Diverse outcomes

Colleges can use preferences to admit black and Hispanic students with lower grades and SAT scores. Once in college, they tend to earn lower grades, and are less likely to graduate. The Christian Science Monitor reports that colleges are trying to boost the success rate of non-Asian minority students:

To Borden Painter, president of Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., and a group of 35 presidents of liberal arts colleges that met Friday in Boston, the “minority achievement gap” is the central issue in higher education today.

“We found, and many have, that graduation rates are lower and the overall [college] experience is less satisfying for minority students,” he told the group, the Consortium on High Achievement and Success (CHAS). “So we knew, long before the Michigan decision, that we had a challenge.”

At 146 competitive colleges and universities, the six-year graduation rate is more than 20 points higher for white students than black students. It is seven points higher for non-Hispanic white students than Hispanic students, the CHAS group reported.

Another Monitor story reports on workplace diversity. It turns out that diversity isn’t necessarily good for business.

Overall, racial and gender diversity did not have any resounding impact — positive or negative, the researchers found. At one company, store branches where employees were as diverse as their customers did not outperform the others. In some instances, racial diversity seemed to hinder teamwork.

Based on the research, one company is focusing on using diversity to increase productivity, the story says. Increase productivity!

Some workplaces are still trying to recruit a more diverse staff. Others may look like a rainbow but have an undercurrent of cynicism because employees equate diversity with “annually being held hostage for a seminar,” (Luke) Visconti says.

Everybody hates diversity awareness seminars, except the consultants who get paid to run them.

About Joanne


  1. I had to go to one of those diversity seminars, which everyone there decided was pretty silly, as we live & work in NYC — the most diverse place in the country. One thing we had to talk about was how diversity in the workplace affected us, and I came up with the fact that most of the guys I work with are Jewish, and I can’t be out during Passover, Rosh Hoshannah or Yom Kippur, because none of them will be there.

    The great thing about religious diversity at work is when there’s a wide variety of holidays — so I could be out for a Catholic holiday if I wanted, and my Jewish co-workers will be there, and I will be there during the high holy days. Of course, if we’ve got Muslims around, on Lenten Fridays they could go to lunch with clients, and I could do the same during Ramadan. I’m not sure that’s what they had in mind when we talked about diversity, but whatever. We also had fun chatting about our company’s reorganization and I told others about what Charlotte is like (since our new office is there and some were being transferred.)

    As for the video we were shown – ouch, it was painfully stupid. But I always bring something else to do to these things.

  2. But if you read the whole piece, you’ll see that the colleges’ answer isn’t to put under-prepared studnets in less demanding colleges. No, the answer is to dumb-down the courses and give lots and lots of helping hands.
    THe whole “expectations” idea is a carnard. When I went to a certain Ivy League school that had been all-male, the fellow students and faculty could not have been less welcoming. We were constantly told, in overt and subtle ways, that girls couldn’t possibly perform well. Yet nearly everyone in my entire class triumphed. So, I have no faith in the notion that minorities are doomed because their teachers don’t expect much from them.

  3. Andy Freeman says:

    > So, I have no faith in the notion that minorities are doomed because their teachers don’t expect much from them.

    That’s not why they’re doomed, and that’s not how they’re being treated.

    They’re being held to lower standards and being told that they’re succeeding when they’re not.

    There’s a huge difference between that and being told that you’ll probably fail AND being held to high standards.

  4. Let me tell you, it’s difficult to teach someone who doesn’t know something, and doesn’t know that they don’t know it.

    I =tried= teaching Freshman Calc in various venues. These kids took Calc in high school and got good grades in it — and the AP test showed they didn’t actually know it. So they got placed in Calc I, and they thought it would be an easy course for them. Imagine their surprise at the Cs and Ds they got. Imagine if they had been fairly graded in high school, so that they knew they had to =pay=attention= to Calc class in college, because they didn’t actually learn it the first time.

  5. Colleges don’t necessarily dumb down classes for underprepared students. The most successful technique to date is to group students in sections that do extra problems, so they’ll devote more time and get more practice, and to assign them to study groups. Instructors keep telling them they’re expected to earn As and Bs. In short, it’s to get blacks and Hispanics to adopt the study tactics and expectations of Asian-Americans.

  6. Steve LaBonne says:

    Exactly, Joan, that’s what works. But this strategy is seriously undermined by the brainwashing in the victim mentality that incoming minority freshpersons receive at more and more campuses.

  7. Steve LaBonne says:

    Sorry for addressing Joanne as “Joan”. One of these years I must learn to type. 😉

  8. Jack Tanner says:

    If you want to piss off diversity coordinators (and who doesn’t?) tell them your ethnicity is American.


  1. More Diversity Perversity

    Joanne Jacobs does an admirable job (as usual) reporting on two Christian Science Monitor articles on “diversity,” and I’ll not repeat what she said here. Instead, I’ll simply highlight one comment from each that impress me as sadly typical The