How did American colleges and universities go from being a powerful engine for social mobility, to a mighty force against it? In his explosive book The Inequality Machine, Paul Tough combines deep, authoritative reporting with the vivid stories of students themselves, to reveal where higher education went wrong.
For a long time, the relationship between higher education and social mobility was straight forward. “Going to college was the single best way for young Americans to improve their station in life,” explains author Paul Tough. Unfortunately, there are many signs that show us this is no longer the case. In The Inequality Machine, Tough considers why higher education no longer works the way it used to, and how we can return the system to its lofty ideals.
He spent six years and travelled to twenty-one states investigating this question, from flagship state universities to community college math classes to the Ivy Leagues. Everywhere he went, Tough talked to young people, hoping to understand the lived experience of a young person trying to go to college today—especially those from families without a ton of money. “We have created immense challenges at every stage of the college process for students from working-class and low-income families,” says Tough. “They face obstacles in applying to college. They face obstacles in paying for college. If they do make it to highly selective institutions, they often experience an intense culture shock when they arrive on campus and find themselves surrounded by wealth and privilege.”
The result of his in-depth reporting is The Inequality Machine: a book that not only paints a picture of the current state of higher education, but outlines the innovative reforms we’ll need to improve. Join Tough in a live Q&A with The Lavin Agency on Thursday, April 8th where he’ll answer your questions on the future of higher education (in a post-pandemic era, no less). Register for FREE today, limited spots available.
To book education speaker Paul Tough for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency today, his exclusive speakers bureau.