Start early Like Sandra Day

Start early
Like Sandra Day O’Connor, I’m mushy on racial preferences in admissions. I want a little bit of consideration for blacks and Hispanics, but not so much that there’s a noticeable preparation gap between white/Asian and black/Hispanic students. Who knew that a-little-but-not-too-much could be turned into a legal principle?

Sadly, I think the Supreme Court decision will be used to take the pressure off efforts to improve the academic qualifications of minority students. Blog of Xanadu makes a good point: The real inequalities start in kindergarten — or earlier. If inner-city parents could choose their kids’ schools, they’d have a chance to do better.

I’d disagree on one thing, however. It’s not that minority kids aren’t told to go to college. These days, nearly every student thinks he or she is college-bound: 70 percent plan to go to four-year colleges. The cheat is that nobody tells poor kids that just barely passing watered-down classes won’t prepare them for college or anything else. Uneducated parents don’t know what it takes, so students need honest feedback from their teachers and counselors.

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