Part of the Bay Area News Group

Generation Recession

By Katy Murphy
Sunday, March 8th, 2009 at 9:33 pm in college, families, students, teens.


image from buckle1535′s photostream at flickr.com/creativecommons

I saw two stories in the New York Times this weekend about how a prolonged recession might affect children and teenagers — one about how it could shape their ambitions and values in the long-term, as the Great Depression did for those born in the 1920s, and another about how the economy has complicated the college admissions process (for colleges).

Looking for a silver lining? Here’s what the Times story had to say about what some are calling “a students’ market” in college admissions:

Colleges have been in the catbird seat for the past decade or so. As the number of high school students swelled, applications rose, allowing colleges to be more selective. And families benefiting from a flush stock market seemed willing to pay whatever tuition colleges charged.

But all that has changed. For students, the uncertainty could be good news: colleges will admit more students, offer more generous financial aid, and, in some cases, send acceptance letters a few weeks earlier. Then again, it could prolong the agony: some institutions say they will rely more on their waiting lists. But there is no question, admissions officers say, that this year is more of a students’ market.

What are your predictions? High school families: Have you experienced this so-called students’ market?

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  • John

    It seems, from what I’ve been reading, there’s also a silver lining for public education enrollment (K-12 & college) and a sewer lining for private education. There’s going to be a lot more ivy growing over the Ivy Leagues if their budget cuts no longer enable them to afford the (legal or illegal) gardeners to keep it cut.

    I used to be cynical about the use of rap as an educational tool, BUT this rap done proved me wrong! Another educational silver lining of our free fall economy complemented by a free spending government.

    It is particularly instructive for those who never took an economics class and/or never understood where the likes of Obamanonics be taking us. CHECK IT OUT SCHOLARS!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eobfR27Ti-w

  • Nextset

    Education, for those who are born with the capacity to take education – is an engine of social mobility.

    A depression (25%+ unemployment) pushes most people into survival mode. Day to Day survival doesn’t leave much room for education which is an investment in the future.

    My take on what is happening is that this nation is among many other things heading into a climate of haves and have-nots with little in between. In other words, Alphas and Betas. The two groups will have different language and culture, will only marry/reproduce within their group (assortive mating).

    A vibrant public school system could be used to promote social mobility and to improve the lot of the Betas. We are deliberately doing the opposite. Our public schools now train Betas to be Betas. The Alphas are checking out into private schools K-12.

    And Betas do not do College. They may falsely name some of their Beta academies “college”, but in general Betas have no use for any real education – training, maybe. Betas can be trained to be higher functioning Betas. But if you look closely, the higher functioning Betas will always work with lesser autonomy, closer supervision, and tend to punch a clock and get paid overtime.

    Yes in a depression the Alphas have more options in spending their money. That’s what we may see with Alpha schooling. Good for them.

    This country would be a lot better off if we returned the public school system to the performance we had in 1960. I don’t see that happening because the elites – ie Pelosi & Obama & Co – are quite content with this Brave New World.

  • TheTruthHurts

    I don’t agree with Nextset often, but unless Obama has a magic wand, people will not be investing in the future because they can’t pay for their present. They won’t or can’t borrow. Cash will be scarce. Those who are able to gain skills and connections on the cheap will the ones capable of social mobility. More of the well-off will fall down from their pedestal than poor people will move up. It will happen (it always does), but not in large numbers.

    If Obama is lucky, this won’t happen because his investments will pay off and not be sucked into the black hole our economy seems to be at the moment.

  • http://perimeterprimate.blogspot.com/ Sharon

    Another Report on Effects of Poverty You Will Never See Reported in Corporate Media (Schools Matter at http://schoolsmatter.blogspot.com/:

    As Arne and the Disruptors prepare to unload their billion-dollar bribes to cash-starved states that are willing to buy the Business Roundtable’s antiquarian reform agenda of national high stakes tests, teacher pay based on test scores, and the deprofessionalization of teaching, another piece of research from David Berliner adds to the mountain of data that points to the reason for low achievement that the Business Roundtable and Achieve, Inc. continue to ignore: POVERTY. But, then, without poverty, how could the BR and Achieve, Inc. continue to demonize the schools and to offer their own solutions that serve no one besides their own corporate interests. Poverty, in fact, keeps the Business Roundtable in the business of educational control initiatives operated by the education industry.

    http://epicpolicy.org/newsletter/2009/03/blame-school-achievement-gap-misplaced
    Blame for School Achievement Gap Misplaced: New policy report explains how poverty’s effects are the real culprit

    A new report issues a fundamental challenge to established education policies that were promoted by the Bush administration and are likely to be continued by the Obama administration. These policies are based on a belief that public schools should shoulder the blame for the “achievement gap” between poor and minority students and the rest of the student population. But the new policy report argues that out-of-school factors are the real culprit–and that if those factors are not addressed, it will be impossible for schools to meet the demands made of them.

