August 13, 2003

Class and the Academy

Does anyone in academe wonder what happens to Ph.D.'s who don't become an assistant professor at Midwestern Research University or at one of its lesser competitors? The standard answer is that they carve out a niche in an alternative career. The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation swells with pride at the success of these go-getters. The Ph.D., it turns out, can catapult one into the managerial elite.

But what about those Ph.D.'s with no real experience, the ones who have trudged through a swamp of menial jobs?

-- Chris Cumo, Blue Collar Ph.D.

Chris Cumo is not only "weary of the poor job market in academe" but also tired "of the incessant chatter that envelops it." Despite the "hand-wringing," he writes, "nothing changes:"

Every year new Ph.D.'s face the same ghastly odds of landing a tenure-track job. Every year bright young men and women grow old as rejection letters deluge their mailbox and erase their dreams.

What happens to PhDs who don't find academic employment? That's a question I've asked more than once at this weblog (most recently, in the entry entitled "PhD and Nonacademic Careers: Information Underload," with some followup at "Why do People Teach as Adjuncts?"). In this, his latest Chronicle column (also see his Out of Academe), Cumo approaches the question through the lens of class. In so doing, he raises an issue about which, I believe, most academics prefer to remain silent. It is all very well to adopt class as an analytical tool for exploring and explaining the world beyond the academy (either in a unitary fashion, or as part of the trinity of race/class/gender). But there has been remarkably little written about class within the academy, or at least very little in relation to those who aspire to join the ranks of the professoriat.

I think I might reframe Cumo's question "what about those Ph.D.'s with no real experience?" -- or at least, I think I would place the emphasis on a related question. One message I take from my reading of the nonacademic job search literature: working one's connections and building one's network is at least as important as figuring out how to transfer one's "skill set." Which raises the question, "what about those PhDs with no real connections?" (which question was raised by several readers in the coments to "The Nonacademic Job Search: Wealth and of Resources"). One answer to this question can be found in Cumo's column.


Russell Arben Fox has posted a thoughtful response to Chris Cumo's essay. Well worth reading.

Posted by Invisible Adjunct at August 13, 2003 09:48 AM

Hi, Im not exactly sure how this board works, but someone suggested that I post my question here. I graduated from college 3 years ago and am looking to apply to English PhD programs for the Fall of 2004. I understand that tenure track positions are out of the question for me (or at least, I have been told to think that way,) and I am fine with that. I was wondering if anyone could give me some advice on which Eng. PhD programs are most progressive in placing their students in non-academe jobs after graduation. If it means anything in suggesting different schools, I went to Mount Holyoke College, my major GPA was 3.5, cum 3.2 and 89% on GREs.

Thanks in advance!

Posted by: kallu at August 13, 2003 11:47 AM

What happens to PhDs who don't find academic employment?

What happens to a dream deferred?

Posted by: language hat at August 13, 2003 12:01 PM

The insitution where I got my Ph.D. two years ago is one of those "elite" places Cumo talks about, and I think the following anecdote sheds a little light on the class issue at work in the academy.

I was serving as a teaching assistant for Professor X (a tenured, feminist, progressive, white, upper-middle class woman in her early 40s), and she had invited that quarter's cohort of teaching assistants in her classes to lunch. Near the end of lunch, she got started on a rant against Disney and "American commercialism" that reached its pinnacle with the following statement:

"I hate commercialism so much, that I have my nanny do all the shopping."

She sits on hiring committees on a regular basis.

Posted by: Michael at August 13, 2003 12:30 PM

I absolutely LOVE Cumo's article. At least he isn't afraid to bring up social class in academe. Every time I attempt to bring it up, on blogs, etc., people immediately become defensive, claim that professors are really bumming around in older cars, don't have money, etc. I don't buy it. Most of the professoriate (those who work full time and are on the tenure track) are in the protected middle class. As someone who comes from a lower-income background myself, I see class differences immediately and can relate to what Cumo is saying. Social class differences are not just in the mind; they exist. Read "Nickel and Dimed" by Ehrenreich if you need convincing. We need a "Nickel and Dimed" style analysis of higher education. By the way, did anyone else get annoyed by that Chronicle bit on the perks that professors get? Can we say "class inequity?"

Posted by: Cat at August 13, 2003 01:27 PM

Kullu, above asks: I was wondering if anyone could give me some advice on which Eng. PhD programs are most progressive in placing their students in non-academe jobs after graduation.

