdated models that assume the only relevant difference between students is how smart they are. and how hard they work.

Unfortunately, if not surprising, ample evidence suggests that universities are respond faster to inquiries from their highest paying customers. With tuition fees higher than ever and government subsidies at a fraction of what they used to be, universities are dependent on money from wealthy families. That model drives schools to servants to the needs of privileged students and their families, despite doing so get a raise inequality between those students and their less privileged friends, whom wealthy families essentially subsidize. And the more schools cater to privileged families, more rights those families may want to make a request.

Fixing these inequalities will greatly change the way this nation supports families and funds both public K-12 schools and higher education.

Even without that change, however, colleges can still do more to help students succeed in their classes, regardless of the level of privilege they bring to college. or the type of major they pursue. That means investing more in hiring faculty, to allow for smaller class sizes, and academic advisors and other student support staff, who are often underpaid.


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