City on a Hill: Testing the American Dream at City College

James Traub, Author Addison Wesley Publishing Company $25 (371p) ISBN 978-0-201-62227-0
From 1847 through the 1960s, City College in Manhattan was renowned for the excellent education it provided free of charge (tuition was not imposed until 1976) to poor and middle-class urban students. Responding to student protests against the low number of African Americans and Puerto Ricans it enrolled, City College, in 1970, began a policy of open admissions. Traub (Too Good to Be True) recently spent a year on campus, interviewing students and faculty and attending classes. Although his detailed evaluation of the open-admissions experiment contains inspiring descriptions of idealistic teachers and hardworking students struggling to overcome poverty, racism and inadequate English-language skills, he concludes that open admissions shortchanges students. Because inner-city high school graduates often can barely read, City College has been forced, according to Traub, to provide remedial classes at the expense of academic excellence. A lively and compelling report. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/1994
Release date: 09/01/1994
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Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-201-48942-2
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