I think the short answer is that English Ph.D. departments as a whole put very little emphasis on either preparing students for non-academic jobs or placing them in non-academic jobs. Ph.D. programs in the humanities are essentially poorly paid apprenticeship programs that uniquely train students for the professorship. The crisis in humanities job market is largely attributable to the failure of the profession to either limit the number of apprentices or train them for work outside academia. Transition to non-academic work for humanities Ph.D.s can be a painful and uncertain process.

Topic: Cumos' article certainly does illustrate very well how difficult the transition from humanities Ph.D. to nonacademic employment can be. It's hard enough at 22 to exit college to find only menial work that you could have gotten without the degree. To find yourself in this position in your thirties, after so much more school, when your peer group is well into careers and families -- it's a bitter pill. I'm sure Elaine Showalter would argue that Chris' return on his education is an improved inner life while operating that weedwhacker, but reading his story just makes me all the more angry about the 'winner-take-all' state of the humanities professions.

Posted by: Matilde at August 13, 2003 01:30 PM

After getting angry, I became annoyed that Cumos isn't the ag/science reporter for the Economist.

Posted by: clew at August 13, 2003 01:45 PM

"Class trumps everything else. I was not part of the middle class and never would be."

It seems to me that class is far more important in academia than in most other areas of American life. In a business setting, there are usually objective measurements of some kind that act as a countervailing force against class prejudice. Even if you are an Ivy League snob who wants to hire only other Ivy League snobs, you'd better hire the people who can actually close the sale/write the code/close the books/whatever, or you yourself will soon be toast.

I'm not denying that class prejudice exists in certain companies (and industries), but it seems less overwhelming than in academia.

Posted by: David Foster at August 13, 2003 01:59 PM


I think the following excerpt from Jayne Feld's "Grad School Reality Check" (URL currently inaccessible) is typical of the attitude toward nonacademic careers:

'It surprises me how many people go into graduate school in English and don't even know it's a job crunch,' says [Emily] Toth, a professor of women's studies and English at Louisiana State University. 'You can go into grad school with the idea that you are going to learn skills, but this is not primarily about job preparation. It's brain food. What's hard for people is that they expect it to do both - to give them brain food and to put food on the table.'

She says graduate students, who are in school to flex their brains, shouldn't expect to be spoon-fed information about alternative jobs. They can just as easily look up career information as anyone else can in the position of finding a new job.

Matilde is exactly right about this: humanities graduate programs train people for academic careers. They do not train people for nonacademic careers, nor do they place people in jobs outside the academy.

Of course, many humanities PhDs do find work outside the academy. In many cases, they do so after being forced to leave: they simply cannot afford to remain underemployed and underpaid within the academy. And in most cases, they pretty much have to place themselves. On this point,the nonacademic job search literature is very revealing: after spending 5 to 7 years in specialized training, people must figure out how to identify the skills that they might "transfer," and they must do so without much (or any) assistance from their advisors, mentors and academic program directors.

Posted by: Invisible Adjunct at August 13, 2003 02:16 PM

I am this close [] to making a blanket statement: If you want a non-academy job working with texts, do not go to grad school in English, Comp Lit, or any foreign-language literature department.


Wish I'd known that a decade ago. I really do.

Posted by: Dorothea Salo at August 13, 2003 02:42 PM

I am this close [] to making a blanket statement: If you want a non-academy job working with texts, do not go to grad school in English, Comp Lit, or any foreign-language literature department.


Wish I'd known that a decade ago. I really do.

Me too!

Posted by: Restless Saucer at August 13, 2003 03:01 PM

A decade ago, there were very few library jobs. I know, as I was a recent MLS (SUNYA, 1991). The office at the school had a US map with all the library schools marked and a 100 mile radius circle drawn around each one. We were told flat out that it would take a miracle to find a job within any of those circles.

American Libraries was carrying 2 to 3 times as many job wanted ads as usual, and it was common to see things like this: "Librarian, 10 years experience, former department head, department phased out. Willing to relocate, willing to accept entry level." I got my first library job, as a technician, through nepotism, and then could not find work in a library from late 1993 to early 2001. I had one application in 1991 where I didn't even get an interview although I had been begged to apply a month earlier at the ALA conference. When I talked to the recruiter to ask if there was something I could have done better, he said, no, and that 6 months earlier I probably would have been hired, but they now had plenty of candidates with the second subject masters (I only had a BFA in that subject, although also having a second masters), some with doctorates, and 5 or more years experience.

