FutureU Podcast Ep. 148: The Role of Higher Ed in the American Dream

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Jeff Selingo and Michael Horn bring New York Times columnist David Leonhardt to discuss his book, “Ours Was The Shining Future: The Story of the American Dream.” They discuss the evolution of education standards in the United States, as the country adopted high school as the standard level of education and increasingly encourages citizens to get higher education for a more advanced economy. Leonhardt points out the benefits of having a four-year degree and how there are persistent gaps from those with only a high school diploma. This gap presents itself in political dynamics, as working class people are shifting towards the Republican Party, and Democrats comparatively struggle with congressional districts that have rural biases. Leonhardt ends his discussion by identifying that the benefits of higher education have diminished over the years, and attributes it to economic policies that stifle wages and workers rights.

Leonhardt: “[Four-year college] shouldn’t just be for the children of relatively privileged people like all of us and many of the people listening to this podcast. The opportunity really should be there for everyone, even though many people understandably will decide, ‘You know what? That’s not what I want. I want something different.’”

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