Accessing Equity


The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students by Anthony Jack 
Harvard University Press, March 1, 2019

Anthony Jack opens his powerful new book, The Privileged Poor, with a question he asked himself on his first day as a freshman at Amherst. "Where are the other poor black kids?" Drawing upon sustained fieldwork at "Renowned" -- an elite college in New England -- and his own experience as a student who went to prep school for a year before college, Jack shines a light on the diverse range of experiences for disadvantaged students in higher education. In particular, he makes a distinction between the so-called "privileged poor" -- students who attended independent schools or pre-college programs such as Prep for Prep -- and the "doubly disadvantaged," students who arrive lacking preparation and who often find themselves mystified by the hidden curricula and expectations of elite schools. Jack's analysis highlights a second crucial distinction as well: the difference between access and equity. He shows how these two terms are not synonymous, and schools that have made real efforts to create more diverse student bodies now need to do the challenging -- and ongoing -- work of creating inclusive learning environments where all students feel seen, heard, and able to succeed. This outstanding book offers many lessons for educators as we consider both our own schools and the colleges and universities that our graduates will be attending.

Submitted By: Andrew Housiaux, Phillips Academy, Andover, MA

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