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Passing the Torch: Does Higher Education for the Disadvantaged Pay Off Across the Generations?


reviewed by James E. Rosenbaum - December 05, 2008

coverTitle: Passing the Torch: Does Higher Education for the Disadvantaged Pay Off Across the Generations?
Author(s): Paul Attewell and David Lavin
Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation, New York
ISBN: 0871540371, Pages: 268, Year: 2007
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I have long admired David Lavin's enduring commitment to understanding the 1970s reforms of City University of New York (CUNY). Defending Colleges Instead of Improving Them: Review of Passing the Torch, written by David Lavin and Paul Attewell, presents the latest follow-up of this cohort, examining new outcomes. While presenting provocative and useful findings, the book is disappointing in failing to acknowledge the complexity of the topic. In an attempt to identify opposition to their point of view, prior findings from other researchers are misrepresented and distorted. The CUNY reforms were the first large-scale efforts to expand college access and were very impressive at the time. Responding to protests, CUNY’s four-year colleges expanded enrollment to include the top 50% of high school graduates, while lower-achieving students could enroll in the system’s two-year colleges. This reform paved the way for many others, and, as Lavin and Attewell note, this led to broader... (preview truncated at 150 words.)


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: December 05, 2008
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 15457, Date Accessed: 11/13/2019 7:38:29 PM

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About the Author
  • James Rosenbaum
    Northwestern University
    JAMES E. ROSENBAUM, PhD, is professor of sociology, education, and social policy at Northwestern University. His main areas of interest are education, work, social stratification, and careers and the life course. His recent book, Beyond College for All: Career Paths for the Forgotten Half, received the American Sociological Association’s Willard Waller Award for Distinguished Scholarship in the sociology of education. He is currently conducting studies on the transition to work among community college students.
 
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