Even today, many of the library jobs open either require God, or pay next to nothing, or better yet, both.

Way to many of us have gone into libraries because we like books, and information, and helping people, and the job market isn't much, if any, better than that for professors, especially if you are tied down geographically.

Much as I love my job, I would recommend to anyone interested in libraries, to specialize in computers. Many library jobs need that, and it gives you a LOT of options outside the field.

Posted by: LibraryGryffon at August 13, 2003 04:01 PM

Class trumps everything else. I was not part of the middle class and never would be.

What does Cumo mean by this? Is he the only more qualified (perhaps overqualified) person passed up for job? Are there no academics from lower-class backgrounds? And what does he mean given that in "Out of Academe," he explicitly accepts responsibility for his situation?

Cumo hasn't landed a tenure-track job and his "class" is not "middle." So what?

Posted by: ogged at August 13, 2003 04:04 PM

Cumo's article interested me most with the way it used a personal narrative to make a claim about class based on a definition of class as lived experience bracketed within an occupational definition of class. (Disclosure: Cumo's column grabbed my attention because class is the topic of my dissertation and the research weblog that serves it, so I kinda go on about class-related stuff.) I think most folks understand class to be a pretty vexed topic in the U.S., and it has a number of 'vectors' -- wealth, income, occupation; cultural practices, tastes, values; education; relations of production for the Marxists/Marxians; authenticity claims and lived experience like Cumo's -- that can move independently or in sync with one another. I'm a little bit suspicious of Cumo's claim that he's not middle class and never will be: while his landscaping gig and his class background (which I don't think he addresses, actually) may validate his blue collar claim, his jobs as freelance writer and occasional teacher would place him at least partly within the "professional" class (if our analysis is going to move at all beyond the conventional so-monolithic-and-contradictory-as-to-be-nearly-useless "middle" versus "working" opposition). Also, try imagining him as a character on the old sitcom "Roseanne": how would his big-time educational credentials serve his blue-collar authenticity claim? I think people inhabit multiple class positions, and those positions can change (at least along certain vectors) over time, despite Cumo's "never would be".

There's an interesting compilation on the topic as it plays in English studies, called "Coming to Class: Pedagogy and the Social Class of Teachers", edited by Shepard, McMillan, and Tate (Boynton/Cook 1998).

And re the comments about Library & Information Science and computers being the way to go for working with texts: absolutely 100 percent agree.

Posted by: Mike at August 13, 2003 10:27 PM

While generally agreeing with Cumo's perspective on class in academia...

My own perspective is that the dividing line at which class influences potential for success in graduate school is whether yourself or your family has the disposable income to balance periods of shock in between funding irregularities. Perhaps this is even more pronounced in the present condition where tuition at top schools often exceeds the amount available from student loans...

Posted by: measa278 at August 14, 2003 02:38 AM

I really feel for Cumo. Sounds like a nice guy who hasn't had anything handed to him.

BUT can I be a contrarian and say that class is always OVERestimated as a factor in American life. Cumo went to a 2nd-rate grad program and like most of his fellow grad students did not land an academic job. As we know from this forum, people in his position have attributed their lack of academic job success to a lot of reasons. Cumo attributes his lack of success to his non-middle-class background. It's like a Rorschak test: what do you see in this puzzling situation before you?

I'm also critical of Cumo's life-decisions. Landscaping is a job that doesn't even require a high school degree. With a college and graduate degree, how did he end up still doing this?

Posted by: JT at August 14, 2003 09:13 AM

In arguing against Cumo's points, JT actually seems to me to be underlining them. Cumo ended up at a "2nd rate" institution for his graduate work because he attended a lower-tier undergrad school, where he ended up because he attended a lower-tier high school high school, which he attended because his parents income/class situation precluded a private school. And during his graduate training, he didn't have the cultural knowledge or the "connections" that might have come from being a member of some other class. Finally, he's probably landscaping for the same reason that other people adjunct; as he says in the article, he kept thinking he might get a tenure-track job, and if you want to keep writing, whether free-lance "popular" writing or academic prose, and if you want to keep preparing job applications for academic jobs and being available for interviews and conferences, you need to have some sort of income that provides time away from work and doesn't leave you brain dead when you get that time away....

