Racial Tiebreaker Admissions

Discussion in 'Education and Academia' started by IntheNet, Jun 22, 2005.

  1. IntheNet

    IntheNet New Member

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    Court considers 'racial tiebreaker' admissions
    http://www.cnn.com/2005/EDUCATION/06/22/seattle.schools.diversity.ap/index.html
    Wednesday, June 22, 2005; Posted: 1:24 p.m. EDT (17:24 GMT)
    SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) -- The Seattle School District urged a federal appeals court to allow it to use race as a key element in admissions, a program it scrapped in 2002 amid legal challenges from parents complaining skin color should not be a deciding factor. In 2001, 200 high school students were denied the school of their choice because they were white, and 100 more because they were classified as a "nonwhite" minority -- an admissions policy that kept some students from attending their neighborhood schools.

    ~

    I am curious what you folks think about this San Francisco ridiculousness about "using race in admissions"??? My opinion is that, indeed, the fact that "200 high school students were denied the school of their choice because they were white" would probably mean that Dr. Martin Luther King would be against such discrimination (reverse though it may be). When are schools going to get it? Treat everyone -- everyone -- equally...


  2. yossarian

    yossarian Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm curious as to why you say this is "San Francisco ridiculousness." Isn't the story about a Seattle school district?
  3. IntheNet

    IntheNet New Member

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    Yes. I was refering to this: "An 11-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals" (based in SF). Clear now?
  4. yossarian

    yossarian Moderator Staff Member

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    But why do you refer to it as San Francisco ridiculousness? The initial 3 judge appellate court panel upheld the position you support. The en banc panel agreed to hear the matter but hasn't ruled. Shouldn't you have said this was "Seattle ridiculousness" since so far everything that you view as ridiculous has occurred in Seattle?


  5. nicephoras

    nicephoras BigSoccer Supporter

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    You expect ITN to know what en banc means? That's so cute Yoss. :)
  6. yossarian

    yossarian Moderator Staff Member

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    Ehh, that's what google's for, right?
  7. IntheNet

    IntheNet New Member

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    You do get partial credit for a vain attempt to sidetrack and/or derail post topic, but this credit is offset by completing ignoring the point.
  8. dj43

    dj43 New Member

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    This is a clear violation of the Civil Rights Act, IMO, whether it happened in Seattle, SF or Keokuk, Iowa.

    This exact topic has been addressed by Ward Connerly, (who happens to be an African-American) a former chancellor in the UC system. In fact, he quotes Dr King frequently in his lectures and speeches in which condemns the use of race in any decision in which ethnic background is used as a determinant.

    It has been estimated that the state of California spends as much as $8 MILLION/year gathering information on ethic makeup that is, at least in theory of CRA/64, illegal to use.
  9. needs

    needs New Member

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    That's not the governing interpretation of the CRA, though. It frankly doesn't matter what Ward Connerly thinks. And it doesn't matter how well he can use MLK quotes toward his own ends.

    What matters is what the Supreme Court has ruled about the use of race in determining educational admission and how the circuit court applies those rulings. This was settled in the Michigan cases two years ago. The rulings basically said that race can be considered as one of many factors in determining admissions/school composition but that those preferences have to be based on individual scrutiny, not inflexible systems or set targets. On that basis, it seems that the 9th circuit was legally right to rule out the 60/40 system in place in Seattle.

    You guys do know that the 3-judge panel ruled the system unconstitutional, right?
  10. yossarian

    yossarian Moderator Staff Member

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    I tried to explain that but ITN is too confused about what cities are involved to acknowledge such.
  11. dj43

    dj43 New Member

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    Perhaps my reliance on Connerly confused the issue.

    This is a long, old debate but I believe it is fundamentally dishonest to say that a "minority" deserves access to certain, unearned goodies, only to find out later that they cannot hold onto them because they do not possess they core capability to do so. But all too many people have become so used to painting "color" into the equation that this fact has been glossed over.

    As a coach, with a teaching wife, the idea of training/teaching is fundamental in this household. To that end, setting reasonable goals is critical. When goals are not reasonable, disappointment and bitterness are the result. To that end, if I told every kid that joined my soccer team that they would get a scholarship as a result with little regard for their basic ability, I would have a lot of disillusioned kids and mad parents chasing me all the time.

    Yet I firmly believe that a great deal of the frustration and disappointment of many people in this country is due to the fact that we have done this to all too many folks. :(
  12. IntheNet

    IntheNet New Member

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    Equality means just that; treating everyone equally, based on performance. Judgment of admissions based on skin color, ethnic makeup, or any other minority factor, as opposed to performance, is just plain discrimination, no matter how well you hide it in some asinine admissions policy. The Seattle School District shoud just announce to the parents that they are going to screw the majority based on apologetic admissions logic!

    Home schooling keeps looking better and better!
  13. quentinc

    quentinc New Member

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    But the majority of minority students go to schools that have less-qualified teachers, with fewer higher-level (AP and Honors classes) that look good on a college transcript. However, white, suburban students (like me) are given better teachers, and have more high-level classes. In San Antonio, my school has at least 20 AP classes, while some schools downtown hardly have any.

