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The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students Hardcover – Illustrated, March 1, 2019
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“What Jack discovered challenges us to think carefully about the campus lives of poor students and the responsibility elite institutions have for not only their education but also their social and economic mobility…The Privileged Poor breaks new ground on social and educational questions of great import.”―Washington Post
“[An] eye-opening exposure of what it’s like to be poor on elite college campuses…Jack’s book brings home the pain and reality of on-campus poverty and puts the blame squarely on elite institutions for fostering policies that often ‘emphasize class differences, amplifying students’ feelings of difference and undercutting their sense of belonging.’”―Washington Post
“A sobering reminder that, despite considerable efforts in recent years to increase the intake of talented young adults from disadvantaged backgrounds into leading universities and colleges, much more needs to be done to prepare and support them during their studies if they are to thrive.”―Andrew Jack, Financial Times
“[An] examination of the way elite colleges and universities welcome, and don’t welcome, students from the working classes.”―Edwin Aponte, The Nation
“Navigating college is hard for many young people, and for low-income students or kids whose parents didn’t go to college, it can be even trickier…So many professors have told me this book made them rethink their own classrooms.”―Elissa Nadworny, NPR Books
“The lesson is plain―simply admitting low-income students is just the start of a university’s obligations. Once they’re on campus, colleges must show them that they are full-fledged citizen.”―David Kirp, American Prospect
“Jack wants people to see beyond his personal success to his research findings: Elite colleges not only fail to admit enough low-income students; they also fail to care for the ones they let in.”―Chris Quintana, Chronicle of Higher Education
“This book’s central message is as plain as it is substantial: access is not the same as inclusion. Increasing the number of low-income students in higher education is only the start of a university’s obligations…As a skillful interviewer and insightful observer, Jack reveals deep-seated class disparities that manifest themselves not just in the clothes students wear and the holidays they take, but in what they expect of their professors and envisage for themselves while in university and beyond. In so doing, Jack opens up new ground to interrogate the ‘long shadow’ of class inequality throughout the educational system. For all these reasons, this book is a considerable achievement.”―Malik Fercovic, LSE Review of Books
“[A] remarkable book…I believe every administrator, faculty and student in college should read this to understand some obstacles students encounter in college that often go unnoticed.”―Andrew Martinez, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education
“In a word, brilliant. Jack uncovers the myriad ways in which poverty handicaps even the most talented youth as they navigate college. Not stopping there, Jack carefully details how universities are no mere bystanders; he lays bare how they preach openness as they practice exclusion. The Privileged Poor is a provocative, eye-opening account of what it means to be poor on a college campus and is essential reading for all who are concerned about the future of our children.”―Reshma Saujani, founder and CEO of Girls Who Code
“For years, elite colleges have claimed to be the saviors of low-income students. With careful research Anthony Jack pulls back the curtain and reveals the real college experiences of these students on an Ivy-covered campus. Best of all, he demands that we do something about it.”―Sara Goldrick-Rab, Founding Director of the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice
“Professor Anthony Jack illustrates the multidimensional nature of poverty and privilege by providing a window into the nuanced experiences of low-income, first-generation college students at elite institutions. Professor Jack’s keen analysis and clear argument helps all of us―students, teachers, administrators, and system leaders―to identify and fill the cracks through which many students can fall. This important book will help us ensure even greater access, equity, and success in college for the vast array of talented students in our great American mosaic.”―Daniel R. Porterfield, CEO, The Aspen Institute
“The Privileged Poor is three books in one: an engrossing personal memoir, a collection of rigorous scholarship, and a powerful manifesto for a new movement to improve the lives of low-income students at elite universities. It’s an essential work, humane and candid, that challenges and expands our understanding of the lives of contemporary college students.”―Paul Tough, author of Helping Children Succeed: What Works and Why
“Anthony Jack’s beautifully written book provides a riveting account of the experiences at elite campuses of students from low-income families. He shows how badly many elite schools understand the experiences of students from poor backgrounds and how these failures of understanding undermine efforts to expand access. The book is a must-read for anyone who hopes to help colleges and universities meet their aspirations to be engines of mobility.”―Danielle Allen, author of Cuz: The Life and Times of Michael A.
“In this insightful study, Anthony Abraham Jack examines how disparate precollege experiences affect the cultural and social resources economically disadvantaged students bring to elite colleges, and how they use these resources in navigating life on campus. The Privileged Poor is an eye opener even for a professor like me who has taught courses on inequality at elite universities for nearly a half century. It is, in short, a tour de force that will be read, discussed, and debated for decades.”―William Julius Wilson, author of More than Just Race: Being Black and Poor in the Inner City
“Through meticulous interviews and rich personal narratives, Jack brilliantly brings alive the experiences of low-income college students at elite colleges and uncovers an important group―the ‘privileged poor’―who have frequently been overlooked in prior work. This book should be studied closely by anyone interested in improving diversity and inclusion in higher education and provides a moving call to action for us all.”―Raj Chetty, Harvard University
“Jack’s well-researched study is matched by his advocacy for adding programs that could help bring these students closer to the already privileged.”―Improper Bostonian
“A book about social class in American higher education and the often painful culture clashes it gives rise to.”―Matthew Reisz, Times Higher Education
“What Jack contributes to the recent spate of books on college is not only the inside access to what we might reasonably presume to be America’s oldest and most prestigious university, but the illumination of a distinct group of students within this elite institution.”―Mitchell L. Stevens, Public Books
“Jack looks under the hood, recounting the myriad ways that low-income students, who are overwhelmingly students of color, experienced the relationships and resources―or lack thereof―at an elite university…Colleges fail to understand and effectively step in to support low-income students in general, and the doubly disadvantaged in particular.”―Julia Freeland Fisher, The 74
“A compelling and valuable read.”―Elizabeth M. Lee, American Journal of Sociology
About the Author
- Publisher : Harvard University Press; Illustrated edition (March 1, 2019)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 288 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0674976894
- ISBN-13 : 978-0674976894
- Item Weight : 14.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.3 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #394,910 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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The distinction between PP and DD is that PP students were given similar assistance to gain admission to expensive high schools, whereas DD were admitted from public schools.
The sample was also split by ethnic background and, for me, the most interesting result was that the attitudes observed were much more conditioned by income group than by ethnic background. That did come as a surprise to me.
What didn't come as a surprise was that UI students showed confidence and had few qualms in drawing on university resources, both material and human, to serve their particular needs. PP students were more inhibited in this and DD students more inhibited still.
Similarly, UI students were uninhibited in wearing expensive clothes and accessories and talking (and sharing pictures) about luxury vacations and extravagant parties. PP students had been exposed to such behaviour in their high schools and, whilst discomforted by it, did not feel as much of a culture shock as did the DD students.
These results were so predictable that I gave up around 1/3rd of the way through the book. Having spent 14 years of my life as a university lecturer, this should have been fascinating research for me, but - apart from the interesting irrelevance of ethnic background - I felt that I was gaining no insights in carrying on.
I can recommend this book as appropriate for both academic and non-academic audiences. I read it in a graduate seminar but would feel comfortable recommending it to the educators in my family. The methodological appendix is extremely good, showing that scientific work and reflexive work are not total opposites.
I am surprised to see other reviews describe the book as an ethnography, because I felt the project was very interview-driven (103 interviews with students and then supplementary interviews with other members of the university) and only supplemented by field data. I wouldn't want anyone to expect an ethnography.
This book is a moving call to action and required reading for everyone!