Posted by: sappho at August 14, 2003 10:07 AM

Mike makes a very pertinent point that there are many spokes on the class wheel: income, background, occupation, education, ethnicity, community. How many spokes must you inhabit to claim membership in a group? Chris's problem may not be that he is indeed blue-collar, but that he is in a severe education/occupation disequilibrium - a Ph.D. with a weedwhacker instead of a fountain pen.

While I enjoyed the piece, I'm not sure I agree with Chris's implication that his education/occupation disequilibrium is a result of his socio-economic background. My own graduate cohort certainly gives no evidence that class is an insurmountable barrier to success in academe - the best placed student in our class was a teeth-hurting-conservative good old boy with an appalling North Georgia accent, who had hung drywall before graduate school and had actually spent time in jail. But he was very smart, and did great work. I myself come from a town where kids were more likely to wind up in the county jail or collecting welfare in the local trailer parks than in college - and I got a good job as well. A candidate from our cohort whose banker father bankrolled his degree and bought him a $70,000 BMW as a graduatuation present is still looking for a job.

Chris is one of many, many history Ph.D.s looking for a permanent job. He's chosen to pay the rent with landscaping rather than full-time adjuncting, which makes his position more ironic, but no less tragic. Adjuncting may have less of a class stigma, but otherwise, Chris's fate is hardly different from many other Ph.D.s without full-time work.

Posted by: Matilde at August 14, 2003 10:10 AM


In my experience low income is low income, regardless of whether the work is primarily physical (landscaping) or intellectual (adjunct teaching, freelance writing). I think you're overproblematizing the issue of class in re: Chris Cumo's article. I see little in Chris's narrative that indicates "middle class," either materially or culturally. He works long hours at physical labor to make ends meet and earns a few extra bucks from writing and teaching. The fact is, he is generally treated as blue collar by those who are indisputably middle-class or better--tenured faculty--and that is also how he sees himself. The only dimension of Chris' "middle class" is his sense that his education *should* make him middle class, but it hasn't.

Posted by: Kevin Walzer at August 14, 2003 11:03 AM

Kevin Walzer writes, In my experience low income is low income, regardless of whether the work is primarily physical (landscaping) or intellectual (adjunct teaching, freelance writing).

Really? That hasn't been my experience.

I've never done landscaping, but among the low-paying jobs I've had (hotel maid, short-order cook, agricultural worker, fast-food worker, line worker in a cat-food factory), adjuncting was vastly superior. It's air-conditioned, clean, and your coworkers grab your ass and breasts less often. Students certainly treat you with more respect than you get when you've got to pull over people at the drive-thru when you've run out of fries.

Adjuncting jobs must be available to Chris, so I'm curious why he's chosen landscaping. I imagine that it's because he can't get enough adjuncting jobs to get by. But he doesn't say.

Posted by: Matilde at August 14, 2003 11:28 AM

I strongly identify with Cumo's article. While I do not think that my class background has affected my trajectory in the academic world, I do know what it feels like to perform physically demanding, unskilled labor with an excess of exalted letters after your name. For the past eight years, I have worked for a trucking company as a dockhand and forklift operator, three of those years with a PhD in hand. We unload boxes, tires, shopping carts, peat moss, and lots of other shit by hand if unable to move it with a pallet jack or forklift.
This kind of work does expose you, beneficially, I think (well, up to a certain point), to an entirely different world than academe. Many academics who like to identify themselves with the working-class would probably be put off if they inhabited this subterranean world of sweaty, sex-crazy, cursing men (there arent any women where I work). I teach two history classes a semester while employed at this trucking company. It is oftentimes a strange feeling, having one foot in the working class and the other in the middle or professional class. I must say, though, that I do feel smugly well-rounded. I make $15 an hour, an admittedly good wage that is hard to exchange for a more respectable job at a trendy bookstore. But I am ready to begin my adult, professional life on a full-time basis. I'm 35 years old, and my back cannot take this kind of work much longer.
I do proudly list this job on my non-academic resume. Perhaps it gives prospective employers the impression that I am not an ivory tower intellectual who can not grudgingly appreciate the imperative of the bottom line, nor one who can do nothing beyond read critically and fashion good sentences and paragraphs (even though this is what I want to do). Anyway, it is assuring, if only in a "misery loves company" sort of way, that there are others out there, like Chris, who are presently experiencing a huge gap between their education and their occupation.

