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Town Hall Seattle: Civics Series

Town Hall’s Civics series highlights everything from local policies to world politics. These events offer perspectives on a range of topics as diverse as Seattle itself—a bustling forum for activism, discovery, and thought-provoking discussion.

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Oct 28, 2019

Does college still work? Can a college education today provide real opportunity to young Americans seeking to improve their station in life, or is the system designed only to protect the privileged and leave everyone else behind? Paul Tough explored the landscape of higher education with perspectives from his new book The Years That Matter Most, sharing stories of students trying to find their way—with hope, joy, and frustration—through the application process and into college.

Tough introduced us to admissions directors trying to balance the class and balance the budget, College Board officials scrambling to defend the SAT in the face of mounting evidence that it favors the wealthy, researchers working to unlock the mysteries of the college-student brain, and educators trying to transform potential dropouts into successful graduates. He took us on a journey from Ivy League seminar rooms to community college welding shops, from giant public flagship universities to tiny experimental storefront colleges. Join Tough for an incisive and human examination of the American promise of social mobility, and an unblinking look at how the system works—and who it works for.

Paul Tough is the author of Helping Children Succeed and How Children Succeed, which spent more than a year on the New York Times hardcover and paperback bestseller lists and was translated into twenty-eight languages. He is also the author of Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and America. He is a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine and a regular contributor to the NPR program This American Life.

Presented by Town Hall Seattle. Recorded live in The Forum at Town Hall Seattle on October 4, 2019.