Friday, May 03, 2013

Tamanaha and Tuition Class Bias? Oh come on!


I write mainly about class basis in legal education meaning that to be professor one almost has to come from a specific sheltered and privileged class. This means that most law professors also come with a powerful sense of entitlement that means that law schools are  operated to achieve their ends.

There is to be sure a class bias when it comes to admissions. By the time a person is  21 or so, he or she has gone through a multitude of filtering processes that gradually eliminate the vast majority from attending law school and much of this filtering is class based.

I know not to trust second hand reports and particular news reports. My last post was about scholars as salesmen. They are topped, however, by news reporters whose livelihood depends catching your eye and telling a story and, as the person discussed in my last post describes himself, they too have a post modern relationship with the truth.

That being said here is a quote, out of context and according the to an article writer from the new book by Brian Tamanaha (talk about someone making a career out the law school disaster);

“The pricing structure of legal education has profound class implications,” Tamanaha writes. “High tuition will inhibit people from middle-class and poor families more than it will deter the offspring of the rich with ample resources. Law school scholarship policies … in effect channel students with financial means to higher ranked law schools, reaping better opportunities, while sending students without money to lower law schools [where they qualify for better aid packages]. A growing proportion of elite legal positions will be held by people from wealthy backgrounds as a result. … Yet as law school tuition rose to its current extraordinary heights, progressive law professors did nothing to resist it.”

Anyone reading this blog knows how much I love to pounce on elitist hypocrisy. It's so easy -- vanity courses, capped sections, the me mentality, a total blind eye to matters of class. The list goes on and Brian has definitely tapped into one. I too have heard very little from self appointed liberals about class. But what is new? Class based issues terrify them. They are fine with race, gender, and sexual preference became they do not even implicitly lead to questioning the legitimacy of their positions. Class, however, is another issue altogether because it forces the question "What did you personally to merit your job." As one friend replied when I asked why we never talk about class, "Too important."

Thus, the indifference Brian writes about is true but the quote way overstates its important. Higher tuition may have the effect he describes but it is only at the extreme margin. Tuition may be something progressive law professors should be concerned about as should commentators like Brian. Maybe they are but, even a tiny focus on that ignores the things that people who have actual contact with poor families know. Believe me, they should be so fortunate that higher tuition is what keeps the out of top or any law schools. If the quote is accurate and not taken out of a broader context, it is  a sad commentary on the lack of class consciousnesses.

As for me. How would I finance higher education.It's easy. Every student in every field would be given a bill for the full cost of their education. Assistance in paying that bill would be based on need. The logic that the state pays for those who score high on test regardless of their means is just another example of the haves getting even more.

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