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America’s Broken Bootstraps. By Marghi Demer, Nancy Harris, Jonathan Herron, and Tanner Scott. The Passage. Vocabulary. Audience. Well-educated – middle class and above Written on “The Washington Post” People who have power – people who can act on his argument Doesn’t propose plan

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america s broken bootstraps

America’s Broken Bootstraps

By Marghi Demer, Nancy Harris, Jonathan Herron, and Tanner Scott

  • Well-educated – middle class and above
    • Written on “The Washington Post”
  • People who have power – people who can act on his argument
    • Doesn’t propose plan
  • Americans
    • Addresses Americans
      • “Americans must head the warnings…”
  • Families
    • “Families are the primary transmitters of human capital”
  • To persuade – through use of logos
    • “Graduates earn 70 percent more than those with only high school diplomas. In 1980, the difference was just 30 percent.”
    • “by the time they reach age 3, children of professional parents have heard some 45 million words addressed to them -- as opposed to only 26 million word for working-class kids, and a mere 13 million words in the case of kids on welfare.”
  • To address a broken system in his opinion
    • “This orientation favors the intellectually nimble.”
    • “Who gets ahead, who struggles to keep up, and who gets left behind are now determined primarily by how people cope with the mental challenges of complexity.”
  • Educated
    • Diction: “relatively minor role”, “particularly educable”, determinative of academic and vocational success”
  • Middle/upper class man
    • “All education favors the middle- and upper-class child”  Educated himself, possibly speaking from experience.
  • Neo-conservative
    • “Heroes of modern conservatism”
    • “Expanding equality of opportunity increases inequality”
    • Thinks there is not much of a solution
    • Essentialist
      • Fixed and biological
      • “Some people are simply better able than others to exploit opportunities.”
  • Education system is flawed
    • “Dominant distinction defining socioeconomic class is black and white, those with and without college degrees”
  • Favors upper classes
      • “All education favors the middle and upper class child”
  • Not much of a solution
    • “Individualism cannot survive unless upward mobility is a fact”  Can social mobility ever be fact? Ever a solution?
  • Social mobility is declining in America
    • “People raised in upper middle class are far more likely to stay there than move down”
  • Simple, direct, straightforward
    • Cited research
      • “Lindsey cited research showing that “ by the time they reach age 3…”
  • Slightly opinionated, critical
    • “Small wonder those with college…”
      • “less favorable”
      • “they rake in money” on colleges
  • Use of italics to add emphasis
    • Couplet in the beginning
    • “All education favors the….”
    • “….vocabularies are already large among toddlers.”
  • The use of dashes to elaborate
    • “And ‘assortative mating’ – likes marry likes – concentrates class….”
discussion questions
Discussion Questions

What was your interpretation of the couplet? Why did he chose to use it in the article?

Why didn’t George F. Will offer a solution to the problem of education in America today?

In our society, do you believe that “individualism cannot survive unless upward mobility is a fact”? Why or why not?