Views On College Dent The ‘Front Row/Back Row’ Frame

Chris Arnade has done a lot of interesting work, but he constantly refers to the ‘front row kids’ and the ‘back row kids.’ The front row kids are the ones who did well in school, understand all the rules, and work them (and often live in urban-ish areas), while the back row kids are those who didn’t work the educational system, stayed in their hometowns, and so on. The back row kids, out of frustration (and some racism) turned to Trump. At some level, it’s an intriguing narrative. But these data* make me wonder if it’s overblown (boldface mine):


The group of Republicans who are least likely to believe college is harmful are the least well-off. Among Republicans, there’s also very little difference between educational groups–the least educated, which are the back row kids, don’t seem to dislike colleges any more than highly educated Republicans.

Where you do find the front/back row split is among Democrats.

It’s just one data point, but maybe some narratives need to be re-examined.

*Using data as a plural definitely counts as front row.

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4 Responses to Views On College Dent The ‘Front Row/Back Row’ Frame

  1. DDRAKE says:

    Hi – I also follow Chris Arnade. I do not know if he is relating his analysis to Republicans and Democrats and how they feel or do not feel about education. The way I understand him is that one group, generally those that are the privileged, upper class, are out of touch with the other group (i.e. Trump supporters), which, in general, include the working class (but by no means exclusively so). Those who are in control and make the rules more favorable to themselves versus the others, of little or no power, who are left out and/or behind. Doris

  2. Thornton Hall says:

    If you have no shot at going to Public State U, you think it’s fair. If you’re close but hear about international students and affirmative action, you think you got screwed.

  3. cheopys says:

    I teach English in Vietnam to get a better visa.

    The students who head straight to the back are always the worst.

    As for political affiliation if you’re including finance majors in your statistics then something’s wrong. I wouldn’t call them educated.

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