Posted by: Chad at August 14, 2003 11:33 AM

In responding to Sappho, I think Mathilde makes some great points, which accord with my experiences. My Ivy-League grad program was filled with people with state university Bachelor's (myself included). These state universities are in turn filled with people with Cumo's background. My current employer, a top multinational, is filled with people whose parents were blue collar. Sure, they have to learn certain social conventions, but that is true of most people and isn't an insurmountable obstacle.

In general, I think it's very interesting and telling to see whether a given individual perceives class as either a large obstacle that confines an individual permanently or as something which can be -- and is -- surmounted regularly like any of life's temporary stumbling blocks. You can count on me as firmly in the latter camp, but it's a nuanced, individualized reaction.

Let me add: I think academics tend to think that college and academics are more of a determinant in life's outcomes than they really are. It's a true occupational bias.

Posted by: JT at August 14, 2003 11:41 AM

It boils down to this fundamental difference. People who are poor have to interact daily with those from the middle and upper classes (I don't count blue-collar workers as poor, but they come from a distinct culture). They have to look "acceptable" in order to gain employment in order to survive. They have to interact with their clothing if they dry clean or launder it, they interact with their children if they are a nanny or child care worker, they interact with their dirty houses as maids. However, middle and upper class people DO NOT have to interact with poor people. They don't have to look at or talk to them. They arrive home to find it clean. Their kids are cared for, the clothing magically dry cleaned. As far as they're concerned, poor people are part of some melodrama miniseries on cable television.
However, poor people are bombarded with images of wealth on television. They are told that wealth is something to strive for, not to enable you to question society or change it, but to acquire. So the poor person has options, yes, but limited ones. They can attend college, get a good job, join the middle class, declare themselves a success story, and go on to deny that social class has any significant influence on life as we know it. This has been the viewpoint of most of my friends and family who have been able to leave their low-income backgrounds. They have "escaped" poverty, which is wonderful, but now they don't believe that it "really" exists! They see poverty as just one's choices, not a structural feature of society.
The bald truth is that the middle class lifestyle is subsidized by lower income working people. When people, especially people from academe, refuse to acknowledge this, or continue to live in blissful ignorance of poor people, it enrages me. The fact that few people are enraged by this is quite shocking, especially people who are typically concerned about democratic values like free speech, etc. Now I'm not saying that people from lower income backgrounds are automatically admirable. Many of their values are racist and sexist. Many of them make stupid choices that contribute to (not cause) their financial situation. But many people with money are racist, sexist, and stupid with money. But they get second chances. Poor people don't. Thanks for listening.

Posted by: Cat at August 14, 2003 01:29 PM


I think you're reading what I wrote through lenses that equate wealth or income to class, but I may be way off base. I'm suggesting that wealth or income are hardly the sole determinants of class: check out TAs who make $9-12K from their TA salary but who know the difference between Montrachet Grand Cru and Lindemanns Bin 65. There's a bit of that knowledge hiding in Cumo's story. But the biggest class marker is the existence of the column itself, which is what I was trying (rather poorly) to get at with my "Roseanne" example: writing for academic publications really doesn't strike me as a characteristically blue-collar activity.

Posted by: Mike at August 14, 2003 05:10 PM

There's a really interesting book by a (German) professor who studies decision making, and, more specifically, failure. One of his points is that bad decision makers tend to view more things as being *out of their control* than do good decision makers. So an excessive focus on "class" on the part of an individual might well have a detrimental effect on their success, in addition to any direct effects that class might create.

Posted by: David Foster at August 14, 2003 07:30 PM

As a daughter of the working class, I have to say that I looked skeptically at Cumo's article. I felt that, indeed, he was devaluing himself by continuing on in landscaping when he could be doing some other sort of work that would build his resume and make him more attractive, eventually, to some either academic or professional search. I felt that he was embodying one of the unfortunate plagues of the working class, which is guilt...we must continue on like our parents in order to show we aren't "better than" the people we grew up caring for...parents, friends, etc. Although I think class is the dirty little secret that lies beneath most American problems, and the academe is not immune certainly, I question some of Cumo's broad claims and wish he had gone deeper to explore the issue...if only he was as willing to get his hands dirty in grappling with this issue as he is with plants.

