With a few days left before Michigan votes on banning racial preferences, University of Michigan’s admissions director issued a warning:
“If we abolish affirmative action, the top minority students that we will no longer be able to get will go to Brown and Penn instead,” (Ted) Spencer said.
John Rosenberg responds on Discriminations:
So, Michigan voters, do minority students a favor: vote Yes on Proposition 2 and send them to the Ivy League!
The panel also included a law professor who helped the law school’s affirmative-action policy 42 years ago.
(Douglass Kahn) said that at the time he was a strong supporter of racial preferences, but he believed that they would only be around for five to eight years. Now, Kahn said, racial preferences no longer offer the benefit they once did and have a negative effect on society.
California passed an identical measure 10 years ago. Universities responded by letting students argue they’ve overcome barriers such as poverty, discrimination and disability. It’s served as a de facto substitute for racial and ethnic preferences but hasn’t equalized the numbers of low-income, black or Hispanic students admitted to the University of California system.
Last week a UC committee suggested revising the eligibility system that reserves the top-tier universities for students who graduate in the top 12.5 percent of the class based on grades and test scores. They want to let C+ students try to persuade admissions officers that their motivation, inititiative and leadership skills will make them successful.
I read a UC-Davis study they cite: UC students who get special consideration for overcoming hardships or showing initiative do worse than their below-average grades and test scores would predict, not better. The exception is students who admissions officials have decided show strong leadership skills. Leaders do better than their academic index number (grades and scores) would predict but not as well as students admitted solely on grades and scores. Students admitted in the bottom quartile of the academic index are significantly less likely to graduate in five years than students in the top half of the class or even the third quartile.
Children of educated and education-minded parents do a lot better in school and are much better prepared for college success than the children of poor, poorly educated parents who don’t come from an education-first culture. Students who’ve coped with multiple disadvantages are still struggling in college, the study says. If there’s too much to deal with, they’re likely to be overwhelmed.