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Weekly Review
February 4, 2022
At AKA, we closely follow trends and latest developments
in higher education and the nonprofit sector.

Here are some recent articles and reports that we found particularly informative.
From Los Angeles Review of Books:
Grotesque Inequity: Christopher Newfield on Higher Education
By Jeffrey J. Williams
Friendly gadfly, tireless advocate for public higher education, and leader in the "critical university studies" field, Christopher Newfield debunks conventional wisdom and points out hypocrisies. The sciences are subsidizing the humanities, he argues, not the reverse. States eagerly supported public education from 1960-90 when institutions were overwhelmingly white but would not pay the same amount from 1990 on as the number of students of color grew. Newfield highlights the shift in government support from public to private higher education, resulting "gross inequity in access…that reproduces systems of power and wealth." Read this article
From New York Times:
The Path to Social Equity in Higher Ed Doesn’t Run Through Harvard
By Jay Caspian Kang
With the Supreme Court poised to overturn affirmative action in college admissions, the author notes a common misconception that every college employs some form of affirmative action, pointing out that less than 10 percent consider race. Most colleges are less selective and simply reflect the people who apply. Instead of focusing on affirmative action, the author proposes aggressively taxing the significant endowments of the most selective colleges to expand and normalize pipelines from community colleges to state universities—more effectively creating opportunities. Read this article
From New York Times:
How It Feels to Be an Asian Student in an Elite Public School
By Michael Powell
Academically selective magnet schools are targets of caustic criticism nationwide for their low enrollment of Black and Latino students. At New York City’s Brooklyn Technical High School, where admission is by standardized test, 61 percent of the school’s students are of Asian descent, compared to just 15 percent who are Black or Latino—nearly the exact reverse of the City’s public schools, leading to charges of functional racism. Using the voices of Brooklyn Tech students, parents, and faculty themselves, this article offers a nuanced view that forces reconsideration what is meant by equity, diversity, merit, and access. Read this article

From Forbes:
For HBCUs Cheated Out Of Billions, Bomb Threats Are The Latest Indignity
By Susan Adams
Compared to their predominantly white counterparts, the nation’s Black land-grant universities have been underfunded by at least $12.8 billion over the last three decades. While recent bomb threats against several HBCUs highlight the cloud of violence under which they live, blatant and systematic underfunding is a greater threat to their long-term survival. State legislatures regularly flout laws requiring them to match Federal land-grant funding. When schools fight back against such sanctioned discrimination, they run a long legal gauntlet. Three Mississippi public HBCUs won a $500 million settlement from the state in 2002—after a lawsuit that dragged on for 27 years. Read this article
Further Reading
From Third Way:
Out With the Old, In With the New: Rating Higher Ed by Economic Mobility
By Michael Itzkowitz
Ranking the impact of colleges’ social mobility based only on the return on educational investment to their low-income students ignores their overall impact on social mobility in society. Highly selective schools top the rankings because they admit such a small share of low-income students. The "Economic Mobility Index" proposed by the author looks at ROI but also considers how many such students institutions enroll. For example, nine institutions ranked in the top 10 on ROI alone, sink below 350 when taking account of the number of low-income students enrolled. The tenth (and only public) institution? It enrolls nearly as many Pell-grant students as the other nine institutions combined! Read this article
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