    “Schools are told to fix problems that largely lie outside their zone of influence,” says David Berliner, Regents Professor of Education at Arizona State University, and author of the report, Poverty and Potential: Out-of-School Factors and School Success. The report is jointly published by the Education Policy Research Unit (EPRU) of ASU and the Education and the Public Interest Center (EPIC) at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

  • Catherine

    For the students at the hills school my daughter attends, the recession might just be enough to jolt some families into reality.

    The kids compare who at school has a Wii and what games they own, where they go on vacation and who has a full time stay at home parent vs a part time stay at home parent vs (gasp) two parents who both work full time.

    There are cell phone handily placed into private pockets in backpacks and jackets, kids who are given notes to get out of homework assignments because they and their families were too busy and excuse after excuse of why the child and her or his family is so special.

    Quite honestly, it will be nice if some of the entitlement simmers down.

  • Nextset

    Catherine: I once said that many Piedmont kids are only a divorce away from living off Seminary Ave and/or going to Skyline. By this time next year some of the entitlement will simmer down. And we will see if harder times translates to more divorce also.

    But still some people get pnuemonia when others just get a cold.

    I wish our public schools – especially the Urban ones – would refocus on a mission statement that they will prepare every child, graduating or not, for military enlistment, vocational work or higher education by age 18. That mission needs to be on the business cards and letterheads of these schools to remind the school staff that they are not here to make little social activists or whatever other political activists or “caring” people they seem to love so much.

    We are running these schools so that the students we produce in them have a fair start in life at age 18 no matter how low their bio-moms and dads are. The wealthy, the smart, and the powerful can always take care of themselves. For everyone else, the public schools are the only thing between the student and the gutter in this society. The fleeting years before age 18 have got to be made to count. Especially in a depression, Especially with open borders bringing in both higher IQ and lower IQ competition for jobs, housing and spouses.

    And I’ll say it again. I’m not pushing the military although I believe we are going to see new militarism hit this country including a resumption of the draft (preceeded by dropping the “don’t ask/tell” policy). There will be war – it comes with worldwide depression. Military service offers a tremendous benefits not available otherwise to 18 year olds with no prospects, and I’m tired of you-know-who being disqualified right off the bat and not having the options that even foreign nationals walk in and take.

    If there are no jobs – and I believe the new numbers from Colusa County are 27% unemployment with numbers rising around the state and higher numbers always for blacks than every other ethnic group – military service is an option that should not be thrown away because a student has not been coached on keeping that option open.

  • Jon Simon

    Sharon,
    You are so right. Poverty is the largest factor in student success. All this focus on testing is a waste of time and money. Trying to improve curriculum and teachers is certainly worthwhile, but should not be the focus. It usually comes down to poverty.

  • Nextset

    Jon Simon: Poverty doesn’t cause crime or bad school performance. Poverty is the end result of present oriented thinking – live for today – that is itself a product of the biology of the subjects involved. Think IQ. There is research on relative national IQ – IQ and the Wealth of Nations – matching studies on the national averages of IQ and wealth & production of the various nations of the world. Broke smart people aren’t broke for long and don’t stay broke.

    Being dumb, slow thinking or however you want to describe low IQ, makes you poor (in the long run) and it transmits through the generations. Training can greatly improve the life of these people if you can get the training into them. Letting the “poor” do what they want is giving them the rope to hang themselves.

    Public Schooling is this nations’ lowest common denominator of education and training and it’s the public schools that are here to do something for the left side of the bell curve. The right side can take care of themselves. Of course the left side of the bell curve is (relatively) poor, they always will be.

    Now what are the public schools going to do for them?

    I hope the public schools will make it their mission to teach/train the “poor” to speak and write standard english (I know that’s asking a lot…), to teach enough US Civics so the left side of the curve can be reasonably able to stay out of trouble and participate in society as a legal if not social equal, to teach enough health and sanitation so that the “poor” have a chance on the mortality tables, and finally to teach enough deportment and vocational skill so that even the “poor” know where the jobs are in government and industry and know well how to get entry level work.

    I wonder if OUSD even pretends to have all this done for it’s students graduating or not before age 18.

    Trying to teach everybody algebra and play acting they are all going to college makles things worse. A public school should expect poor students – a lot of them – and the school should be ready willing and able to produce results with “poor” people. Start by not treating them like they are college bound if they aren’t.

  • http://www.howtosurvivearecession.net/category/unemployment/ Valerie

    There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points.