Friday, December 16, 2016

Blog #10

This research paper recognizes that the Ivy Leagues have a skewed view about determining a student's success and this view continues to have negative implications to society. Their definition of a successful student plays into this idea of "culture of smartness" reserving success for those who are not only intelligent but wealthy as well. This paper discusses the upsetting reality that students have been trained to select majors that will satisfy their luxurious lifestyles rather than selecting majors based on passion. The urge for Ivy students to grow their wealth through education only furthers the gap between the rich and poor, presumably dismantling the theory of meritocracy. In many way the elite are at fault for defining success in such a way, however society has done very little to change this definition as society values a testocratic merit system, a system where students are deemed intelligent based of of a single test score. To force the elite to end the culture of smartness and start to close the gap between wealthy and poor, society must start to value a democratic merit system in the United States' education system.

Shareable link to paper:

Works Cited
  1.  Bruni, Frank. Where You Go Is Not Who You'll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania. New York: Grand Central, 2015. Print.
  2. Deresiewicz, W. "I Saw the Best Minds of My Generation Destroyed by The Ivy League." New Republic 245.13 (n.d.): 24-29. Social Sciences Citation Index. Web. 11 Oct. 2016.
  3. Deresiewicz, William. "The Disadvantages Of An Elite Education: Our Best Universities Have Forgotten That The Reason They Exist Is To Make Minds, Not Careers." American Scholar 77.3 (2008): 20-31. Literary Reference Center. Web. 5 Dec. 2016. 
  4. Guinier, Lani. The Tyranny of the Meritocracy: Democratizing Higher Education in America. Boston, MA: Beacon, 2015. Print.
  5. Ho, Karen.  “Biographies of Hegemony.” The New Humanities Reader, 5th edition. Kurt Spellmeyer and Richard Miller, eds.  Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning, 2015. 165-191.  Print.
  6. Kazin, Michael. "New Ivy League, Same Old Elitism." Chronicle of Higher Education 11 Sept. 2015: 4. Academic Search Premier. Web. 1 Nov. 2016.
  7. Lawler, Peter Augustine. "Grade Inflation, Democracy, And The Ivy League." Perspectives On Political Science 30.3 (2001): 133. Academic Search Premier. Web. 11 Oct. 2016. 
  8. Nazaryan, Alexander. "American Horror, Ivy League Edition." Newsweek. N.p., 25 Feb. 2016. Web. 28 Oct. 2016.
  9. Peterson, Devon. “Careers at Princeton: The Allure and Drawbacks of Elite Jobs.” Daily Princetonian, 2002.
  10. UNZ, RON. "The Myth Of American Meritocracy." American Conservative 11.12 (2012): 14. Points of View Reference Center. Web. 5 Dec. 2016.
  11. Vance, Stanley C. "Higher Education For The Executive Elite." California Management Review 8.4 (1966): 21-30. Business Source Premier. Web. 1 Nov. 2016.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Blog #9

My argument for my paper is that because the Ivy Leagues define "success" by means of getting through school just to earn oneself a high paying job that in itself is what is negatively affecting America's theory of meritocracy and in essence threatening the good of society. This simple definition is causing so much harm and both elite institutions and society are at fault. Looking specifically at society, we value testocratic merit over democratic merit and that is the problem. Society has this unwavering belief that the only simple and accurate way to determine how intelligent one is, is through rounds of standardized test like the SATs or ACTs. This system however overlooks those who are at a disadvantage economically as they are unable to pay tutors to train them to take the SATs like the elite can. Democratic merit on the other hand takes these socioeconomic disadvantages into account when determine the intelligence of students. Most of society seems to think that the SATs are a great and keywords quick and simple way to determine and compare students' levels of intelligence. Using a democratic form of merit would be too costly, too time consuming and in general just too difficult as questions will arise like "where is the cutoff mark between someone at a disadvantage and someone who is not", "How do we weigh disadvantage X Y and Z". All logical reasons to disapprove democratic merit however even knowing that this will not be a simple and quick solution, for the good of society it is worth an effort.

Blog #8

My case for this paper is that there is this agreed upon definition of how all the Ivy Leagues define the word "success". They seem to define a student as being successful if that student goes on to earn a high paying job that furthers their elite status or at least maintains it. This is supported by Karen Ho's "culture of smartness" a term she uses to describe the Ivy Leagues, their students and elite institutions such as Wall Street. The "culture of smartness" is the distinction between what the Elite constitute as smart versus what they constitute as intelligent. Being smart means that one is intelligent as well as wealthy. Those two traits are what the elite define as success. Karen Ho explains that this "culture of smartness" is not constrained to Ivy League schools but in fact escalates and is exacerbated in the world of elite professions. She explains that the "culture of smartness is central to understanding Wall Street. 'Smartness' means much more than individual intelligence; it conveys a naturalized and generic sense of the 'impressiveness,' of elite pinnacle status and expertise which is used to signify worthiness" (Ho, 167). Ho explains that yes, these students have to be smart but they have to be more than that. Being smart just isn't enough and the case that I am making is that this is an unacceptable reality and definition of the term success.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Literary Review #5

Citation: Bruni, Frank. Where You Go Is Not Who You'll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania. New York: Grand Central, 2015. Print.

