Analysis: Overall Supreme Court Ruling a Mixed-Bag For Civil Rights Advocates

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affirmative-actionIn the 1990s, it appeared that a conservative tide was moving through on social issues.  In 1994, California overwhelmingly passed Prop 187, adding severe restrictions on benefits to illegal immigrants and their children.  In 1996, the state passed Prop 209, ending affirmative action in California.  And the state also passed a proposition banning gay marriage, which was followed by federal legislation like DOMA.

Even the much ballyhooed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy” was, at best, a compromise on gays in the military.

It looked like not only would social programs go down, but conservative politicians could effectively use them as wedge issues, dividing liberals amongst themselves.  But one by one, these measures have fallen down and, in the latest defeat, the Supreme Court surprised many by not doing much on affirmative action and leaving in place, at least, the principle that public universities may continue to use affirmative action to ensure a diverse student body.

The result is a mixed bag, with analysts believing that the ruling will allow Michigan’s voter-approved ban on the use of affirmative action in college admissions in place.

The ACLU, however, was quick to laud what they called two landmark decisions, upholding universities’ affirmative action policies.

“Today the Supreme Court’s decisions affirm the nation’s commitment to diversity in education and the use of affirmative action,” said Maya Harris, Racial Justice Project Director for the ACLU of Northern California.

Even that praise was muted, as Ms. Harris quickly added, “Unfortunately, because of Proposition 209, these decisions won’t do anything to expand opportunity for students of color seeking entry into the University of California system. If the current Supreme Court can recognize diversity as a compelling interest and approve the use of race in achieving that important goal, it’s sad that California – the most racially diverse state in the nation – would not. Hopefully, today’s decisions will reopen that debate in California.”

“It’s also important that we not lose sight of why we still need affirmative action in California. Educational opportunity remains shockingly unequal today along racial lines,” continued Ms. Harris. “At the K-12 level, schools serving the greatest proportion of students of color and low-income students are twenty percent less likely to have textbooks. These kids are working hard in the classroom, but they have no books to take home and study. While 32% of White students in California move on to four-year universities, only 23% of African Americans and 12% of Latinos do so. The playing field is far from level.”

The national ACLU and its Michigan affiliate were co-counsel on behalf of a group of minority students in the challenge to the University’s undergraduate admissions affirmative action policy, Gratz v. Bollinger, 02-51, and joined a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the University’s law school admissions policy in Grutter v. Bollinger, 02-241.

“Today’s ruling recognizes that there is still work that needs to be done to fulfill the promise of equal educational opportunity that the Court set in motion nearly 50 years ago in another landmark case, Brown v. Board of Education,” said national ACLU Legal Director Steven R. Shapiro. In today’s decisions, the Court rejected the manner in which race was considered by the undergraduate schools, but it made clear that race could be considered as one factor in the admissions process.

“With today’s ruling, the Court has kept the door open for thousands of academically qualified students of color to continue to pursue the American dream through our nation’s colleges and universities.”

“Today’s near-unanimous decision leaves intact the important principle that universities have a compelling interest in a diverse student body, and that race can be one factor among many that universities consider in a carefully crafted admissions program,” said Dennis Parker, director of the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program.

He added, “We believe that the University of Texas has made a strong showing that its admissions plan was necessary to achieve meaningful diversity, and that it can and should be upheld under the standard that the Supreme Court announced today.”

NAACP Chairwoman Roslyn Brock issued a statement expressing satisfaction with the outcome.

“This is a critical decision toward ensuring equal opportunity in education,” said Ms. Brock. “It is in our nation’s best interest to grant a fair chance to people with various backgrounds and ethnicities. In today’s global economy, all Americans will benefit from a diverse and inclusive environment in higher education.”

The organization’s general counsel, Kim Keenan, praised the impact of the ruling, as well.

“The NAACP applauds the Court’s preservation of the Grutter standard permitting universities to consider racial and ethnic diversity as on factor among many in a carefully crafted admissions policy,” said Keenan. “Given that University of Texas’ policy can be used to admit white students for purposes of diversity, we are confident that Fifth Circuit will uphold the policy. Diversity is an opportunity for all students to obtain an education that will prepare them for, to interact and compete with anyone, anywhere in the world.”

However, legal analysts argued that, while the court ruling “will do nothing to change practice at Michigan’s public universities, it does offer hope to those supportive of Michigan’s voter-approved ban on the use of affirmative action in college admissions,” according to a report by McClatchy News.

“The justices held that universities have to prove there is a real need for affirmative action programs to diversify student enrollment and that courts must take a strict review of such programs to determine whether they are justified,” they write.  “That toughening stance on the use of affirmative action in college admissions signals what the high court might do this fall when it takes up an appeal of a lower federal court’s decision last fall to throw out Michigan’s Proposal 2.”

“The court made it clear that when lower courts are reviewing the cases, they have to do it with rigor,” Professor Philip Pucillo told McClatchy. “They were giving universities the benefit of the doubt. The University of Texas has to prove why it needs (affirmative action).”

