A popular article on Slate this week offers a nearly perfect demonstration of how not to write about college students. The lesson is on how to pretend a small fraction of students stand in for the entire undergraduate population.
Here’s how it* works.
The title (“Kids of Helicopter Parents Are Sputtering Out”) and thesis (“perfectly healthy but overparented kids get to college and [suffer from an] inability to cope”) proclaim a focus on students suffering from helicopter parents – a legitimate topic, one widely discussed in education circles. The text as published by Slate hits a nice nexus between education and parenting, solidly popular topics today.
It’s also largely about rich families.
Check out the source with which Lythcott-Haims leads, William Deresiewicz ‘s Excellent Sheep. This book is entirely about the socio-economic and academic elite, traditional-age students at the Yale/Harvard level. That’s a small fraction of America’s undergraduate population. I…
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