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Cover of Bloomberg Businessweek.

Nowhere are Americans more acutely aware of the system being rigged against them than in the area of education: That's why the Varsity Blues corruption scandal has resonated so widely with the general public.

The real scandal, as ever, isn't what's illegal: It's what's legal. We put together a partial list of ways in which the American educational system is rigged in favor of the rich and powerful.

The inequality begins in pre-K, where rich kids go to school and poor kids don't. That's partly because, in most states, child care costs more than in-state college tuition. The result? The gap between rich and poor kids' math and reading skills has been growing for decades.

  • Once school begins, white students receive $2,226 more funding per year than students of color, thanks to locally funded educational systems. Disadvantaged students end up 3–4 years behind their more affluent peers. Of course, the richest families bypass the public education system entirely and spend tens of thousands of dollars per year to educate their children privately. They also dominate selective public schools.
  • Getting into college is easier for richer children, who have the advantage of $200-an-hour tutoring. Rich kids are also orders of magnitude more likely to get recruited to elite institutions. Add in legacy admissions and other ways of buying your way into selective colleges, and the result is that students from the 1% are 77 times more likely to attend an Ivy League school than students coming from families earning less than $30,000 a year.
  • College is largely unaffordable for the poor, who are also excluded from the pervasive institution of unpaid internships. The rich, meanwhile, benefit from massive tax expenditures subsidizing their tuition costs.

Why it matters: Inequality of educational opportunity doesn't just deprive the economy of trillions of dollars' worth of untapped human capital. Its ubiquity and visibility also makes it a key breeding ground for resentment and corruption anxiety within the 99%.

Go deeper

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Ipsos poll: COVID trick-or-treat

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note ±3.3% margin of error for the total sample size; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

About half of Americans are worried that trick-or-treating will spread coronavirus in their communities, according to this week's installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: This may seem like more evidence that the pandemic is curbing our nation's cherished pastimes. But a closer look reveals something more nuanced about Americans' increased acceptance for risk around activities in which they want to participate.

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: The good and bad news about antibody therapies — Fauci: Hotspots have materialized across "the entire country."
  2. World: Belgium imposes lockdown, citing "health emergency" due to influx of cases.
  3. Economy: Conference Board predicts economy won’t fully recover until late 2021.
  4. Education: Surge threatens to shut classrooms down again.
  5. Technology: The pandemic isn't slowing tech.
  6. Travel: CDC replaces COVID-19 cruise ban with less restrictive "conditional sailing order."
  7. Sports: High school football's pandemic struggles.
  8. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.
Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Updated 10 hours ago - Economy & Business

Dunkin' Brands agrees to $11B Inspire Brands sale

Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Dunkin' Brands, operator of both Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, agreed on Friday to be taken private for nearly $11.3 billion, including debt, by Inspire Brands, a restaurant platform sponsored by private equity firm Roark Capital.

Why it matters: Buying Dunkin’ will more than double Inspire’s footprint, making it one of the biggest restaurant deals in the past 10 years. This could ultimately set up an IPO for Inspire, which already owns Arby's, Jimmy John's and Buffalo Wild Wings.