04/11/2017

How Today’s Liberal Kids Are Going To Ruin College

Naomi Schaefer Riley, New York Post

The college crackup is coming. That’s the message we should get after reading about the two different kinds of kids who were admitted to elite universities this month.

Take Martin Altenburg. A senior from Fargo, ND, who was accepted at all eight Ivy League schools, Altenburg had superior test scores (a 35 out of 36 on the ACT, a score of 5 on each of the AP exams he took), in addition to being a violinist and a three-sport athlete.

He wasn’t sure college was even a real option. “Originally my parents didn’t want me to apply to these schools because they thought we’d have to pay full price which, at a lot of these schools, is more than our yearly income,” he told his local paper.

Then there’s Ziad Ahmed, a senior at Princeton Day School in Princeton, NJ, who got into Stanford after he answered the application question, “What matters to you, and why?” by writing “Black Lives Matter” 100 times without further explanation.

Ahmed, who has given a TEDx talk about the impact of prejudice, already had a long history of activism before this most recent stunt. He interned for Martin O’Malley, volunteered for Hillary Clinton’s campaign and has been invited to the Obama White House.

And let’s just say getting into elite schools (he was also admitted to Yale and Princeton) was always the plan. His father, a hedge-fund manager, went to Yale. His mother is an electrical engineer turned stay-at-home mom.

Not too long ago, colleges were a vehicle for upward mobility; many of the best schools had a significant population of working-class kids who were hoping to be exposed to higher learning in part so that they could do better than their parents. Some of them came to love higher learning for its own sake too.

But in recent years a kind of sorting has occurred — something Charles Murray wrote about in his book, “Coming Apart” — such that a greater and greater percentage of kids at four-year colleges are the children of parents (and even grandparents) who themselves went to such schools.

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