Posted by: Lynda L. Hinkle at August 15, 2003 12:17 AM

I felt that, indeed, he was devaluing himself by continuing on in landscaping when he could be doing some other sort of work that would build his resume and make him more attractive, eventually, to some either academic or professional search

Lynda, do you think physical labor is less appealing than teaching four or five classes scattered throughout the city @ 1500.00 which is the going rate in this region?

I'm speaking from personal experience when I say I make more money working as an administrative assistant than I do teaching part-time (I do both). I love teaching, but refuse to teach at four or five institutions to make it work. I've managed to keep one foot in the door while the other is preparing for a possible transition from higher ed to the business sector.

Posted by: Restless Saucer at August 15, 2003 08:31 AM

I've often found that in academic circles class manifests itself as various forms of social performance. One's actual socio-economic background is less consequential than one's ability to play a certain part, fulfill a role, recite a script.

For instance, one should say 'cheerio Steven, was the lake house gorgeous' rather than 'hey Steve, what's up'; say 'my goodness' as often as possible; resort to archaic expressions when one can (e.g., 'Giles and I stopped at that Saloon on the corner -- oh we ARE soo bad (giggle) -- and had delightful Rum fizzes made by an absolutely charming earhty man', rather than 'we hung out in that bar and pounded back a few beers'); use the word jejune as often as one can; refer to Tuscany, nad/or venice in early Autumn (never Fal), antiquing, and various ethnic cooking as often as one can; and finally, make sure you can hold your own in a conversation concerning "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," with the requisite combination of wry grins and impassioned seriousness.

Posted by: Chris at August 15, 2003 10:36 AM

One of things I'd expect to happen with the collapse of the humanities job market is gentrification. That is, as the people trying to make a career of academics have a more and more difficult time doing that, you'd expect to find the wayward sons and daughters of the rich taking the place of people who can't afford to waste years and years training for a job they will never get. I'm not sure whether that's actually happening. Anecdotal evidence from this site suggests it's not.

More anecdotal observations about class: The class thing is totally there. At that vastly overrated Canadian university where i once worked, all but one of the power-wielders in my department were white Canadian, British, or American men with lots of money. (The lone exception was married to the Chair) All the men were married to women from wealthy families. All owned land besides their homes. They sent their kids to private schools. Needless to say, all were convinced that class analysis was useless.

In contrast to the Anointed, the peons were mostly female and non-white. Not one of us came from a wealthy family, though a couple of us had married well-to-do men. I'll let you guess whether we applied class analysis to department politics.

Playing the cultural capital game will get you to a certain level in humanities. It has to because that IS the game -- at least on the surface. Nevertheless, I think it's a completely different ballgame for those who can treat it as a game and for those who who have to play more seriously. This is a big theme in the Patricia Highsmith books, 'amateur' sports, etc.

Finally, as to what happens to academic dropouts, some teach English in foreign countries.

Posted by: che at August 15, 2003 11:21 AM

David, what I've heard is that people who make (what turns out to be) the correct decision in a situation tend to credit their skills over luck. IIRC, people who make (what turns out to be) the wrong decision tend to credit bad luck more than making a mistake.

Posted by: Barry at August 18, 2003 09:39 AM

Barry..I'm sure this (the point about skill and luck) is true when people think about their decisions retrospectively. The researcher I mentioned tries to assess how people think about their decisions *at the time they are making them* by asking them to think out-loud while performing a simulated task (running an imaginary garment-manufacturing company). Those who were quick to assess particular aspects of the job as "hopeless" or "out of their control" did much worse than those who plugged along while developing and testing hypotheses...

Posted by: David Foster at August 18, 2003 10:49 AM

ITO stopgap work, is there nothing between physical labor and the oft-invoked job at Borders? I'm asking b/c I'm completely off the academic track and am working parttime while raising my kids, but I also make decent P/T money tutoring--I work for one of the ubiquitous test-prep companies, and I realize that it's politically problematic, but it certainly pays better than $10/hour. It doesn't hurt w/parents to find that their kid's tutor has an advanced degree, either.

And at least in middle-class suburbs around here, there is a healthy off-the-books industry of tutoring thanks to the national standardized-testing fetish (should be a growth industry what w/No Child Left Behind). Tutors around here in specific academic subjects charge $60/hour and up.

Posted by: emily at August 18, 2003 12:15 PM