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The Power Elite And Nepotism In America

Nepotism in America. From the political elite to the boardroom suite, we’ll look at the rise of family ties. Plus, we’ll look at the new shape of the SAT exam, and what it will mean for young college applicants.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., taks on his phone just off the Senate floor following lunch with fellow Democrats, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013. His daughter's M.B.A. was determined to have been incorrectly granted in 2008 after a lengthy investigation. (AP)

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., taks on his phone just off the Senate floor following lunch with fellow Democrats, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013. His daughter’s M.B.A. was determined to have been incorrectly granted in 2008 after a lengthy investigation. (AP)

Parents look out for their kids.  It’s the way of the world.  But in a time of sharply heightened inequality in America, those connections – call it nepotism – can have eye-popping results.  Europe long assumed inherited advantage.  Took it for granted.  The U.S. has prided itself as the land of merit.  Get ahead on your merits.  But advantage is concentrating.  And, says, a new report, linking to politics. This hour On Point:  the power elite and nepotism in America.  Plus, we’ll look at the new shape of the SAT exam, and what it will mean for young college applicants.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Clare Malone, web editor at The American Prospect. (@claremalone)

Katherine Newman, dean of the Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins University. Author of “No Shame In My Game: The Working Poor in the Inner City.” Co-author of  “Taxing the Poor: Doing Damage To the Truly Disadvantaged.”

From Tom’s Reading List

The Daily Beast: Get Elected, Get Your Kids Rich: Washington Is Spoiled Rotten — “Connected children of political families catching a break is something we Americans are plenty used to—there would be no Kennedy or Bush dynasties without the public’s acceptance that some people just raise their kids up all square-jawed and rolled shirtsleeves, ready to run for office. But the nexus of private business and politics is always one that’s skated over lightly in high school civics classes. Perhaps that’s why there was so much consternation over the recent revelations that Wall Street banks had hired the children of prominent Chinese politicians with hopes of currying favor with those who wield power over business decisions in the rising economic superpower.”

The Atlantic: In Praise of Nepotism — “The widespread perception of a tilt toward nepotism is correct: the American political class, along with other sectors of our society, is increasingly filled with the offspring of established parents. This phenomenon has gone largely unnoticed or has been apprehended in a piecemeal fashion. The few who have commented on it have voiced alarm that we are returning to a society based on hereditary status, complete with a corporate aristocracy and a political House of Lords. ”

Washington Post: Are we becoming more tolerant of nepotism? –“Now, the public (or at least the press) seems to me much less likely to discount the accomplishments of the well-connected children of the rich and powerful. Along similar lines, though you can certainly still find jokes about the boss’s son/nephew/brother-in-law, but they don’t seem nearly as pervasive as they were through most of the 20th Century.”

College Board Announces Big Changes To The SAT

Chronicle of Higher Education: College Board Unveils Plans for New SAT — “Unlike the current SAT essay, the new version will measure students’ ability to analyze source material. How, the prompt might ask, has the author built a persuasive argument? Responses will be scored on the strength of the analysis as well as the coherence of the writing. In short, students will no longer be able to get by writing about their personal experiences.”

Eric Hoover, senior writer at the Chronicle of Higher Education. (@erichoov)

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