That's heartening, given that America's current outdated system of giving preference to the relatives of former students is essentially cheating, says Richard V. Reeves, author of the new book "Dream Hoarders" and a senior fellow in Economic Studies and co-director of the Center on Children and Families at the Brookings Institute.
"To operate a hereditary principle in college admissions," he tells CNBC Make It, is unfair. Especially for a country that tells itself it is a meritocracy.
Reeves went to Oxford, but he says that didn't ensure his son's admission.
When his son applied, "he didn't get in, and it would have been seen as preposterously unfair" if the son had been admitted simply because his father is an alumnus. "So we might have a hereditary monarchy [in the U.K.], but, by the way, [the members of that monarchy] don't get to go to Oxford and Cambridge anymore, either, because they don't get good enough grades."
That kind of preference for legacy admissions in the U.K. "disappeared in the twentieth century," he says.
By contrast, "the way we organize our education system" in the U.S., he says, "excludes many of those in the bottom 80 percent." The system is "destroying the American Dream, rather than living it."
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