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Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life [Paperback]

Item : Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life [Paperback]
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Category : Books
Author Author : Herrnstein, Richard J., Murray, Charles
ISBN-10 ISBN-10 : 0684824299
ISBN-13 ISBN-13 : 9780684824291
Publisher Publisher : Free Press
Pages Pages : 912
Binding Binding : Paperback
Item ID : 100050755

The controversial book linking intelligence to class and race in modern society, and what public policy can do to mitigate socioeconomic differences in IQ, birth rate, crime, fertility, welfare, and poverty.Chapter 1

Cognitive Class and Education, 1900-1990

In the course of the twentieth century, America opened the doors of its colleges wider than any previous generation of Americans, or other society in history, could have imagined possible. This democratization of higher education has raised new, barriers between people that may prove to be more divisive and intractable than the old ones.

The growth in the proportion of people getting college degrees is the most obvious result, with a fifteen-fold increase from 1900 to 1990. Even more important, the students going to college were being selected ever more efficiently for their high IQ. The crucial decade was the 1950s, when the percentage of top students who went to college rose by more than it had in the preceding three decades. By the beginning of the 1990s, about 80 percent of all students in the top quartile of ability continued to college after high school. Among the high school graduates in the top few percentiles of cognitive ability the chances of going to college already exceeded 90 percent.

Perhaps the most important of all the changes was the transformation of America's elite colleges. As more bright youngsters went off to college, the colleges themselves began to sort themselves out. Starting in the 1950s, a handful of restitutions became magnets for the very brightest of each year's new class. In these schools, the cognitive level of the students rose far above the rest of the college population.

Taken together, these trends have stratified America according to cognitive ability.


A perusal of Harvard's Freshman Register for 1952 shows a class looking very much as Harvard freshman classes had always looked. Under the photographs of the well-lă

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