    And the schools that are struggling get less and less funding because of low standardized test scores:rolleyes:

    The point being, many minorities would not get consideration if their situation isn't accounted for. If colleges couldn't use that in the admissions process, the students that aren't getting a fair shake would be shortchanged.
  14. X X I

    X X I Red Card

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    No. If you think about it, affirmative action isn't really discrimination. Let's say you have two students that have the same profile: white, all honors classes, many activities. Who would the admissions commitee pick? The kid who has the highest grade obviously. Now say that there's two kids: one white, one black, same GPA, same activities, same classes. Who are they going to pick? In many situations (with a few exceptions) the black kid would chosen. Why because he adds more to the school in the way of diversity. And diversity, BELIEVE IT OR NOT (I know it's hard to understand for some people), can be a very enriching, and in today's world, necessary learning experience.
  15. IntheNet

    IntheNet New Member

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    You just described proactive discrimination...
  16. dj43

    dj43 New Member

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    Hypotheticals are not the best way to argue a point but...

    what you seem to be implying here is a justification for using race to achieve diversity. I hope that "education" never feels compelled to follow that path. Diversity, in and of itself, is not a positive goal. To suggest that we have to immerse ourselves in every culture, every idea and concept that comes along, and pack that into a 4 year educational pursuit is foolish.

    Our schools and universities should maintain their focus on preparing young people for a specific career, at least through their undergrad studies. If an individual wants to pursue other goals after that, fine. But until that time, the goal should be clearly defined, and confined, to serving the expressed goals and desires of the student, not some secondary sociological desire.
  17. needs

    needs New Member

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    What if universities feel that pursuing a racially diverse student body is a compelling interest in that it improves the quality of education?

    Research in social psychology has shown just that: people learn more in racially diverse classrooms. That was one of the compelling interests cited in the Supreme Courts' rulings in the Michigan cases. The studies and briefs are probably still up somewhere on www.umich.edu. The university's compelling interest in diversity is that it improves the education of everyone at the school. Thus, the university performs its function -- educating individuals -- better.

    And the focus of a university should not be career preparation. It should be to allow students to develop their ability to think and reason, regardless of the specific field they choose. That's a goal that goes beyond career goals, hell, it even goes beyond individual student consumer preference. Why do schools have distribution requirements? To push students to develop their ability to think in different ways, in ways they're unaccustomed to thinking. Those requirements may seem peripheral to the goals and desires of the particular student, but they are central to achieving the university's goal of helping individual students develop their ability to think.


    Here's one such study: http://gseweb.harvard.edu/~hepg/gurin.html
    Here's a link to all the expert testimony in the Michigan cases: http://www.umich.edu/~urel/admissions/research/#um
  18. dj43

    dj43 New Member

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    thank you for these links. I'll read them when I have more time. I am willing to be convinced but have not been to this point.
  19. Ismitje

    Ismitje Super Moderator Staff Member

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    The policy under discussion pertains to admission to high schools. Most of the comments here seem to assume that this is a college thing - no one is denied a place, period. And one part of the story was omitted. Ues, 200 whites were denied a place in the high school of their choice, but so were 100 nonwhites. I know that is half of the white number - the point being that this isn't a white-nonwhite issue.

    From the story:

    ". . . under the plan, students may choose any school to attend, and the district automatically allows those with siblings to attend the same school. The district uses race as a determining factor only when there are more applicants than available classroom space."

    It would be helpful to discuss alternative ways the district can accomodate students without resorting to race. A tie-breaker by all definitions decides between equal students. I assume that the prefered option would be an unweighted lottery?
  20. needs

    needs New Member

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    Good point on the focus. This is more a "neighborhood vs. desegregated schools" thing than anything to do with admissions.

    It seems like this targeted ratio is the thing that the courts have a problem with...

  21. nicephoras

    nicephoras BigSoccer Supporter

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    Unfortunately, in practice, you're arguing that racial diversity is more important than socioeconomic diversity, which is why I dislike affirmative action in its current incarnation.
    Also, this line of reasoning brings up the question of where one draws the line of admitting non-qualified students to educate everyone better. In my opinion, the one thing that determines the quality of the educational institution, beyond teachers, facilities, money or anything else is the quality of the student. If you're put into a room of morons, your work will likely suffer as well. If you're put into a room of geniuses, you'll be forced to do better work and everyone learns from each other. I've seen this in practice as well. So at what point is allowing students whose abilities are lower by all measurable criteria insufficient compensation for their "diversity" factor? And, in practice, as I alluded above, how does the fact that most of the kids admitted to very good colleges/grad schools (which is what these discussions are really about) are quite wealthy? You're admitting someone who may be racially different, but who's your typical suburban kid, albeit with lower grades and test scores. This is why I don't like the programs in their current iteration. I'm all in favor of socioeconomic affirmative action, but not racial. In California, for instance, affirmative action hurts poor Asians the most, because their numbers are sufficiently high not to count as an underepresented minority. I don't think that's fair. (And I don't have a horse in this race.)

    If so, the Michigan case is inapplicable. Law schools are professional programs, not graduate programs. The government, especially in regard to aid, views them as identical to a plumbing college.
  22. X X I

    X X I Red Card

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    This is EXACTLY what I was getting at. Great post. :)
  23. Sempuukyaku

    Sempuukyaku Member

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    Right...because it should be automatically assumed that minorities are not as capable of performing as well as any white person.

    Sigh....

    :rolleyes:
  24. nicodemus

    nicodemus Member+

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    This is an interesting (and personal) topic for me because my child is mixed race. I sometimes wonder what effect this type of admissions policy will have on my child. He will have advantages with admissions and scholarships (if the current mode of thinking stays in place) because of his mother. Will that lead him to favor one half of his heritage over the other because of these types of advantages?
  25. Claus KJ

    Claus KJ New Member

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    If that's the case then wouldn't the sensible thing to do be to allocate more resources to the underfunded schools instead of allowing students to enter a education they might not really have the necessary qualifications to take?

    To me that would be an attempt to treat the disease and not the symptoms, a practice that is generally acknowledged as the best way to do things in almost all other fields of life.

    KJ

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