High-Achieving, Low-Income Students: Where Elite Colleges Are Falling Short


The lack of support didn’t hold Neuman back — she applied early to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — where she’ll start her senior year this year. But low-income, high-achieving students like Neuman make up just 3 percent of enrollment at elite colleges, the report says. Not having anyone to guide them through the application process is just one of the many reasons there aren’t more of them.

The report looks at the barriers these students face, drawing on surveys of low-income students and interviews with admissions officers at selective schools. When I spoke with the report’s author, Jennifer Glynn, she acknowledged that high schools and counselors play a role, but said colleges can do a lot more, too.

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Elissa Nadworny — NPR

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Is it fair to say that most social programmes don’t work?


Facts! Today’s needull looks rigorously on the claim that most social programmes do not work.

So is it fair to say “most social programmes don’t work?”

I think this is a little ambiguous and potentially misleading. Individual projects mostly don’t work, but whole areas often do have a positive impact. So, if you pick an intervention at random, then on average your impact will be positive, because there’s a small but important chance of you picking one of the good ones.

However, if you can focus on the best interventions in an area according to the evidence, then you can have significantly more impact than the average. For instance, if two thirds of interventions don’t work, then if you can avoid these, you’ll have about three times as much impact as if you work on whatever you first stumble into, and pick randomly.

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80,000 Hours

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Calling your husband by name for the first time


This needull is very close to home. My mother and many other women in India have never called their husband by name. But, things are changing.


When speaking to us children, she always referred to him as “babuji” – the Hindi word for “father” that we used. When addressing him directly, she always said “Hey ho”, which means roughly “Hey you”.

As teenagers when we became aware of the fact, we made fun of her. We tried to trick her into saying his name just once. But she never did.

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Geeta Pandey — BBC Magazine

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Did 13 Reasons Why Spark a Suicide Contagion Effect?


There is a debate going on whether the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why should have depicted suicide the way it did.

The study, while troubling, is not entirely surprising. In May, I examined how 13 Reasons Why managed to break virtually every rule that exists when it comes to portraying suicide, featuring a graphic, prolonged scene of the main character’s death in the final episode and glamorizing it as a force for positive change in her community. One of the biggest concerns among psychologists and educators was that the show might spark a contagion effect, where increased coverage of suicide in the media leads to a related increase in suicide attempts. Netflix doesn’t release data regarding its viewing figures, but the wide discussion of the show on social media (it became the most-tweeted about show of 2017) implies that a significant number of people watched it, particularly teenagers. The rush to produce a follow-up season (currently being filmed and scheduled for a 2018 release) indicates the show has been a big hit for the streaming service.

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Sophie Gilbert — The Atlantic

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Economies of Scale Killed the American Dream


Why is there so much inequality in the US? People have been trying to find answers.

The attempt to channel this fierce struggle for the heights of wealth and power through a national education system explains the concentration of America’s smartest and most ambitious. But the wicked marriage of meritocracy and economies of scale bears a more subtle cost. Let us return to the essay we started with, “RIP, American Dream.” Why does Mr. O’Brien say the the American Dream died?

“This is how the American Dream ends. Not with a bang, but a whimper of elite school applications by poor kids. Like it or not, the Ivies and other top schools are our conduit to the top, and far too many low-income students who should be there are not.”

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The Scholar’s Stage

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An Ex-Bollywood Actress Challenges Indian Stereotypes With Her Debut Novel


An interesting novel, based in Delhi and Gurgaon about the insecurities of wealthy Indian upper middle class.

Set in present day New Delhi, The Windfall begins as the Jha family comes into wealth, after Mr. Jha sells a phone directory website to an American company for $20 million (although his son Rupak, studying for an MBA in upstate New York, ruefully notes that the company is now worth $200 million). With their new cash influx, the Jhas decide to move from their small East Delhi flat in a compound of tight-knit (and nosy) neighbors to a sprawling modern house in the shiny new suburb of Gurgaon, replete with lawns, private golf clubs, and a guard in front of every iron gate.

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Manisha Aggarwal-Schifellite — Elle

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U.S. Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Mark A. Milley, visits the U.S. Army National Training Center, Ft. Irwin, Calif., Nov. 6, 2016.

Can a soldier disobey orders? In some cases they can.

The military is a hierarchical organization. Some degree of obedience to the orders of superior officers is required for the organization to function. But those who serve in the U.S. military are not automatons, and they are not asked to surrender all independent moral judgment when they sign their enlistment papers. American service members are defending a nation of laws, not of men. Their obligation to obey the orders of their superiors does not include orders that are palpably illegal.

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John Ford — War on the Rocks

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