Administration: Diversity justifies race-conscious policies

 Schools and colleges can consider consider race and ethnicity to promote diversity, advises the Education and Justice Departments in new “guidances” that reverse Bush Administration policy.

“Diverse learning environments promote development of analytical skills, dismantle stereotypes, and prepare students to succeed in an increasingly interconnected world,” Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said in announcing the guidance Dec. 2 with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

Race-neutral policies should be considered first, but need not be tried before being deemed “unworkable,” according to the administration. And race or ethnicity can be a “plus factor,” but not a “defining” factor.

“A school district should not evaluate student applicants in a way that makes a student’s race his or her defining factor,” says the K-12 guidance, in reference to decisions on competitive academic programs, for example.

Civil rights groups have been lobbying for the changes.

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to decide in January whether to consider a white student’s challenge of the use of race in University of Texas admissions policy.

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  1. Richard Aubrey says:

    Somebody should explain in objective terms the benefits to the white kids of having the critical mass around. What do you learn? That certain groups self-segregate and don’t welcome outsiders? Could learn that from the newspapers. Anything else?
    Back when the Pistons were on top of the NBA, they were entirely diverse, except for Bill Laimbeer.

  2. I can’t remember the source, but there was a recent study of freshmen and seniors at a number of highly-competitve colleges. The seniors had significantly lower views of URMs (ability, motivation, attitudes etc.) than did the freshmen.That’s not totally surprising; given the magnitude of the typical AA boost, most of the URMs had entered with significantly lower credentials, so they were pre-programmed to be at the lower end of the class. Those URMs who did not need AA to be admitted had to overcome the stereotype, of course, and the process can be painful.

  3. Richard Aubrey says:

    momof4. That was predictable, if not a matter of experience for some or many of us.
    Thing is, the change in attitude in the sophs means we need to hire more diversity instructors, so it’s not all bad.

  4. > Diverse learning environments promote development of analytical skills

    Really? I can imagine that a diversity of ideas promotes more/better learning, but that’s not the diversity they’re talking about. How could having folks of other races and beliefs sitting around me lead to better analytical skills?

  5. Walter E Wallis says:

    It should be ILLEGAL to accumulate ANY statistic of race. Every student is an individual to be judged as an individual. Any racial segregation, whether to benefit or to harm a “race” is a criminal act.