Sunday, April 16, 2006

David Brooks is wrong: On the Chris Matthew's Show today, David Brooks of the New York Times said that the reason why it is increasingly difficult to get into an elite university is because talented girls (and minorities) who were until recently oppressed have finally been freed to pursue elite educations. Let's take a break from pundit bloviation, and look at the facts. I did a Google search, and the first stats I came across were for Cornell. Back in the dark days of the 198os, only one-half of undergraduates there were female (44% in 1988). After almost 2 decades of female liberation, by 2005 that figure had risen by a gargantuan 4 percentage points. What an outpouring of previously imprisoned talent.


joe o said...

For some schools, David Brooks is right.

The percentage of undergraduate women in the School of Arts and Sciences climbed from 4.7% in 1970-71 to 38.2% in 1985-86; even the School of Engineering, 22.2% of the undergraduates enrolled were women.

The current male/female ratio is 52/48.

Ron Guhname said...

Thanks for the stats--you can see I love stats. What Brooks was arguing is that the signficant decrease in admission rates to elite universities this year is due to talented but oppressed females being freed in this past year to apply to these kinds of schools. I tried show this idea to be false with very indirect data that looked at the past 2 decades. It would be better if we could find numbers concerning the changes in the number of females applications between this year and last year. I couldn't find them, but am confident that they changed very little.

Robert said...

Graduation rates would also be nice to know, to assess the effect of the girls who go to elite colleges to find an "elite husband" and then quit. Oh, yes, they still exist, I'm sure!

Calico Cat said...

"Graduation rates would also be nice to know, to assess the effect of the girls who go to elite colleges to find an 'elite husband' and then quit."

It's not socially acceptable these days for the upper middle class to drop out of college, regardless of sex.