Monday, Jun 14, 2021 5:30p -
Massachusetts Historical Society
1154 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02215
History, Virtual & Streaming
For generations, Americans have looked to education as the solution to economic disadvantage. Yet, although more people are earning degrees, the gap between rich and poor is widening. The Education Trap delves into the history of this seeming contradiction, using the city of Boston as a test case. Even as Boston spent heavily on public schools the first decades of the twentieth century, the shift to more educated labor had negative consequences—both intended and unintended—for many workers. Employers supported training in schools in order to undermine the influence of craft unions, shifting workplace power toward management. Advanced educational credentials became a means of controlling access to high-paying professional and business jobs, concentrating power and wealth. Formal education thus became a central force in maintaining inequality.