Wealth and Education
The Chronicle of Higher Education (June 8, 2015) published "Executive Compensation at Public and Private Colleges." At public universities, the median salary for presidents for a year is $428,250, with two presidents earning more than $1 million (Rodney A. Erickson of Penn State University at $1, 494,603 and R. Bowen Loftin of Texas A&M University at $1,128,957). At private colleges, 36 presidents earn at least $1 million.
Since Arizona's higher education funding cuts were the deepest in the country since 2008, The Nation's "The Gentrification of Higher Ed" (June 8, 2015) focuses on this state for its 70 percent tuition increase for in-state students between 2008 and 2013, the biggest hike in the country. At the same time, to appeal to the students (or their parents) who can afford these hikes, and want even more from their tuition than classes and professors, the University of Arizona in the last two years has added food pantries, food courts, swimming pools (with hot tubs, steam rooms, and tanning salons), and luxury apartments for the very wealthy students offering one-bedroom apartments for as high as $1,640 a month.
For students making minimum wage, college is becoming almost an impossibility. The cost of one year of in-state tuition and fees could cost anywhere from 31% to 98% of a minimum wage earner's annual income. Even for those lucky enough to get Pell grants, which max out at less than $6,000 per year, the tuition at many public four-year colleges can be upwards of $10,000 a year, requiring the difference to be squeezed out of those minimum wage salaries (Policy.Mic, September 8, 2015).
"Higher education wears the cloak of liberalism, but in policy and practice, it's a cutthroat system of exploitation": so begins an article on AlterNet (June 29, 2015) which uses the example of New York University (NYU) as "a predatory business, hardly any different in ethical practice or economic procedure than a sleazy storefront payday loan operator." In a report called "The Art of the Gouge" 400 NYU faculty members describe how their place of employment can be a corrupt institution of power, money, and exploitation that is severely unfair to students and professors alike.
Although asked to move large numbers of lower-income students into the middle class, community colleges receive far less public financial support than do highly selective public four-year colleges (Education Opportunity Network, June 4, 2015).
Poverty and Education
Scientific American writes "For children, growing up poor hinders brain development and leads to poorer performance in schools ... Up to 20% of the achievement gap between high- and-low- income children may be explained by differences in brain development....Children who grew up in families below the federal poverty line had gray matter volumes 8 to 10% below normal development" (Education Opportunity Network, July 30, 2015).
Schools in Latino and African American communities regularly are targeted for turnarounds, state takeovers, and transfer to charter schools without the consent of the people whose children live in these communities. All the school takeovers from New Orleans to Detroit to...