The Costs of Upward Mobility

Authored by: Jennifer M. Morton

Handbook of Philosophy of Education

Print publication date:  October  2022
Online publication date:  October  2022

Print ISBN: 9781032000053
eBook ISBN: 9781003172246
Adobe ISBN:


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Should the aim of higher education be to increase upward mobility? This chapter asks us to reconsider mobility as an ideal. It makes the case that upward mobility has significant costs to the higher education sector, the individuals who experience it, and our society. Focusing on mobility obscures these negative effects. A central conclusion is that shifting the focus away from mobility would allow the university to focus on delivering the educational goods that are inherent to its mission – knowledge, personal transformation, and value acquisition. This doesn’t mean that we give up on equal opportunity, but rather that we focus on ensuring these educational goods are available to all who wish to pursue them.

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