Summary: The few chapters scattered throughout the book that I have read discuss the negativities about class and school ranks, that is that the merit of students cannot be simplified to a single test score and a school cannot be deduced to a single number and a single rank. Ranks as much as society would like to think cannot accurately represent all aspects of students’ or school’s abilities. The book discusses how Ivies might not be the best choice for students as these schools place a greater significance on finding their students money grossing careers rather than providing them with the power of profound knowledge.

Author: Frank Bruni is a UNC, Chapel Hill graduate as well as a Columbia alum after receiving his masters in journalism. He is currently an op-ed journalist for the New York Times and has been for five years now. Bruni is a two-time best seller and has written many pieces on higher education.

Key Terms:
            College Rankings/ Student Rankings— a tool that society deems so valuable however the system in itself is strongly influenced by money. That is those schools that are very well funded like the Ivies of tend to hold a top rank because of it. One must really look at the details of what exactly is being ranked because most of the time the true importance of a school is overlooked. This pattern holds true for student rankings as well. A single test core can deem one student more worthy of attending the elite than another when in retrospect should one’s sense of intelligence and value to a school be determined by one number? It’s time for the answer to be no.

“The assumption is that the No. 5 school must somehow be better than the No.25 school, which in tunr must be an infinitely safer bet and more enviable boast than anything below 50. And that belief is unshakable, surviving countless attempts to shake it” (Bruni, 81).

“Administered by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA, it shows a striking change in the stated priorities of students of the last half century. For example, in the mid 1960s, only 42 percent of freshman said that being able to “make more money” was a “very important” goal in their decisions to go to college. That number rose to just over 73 percent in the survey results published in March 2014” (Bruni, 164).

Hiram Chodosh, the president of Claremont McKenna College explains why a numbers based and rank based approach is used and normalized in the American society “You measure what you can easily count, and then often fail to measure what really counts” (Bruni, 84).


Value: This academic source is valuable to my research paper as it displays statistics of the unfortunate growth of students going to school just to make money rather than further their education in something they are passionate in. This urge to make money drives competition and creates this infatuation with ranks, class and student alike. However, this is not what is going to help society. Those achieving in terms of selfishness and those unable to attend prestigious schools due to their lack of money is everything society should be making their best efforts to avoid.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Blog #7

The two most significant academic sources that I use a great deal in my paper are Biographies of Hegemony by Karen Ho and The Tyranny of the Meritocracy by Lani Guinier.

 I am using Karen Ho's "culture of smartness" to explain how Ivy Leagues define success. Success is defined as being not only intelligent but wealthy (elite) as well. Ho explains that the "culture of smartness" is "central to understanding Wall Street. 'Smartness' means much more than individual intelligence; it conveys a naturalized an generic sense of 'impressiveness,' of elite pinnacle status and expertise which is used to signify worthiness" (Ho, 167). Ho explains that yes, Ivy league students have to be smart but they have to be more than that. Being smart just ins't enough, its about the facade and exclusivity that makes the elite and their jobs so admirable to society. The illusion that one can start from the bottom and work their way up to one day working on Wall Street is simply that, an illusion.

I believe that Ivy leagues define success the way they do because society allows them to do it. Society allows them to by accepting testocratic merit and not questioning that although this is simple and easy, that that might be the problem. Until society starts promoting democratic meritocracy, Ivy League schools will continue to only accept based off of test scores and elite business will only recruit from society's "best" that attend these elite institutions. 

This definition is allowed in our society because testocratic merit is valued over democratic merit, two terms that Lani Guinier explains in her book. Society tries to find simple answers to complex questions, that is just human nature. So when society wants to rank intelligence it is much easier to test students with the SATs rather than taking into consideration any external disadvantages students may face. It is extremely easy for wealthy students to perform well on exams like the SATs as it isn't about knowing the material but being able to guess and answer questions quickly. Those who have the finances are trained with numerous prep courses, not to learn what they are being tested on but learn how to take the test. Those who are of the lower class, no matter how smart cannot compete with those taught how to guess correctly. Guinier explains that "Our over-emphasis on the testocracy has us confusing merit with speed and confidence to guess” (Guinier, 81). This is why democratic merit should be used. Society should base intelligence off of how well students comprehend what they are learning. That way all students can display their intelligence without wealth determining the their future. This merit is based off of motivation, time management and pure intelligence, something that wealth cannot buy.