Meritocracy, Elitism, and Class Issues

<p>WCMom1958, I hasten to add that we're the Land's End/LLBean-wearing type of Fussell Xs, not the Tsing Loh, West-Coast type. </p>

<p>A good exploration of meritocracy and elitism can be found in the memoir, Lost in the Meritocracy. It began as an Atlantic article: Lost</a> in the Meritocracy - Magazine - The Atlantic.</p>

<p>Flowers - good book. I learned some and laughed a lot... Did you score your house on the Living Room Scale in the appendix? It would have been fun to do that with all the Admissions Offices during bs visits... wish I had thought of that last Fall!</p>

<p>I was actually thinking of this book today when I saw a bumper sticker - actually a large window glass sticker - that proudly announced FLORIDA GATORS NATIONAL CHAMPIONS. Well - the last national championship was in 2008. I think Fussell mentions there should be a time limit on these bumper stickers.... are you still a proud UofXYZ mom when your kid is 50? Really, there are times to just move on...</p>

<p>In our part of agricultural Florida only 'bad' kids get 'sent away.' (We are transplants.)
However, my dh is a one man marketing campaign for bs and has, over ten years, managed to interest a few other families. It is nice to see when a kid gets a chance to move on from 'this here town.'</p>

<p>@periwinkle, enjoyed tsing loh and review of Fussell, will look at Tolkin too!</p>

<p>I mentioned that I found Fussell somewhat disconcerting & very funny. Liked especially the LR scale!</p>

<p>@Periwinkle: are you apologizing for being an LLbean/Land's End type or for being a conformist of any kind? No answer required. I'm more of a hide-out myself, which is hardly something to brag about, but having kids forces you to reckon with the world, n'est ce pas? Thanks for the "Lost in the Meritocracy" piece. It could really assuage my angst if next Thursday's news isn't what I think I want!</p>

<p>@ylaxw1123</p>

<p>I grew up and still have family north of you. I'm still within driving distance. We'll have to agree to disagree. Based on my ongoing conversations with my own school and other alumni - it's not as rosy as you paint it.</p>

<p>The term "crowbar" comes up a lot as it pertains to finding eligible and qualified midwestern application. Many schools have stopped traveling to the midwest because the time and expense didn't justify the response from parents who were resistant to even considering them as options.</p>

<p>The distribution curve of applications has held pretty steady over the years as overweight on the two coasts and international locations. The midwest - in general - is an enigma.</p>

<p>
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Because the kids go away to college and don't come back.

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<p>Both my husband and I attended highly specialized magnets in the south and I can count on one hand how many of our friends still live in our home state. Even when they don't go out of state, but simply to one of the handful of private colleges, they leave in droves.</p>

<p>So I understand parents' concern about their kids leaving. What I don't understand is why they would want to restrict their kids. It just seems selfish.</p>

<p>@wcmom1958, oh, no, I'm not apologizing. I just thought that my comment could have led readers to believe that I was claiming to be a West-Coast creative class X type, bamboo tables included, which is not accurate. We're not conformists, but we're East Coast nonconformists. (I think the West Coast non conformists are having more fun.)</p>

<p>
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So I understand parents' concern about their kids leaving. What I don't understand is why they would want to restrict their kids. It just seems selfish.

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</p>

<p>Grandchildren. :)</p>

<p>@Periwinkle: I think we left coasters have been having more fun, but there is an impending sense that we are being pulled into a world we could laugh at before. I think it's called globalization.</p>

<p>Exie: Different parts of the Midwest are different. Maybe living in a college town changes things? (OSU) And being Asian and having everyone be at the top of the class at all of their public high schools is a factor.</p>

<p>@ylaxw1123</p>

<p>I think you're right about the college town thought process being more open to the concept in general. There seems to be a correlation when I looked at distribution of applicants across the midwest when I was talking with Adcoms during my D's boarding schools visits. It mirrors what I'm seeing with MIT applicants here and what other Adcoms from Yale and Brown have told me.</p>

<p>But outside of that - even in major metropolitan areas - the response to the subject has sometimes bordered on hostile. I travel a lot to schools as part of my day job and I have to tread cautiously when bringing up the subject.</p>

<p>There are a kazillion people at the ivys from Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit, Kansas City, Olathe, Minneapolis, Cleveland to name a few. Just look at the matriculation stats of the schools in these cities. Don't express your gut feelings as to what it might be, go with the stats.</p>

<p>The d never attended schools in the city that had stickers, I was sad but moved on. </p>

<p>When my d was accepted at DA she asked me would I put a sticker in the window, I said sure and she was proud. But as Exie said, in the midwest they are clueless about the sticker and some even think she goes to school in Deerfield, Illinois---lol--(Note: Deerfield, Illinois does not have an academy).</p>

<p>Hellenic American Academy
1085 Lake Cook Rd
Deerfield, Illinois 60015</p>

<p>Can't say it bothers me one way or the other what people choose to put on the backs of their cars...unless they're calling me with the sole purpose of bragging on their kids when I've got papers to grade, I'm interested in what other people's kids are doing. </p>

<p>On the other hand, that Ivy League thing where the students say they go to school in "New Jersey" or "Cambridge" has always struck me as the apex of elitism. I mean, c'mon...what exactly could people be saying to them that is so horrible? I can't tell people I'm an English teacher without someone saying, "Oooh, I better watch my grammar," but it doesn't make me say, "I work for the state." Being gracious means answering a question straightforwardly and simply, and gritting your teeth and smiling gently when someone says something rude back.</p>

<p>I sat next to a former Ivy league admissions officer at a dinner. I remember that he confirmed what Exie has stated. It is hard to recruit Midwestern students, as many of the most promising won't even look at colleges on the coast. Something along the lines of, "Why should we when we can go to our good state universities?"</p>

<p>Heck, makes sense to me.</p>

<p>Is the admissions officer very old or retired a long time ago? Now-a-days you can find mw students in every nook and corner of ivy campuses.</p>

<p>^its also a finnancial issue. a lot of people i know could've gotten into better colleges, not necessarily ivies, but they didnt have money and got full scholarships at state schools. one of my family friends got a full scholarship for undergrad at OSU and then went on to Cambridge University in (obviously) Cambridge!</p>

<p>We just do not talk about our kids and school. Here are typical reactions.</p>

<p>Ohio: Your kids are in BS?
What did they do wrong?
They give a look of "It is too bad. I feel sorry for your kids.."</p>

<p>New England/NYC area: How did they get in? They must be smart. (H and A of HADES)</p>

<p>You are better off going to the State University vs. Ivy league if you intend to stay in the area for your career - exceptions are at large corporations headquartered in the Midwest where they do recruit at top colleges.</p>

<p>
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the students say they go to school in "New Jersey" or "Cambridge" has always struck me as the apex of elitism.

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<p>It's not always elitism. The fact is that people seem to think they know all about a school and the people who go there when it's famous and jump to all kinds of conclusions. Sometimes, it's just easier to avoid it. Your son hasn't told anyone that he simply "goes to boarding school" or that he "goes to school in New Hampshire."? When people ask me where my son goes to school I usually just say, "New Hampshire." But that's because I'm not always so good at gritting my teeth. :O</p>

<p>Nah...he tells them he goes to Exeter. Of course, we live in the Midwest, so he usually either gets the "Ummm...did you do something wrong?" type response, a blank stare, or, from a very few people, a polite, "Oh wow, I know about Exeter. That's a great school, congratulations"--which makes him feel warm and fuzzy.</p>

<p>But don't mind me...it's all my buried bitter feelings about my high school boyfriend who went to Harvard surfacing... :/</p>