The New York Times' series on social class in America continued this past week. As I mentioned previously, these types of issues fascinate me. The latest two articles address the role of education and the potential for upward mobility amongst immigrants.
In the first article, the authors point out that the gap in earnings power between college graduates and non-college graduates continues to grow. Thus, the number of people who are starting college has continued to rise, but unfortunately, many of them aren't finishing. This seems to be a reason that the gap between rich and poor endures today, as the children of the well-off are those who are likely to finish college. The poor remain unlikely to finish, and thus, tend to remain poor. The route of upward mobility goes through college, but the question now is, how can we encourage those least likely to go to finish?
The second article discusses the question of whether Mexican immigrants are just as likely as previous immigrant groups to become integrated into American society. This is actually a hotly debated issue amongst social scientists. I tend to think that given time they will, just like every previous group has. The major difference, of course, is that the land of origin is next door, and thus it's more difficult to focus only on their new life here.
The encompassing question remains, does the unfettered opportunity for class mobility remain?