Mike Kueber's Blog

May 9, 2013

More good news on socio-economic mobility

The United States Supreme Court will be soon handing down a decision that is likely to significantly limit the use of race-based affirmative action in college admissions.  As with most Supreme Court decisions nowadays, the decision will follow a public-policy trend (gun rights) instead of blazing a trail (e.g., legalizing abortion or requiring the schooling of illegal immigrants).  In fact, the voters several large states – FL, MI, WA, and CA – declined to wait for the Supreme Court and have already forbidden race-based affirmative action. 

Not surprisingly, the “progressive” City of San Antonio seems to be still living in the past because its City Council recently rescinded its policy requiring that contracts be issued in a race-neutral manner and instead established a process for preferences to be awarded to racial minorities.  Such minority preferences are hard to rationalize, but easy to understand, when you consider that minorities comprise nine of the eleven spots on the San Antonio City Council.

As I’ve previously blogged, some colleges are beginning to look for something to replace their apparently doomed affirmative-action programs, and an article in the New York Times yesterday described a promising two-pronged approach being used in California: 

  1. Giving applicants a leg up for overcoming disadvantages like poverty, language barriers, low-performing schools and troubled neighborhoods.
  2. Disadvantaged students in poor neighborhoods are benefiting from the state university systems’ growing efforts to cultivate applicants starting in middle school.

The article concludes with the following summary:

  • It is not enough, university administrators say, to change the way they select students; they must also change the students themselves, and begin to do so long before the time arrives to fill out applications.”

These concepts applying affirmative action make perfect sense, but the trick will be the execution.  Good luck.






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