Simon Marginson ~ Is This The Death Of The Equal Opportunity Era?

uwnThe last decades have seen a rapid growth in the number of students going into higher education in English-speaking countries such as the United States, including those from lower income backgrounds. But has this created more equal societies?

The US, in particular, has extreme levels of economic and social inequality and in higher education progress on access seems to have halted. Total graduation rates have levelled off. Participation is still growing rapidly in many other countries, but what happens in the US is important and often portends the future. The US is still the model and trend leader, in economy, society and higher education.

Linking income and wealth data and social ordering (including social ordering through education) is not a perfect science. But if we look at the last decades, adopting Thomas Piketty’s emphasis on an historical approach in his book Capital in the Twenty-First Century, we see important new patterns emerging.

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