Exhausted from the 2015-2016 election season, one may want to escape its overheated rhetoric and nasty partisanship. But the societal conditions that led Democrats, Republicans, and Independents to assert loudly, “The system is rigged!” hangs in the air. Ordinary folks feel left behind and wronged. They believe that they are working harder than ever and getting nowhere, perhaps even falling backwards, experiencing few chances for mobility or success. From millennials to retired Boomers, countless American voters are frustrated and angry. Their concerns are real, and we ignore their issues at our peril.
In his new book, Excellence vs. Equality, Allan C. Ornstein, professor of education at St. Johns University, asks how we as a nation address the question: “Can our society achieve both excellence and equality?” Using reinforcing references and data points, Ornstein deconstructs the issues of opportunity, excellence, equality, meritocracy, and inherited wealth and describes their impact on economic mobility and achieving the American dream. How we answer his question will shape our society and “the kind of people we are—or think we are” (see Ornstein, 2014).
© The Author(s) 2017
Original Publication Citation
Kaplan, L. S., & Owings, W. A. (2018). Book review: Excellence vs. equality: Can society achieve both goals? Urban Education, 53(10), 1291-1295. https://doi.org/10.1177/0042085917741728
Kaplan, Leslie S. and Owings, William A., "Book Review: Excellence vs. Equality: Can Society Achieve Both Goals?" (2018). Educational Foundations & Leadership Faculty Publications. 108.