Money, myth, merit, school and social class in America~

The Americans are a hopelessly young people~~and that to a large extent drives discussions about education and its place in American life.   The Americans are forever fumbling about trying to sort out their place in society~~trying to guess questions such as ~~just what does being elite in America~~mean?~~
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There are different factors at play in what are, appropriately considered a number of different, and on first blush, self-contradictory, forces at play in all this.~~

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One of the least mentioned is the shameless, truly shameless, price gouging at private American colleges and prep schools~~and not simply Ivy League schools or their feeder prep schools.  This goes unremarked in the press services, but is certainly well-known to all parents who start plotting children’s education~~sometimes before their birth.~~
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This gouging cannot be sustained and ought not to be sustained.  What many today forget is that the current fascination with these special schools is very recent, and became, in my lifetime, solely the fixation of middle class hustlers who want their kids to go to these schools for really only one reason–so that the kids will earn more money than do kids who do not.~~
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Trouble is~~many I know who in recent years have attended these schools don’t make very much money at all~~so, from a cost accounting perspective–just what precisely are the middle classes investing in by sending their kids to these elite schools?~~
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America is about money~~solely.~~
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There used to be a way to determine which preps were for the rich and which for the future servants of the rich–in those days, I could tell you by where you prepped if you were going to be a servant to the rich class or from the rich class itself.~~
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Not anymore–In my lifetime Columbia, Hav~ad, Yah~le and the others have become almost exclusively schools for middle class hustlers who think that sending their kids to these places will insure that the kids later are rich.~~
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In my family, my maternal side was all Columbia and Barnard.  On my father’s side which was, until the Depression rich to the point of impossibility, the sons never went to college at all–they realized that they would inherit the kingdom and simply hire lawyers, doctors, accountants and fund managers~~while the sons themselves lived a life of indolence and ease.~~
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Paternal Nana told me, in a troubling recollection for me today recalled here, that the doctor I liked very much and whose mind interested me, could not stay for dinner because “doctors are servants and we are social people.”~~
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That is an era that, largely, does not exist any more~~for good or ill.~~
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The ubiquity of middle class hopes and dreams are the customer base of the elite schools,~~
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The customer is being hoodwinked–on a cost benefit basis there is no justification at all to go up to Hav~ad or Yah~le or Columbia in order to later get rich or marry the right girl because your classmates in the main are middle class just like you~~kids feverishly on the make.~~
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Not very long ago the schools now called the Ivy League had a deuce of a trouble getting rich boys to attend.  In desperation, rank desperation, these schools opened the flood gates based upon not social class but rather on the basis of that horrid synthetic expression called today~~meritocracy~~a word with no meaning–but now widely accepted in America by the professional middle classes who dominate the nation in her day-to-day life.~~
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There were predictable consequences to all this~~most startling~~and altogether unappreciated in America today, was that meritocracy immediately flooded the elite schools with Jews~~which I can assure you was not the intent of the schools themselves but was unavoidable consequence of  the coming of meritocracy.~~
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Jews are not smarter than are others but many of them teach their children what they need to do to get ahead–while other groups generally do not~~meaning today–get into the professions by attending what are now very erroneously called elite schools.~~
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Trouble again is that elite in America means inheriting, making or marrying money~~and, it becomes increasingly apparent that Hav~ad and Yah~le and Colombia and so forth~~ are tickets principally to a reasonably comfortable middle class professional life~~and no more~~not much to do with being, or getting, rich.~~
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Jack~~
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Avant l’hiver~~2014~~

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