ProPublica further noted, “Afiirmative action, in its threadbare form, lives for now. But there was enough in Monday’s opinion to suspect it will be diminished further in time.”

That has led to some like Richard Kahlenberg, a long proponent of class-based affirmative action, to suggest giving the idea more consideration.

As ProPublica notes, “The idea seems simple enough: This approach would give poor students of any race a helping hand into college, and any policy that gives an admissions boost to lower-income students would naturally benefit significant numbers of black and Latino students.”

“My primary interest is in ensuring that we have a fair process that looks at the biggest disadvantages that people face today, which I see as class-based,” Professor Kahlenberg said in a recent interview. “That will end up helping low-income and working-class students of all races.”

ProPublica continues, “Kahlenberg knows that many dispute this belief. But he says skepticism directed at the class-based solution has to be weighed against its dim alternative: If race-based affirmative action disappears with no program to replace it, African Americans and Latinos on college campuses will disappear too. Studies show that African-American and Latino enrollment at the nation’s top 200 colleges would plummet by two-thirds if colleges stopped considering race when deciding whom to accept.”

However, many scholars argue that, while disregarding race may be a good political solution, many schools fear that “race remains so powerful a factor that a class-based system would seriously reduce black and Latino representation at American colleges from their current levels.”

“There are disadvantages that accrue to African Americans and Latinos that are not explained by class,” said Anthony Carnevale, director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. “You simply cannot get race by using class.”

On the other hand, those predicting the demise of race-based affirmative action may be laying it in its grave too soon.  An argument can be made that the balance of the Supreme Court right now represents potentially its most right-ward ebb and that, over the next decade or so, if the country continues swinging away from the Republican Party for its Presidents, the next Court may have a slight liberal leaning, as opposed to the current makeup of the court.

To put it another way, imagine Stephen Breyer as the swing vote, rather than Anthony Kennedy.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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68 thoughts on “Analysis: Overall Supreme Court Ruling a Mixed-Bag For Civil Rights Advocates”

  1. Growth Izzue

    Liberals want it both ways. It’s okay to discriminate against whites who are applying for college admissions but want to cry discrimaination when it comes to gay marriage.

  2. Davis Progressive

    in order to “want it both ways,” they would have to agree with your assessment that affirmative action – providing means to even discrepancies is in fact discrimination against whites rather than, as many see it, a way to put minority applicants on more even footing with whites.

    the bottom line is that they don’t want it both ways, they simply view affirmative action in a different light than you.

  3. Davis Progressive

    do you believe that prolife people are being hypocrites if they support the death penalty and the war? are do you believe that each person’s opinion has a sufficient number of nuances to create a relatively coherent differentiation across issues?

  4. Davis Progressive

    you completely missed my point – i was actually arguing that many apparent discrepancies are actually relatively easily explainable.

  5. Growth Izzue

    [quote]How is giving preference to students of alumni any less discriminatory then giving preference to minority students? [/quote]

    Because it’s not based on race. That being said I’m not for that either. Admissions should be based on applicants performance only.

  6. Davis Progressive

    so you’re only problem with preferential treatment is when it’s based on race?

    and your second point brings up the heart of the problem: how do you measure preformance, and why do you assume that the standard measures adequately measure performance uniformly across schools, locations, socioeconomic backgrounds, and racial groups?

  7. Mr Obvious

    All students take the same SAT’s college entry exams, and have to fill out same applications. I don’t believe the color of ones skin makes it harder to take the test or fill out the forms.

  8. Growth Izzue

    I’m also for our CA taxpayer state college system admittng CA students first and foremost before we even consider out of state or foriegn students.

  9. Davis Progressive

    probably color does not make it harder to take the test or fill out the forms, at least in terms of the physical portion of that. however, gaining the knowledge is a vastly different story.

    lets use a baseball analogy. do you think the pros should draft kids based strictly on their statistical batting average and era in high school? i’ll risk an answer for you – of course not. the level of competition is different. so they’ve adapted a variety of different techniques to judge talent some of it old fashioned scouting and some pretty rigorous mathematical algorithms.

    bottom line, baseball is far more competitive in a pure sense than even college and yet, they don’t use a one-size-fits all approach to determine who the best players will be.

    and yet you somehow believe that approach will work for students.

    i think ideally, we would spent millions of dollars to come up with algorithms that attempt to predict college performance from high school scores and background and maybe, that’s the way to go. i think if race would still be one of those variables.

    but honestly, that’s a lot of what affirmative action really is, figuring out a battery of different factors that get weighted into the equation. since bakke, race can’t be the only factor, but it can be a factor.

  10. Davis Progressive

    “I’m also for our CA taxpayer state college system admittng CA students first and foremost before we even consider out of state or foriegn students. “

    are you also in favor of paying more in tax money to offset the cost differential to the universities?

  11. Growth Izzue

    [quote]are you also in favor of paying more in tax money to offset the cost differential to the universities? [/quote]

    No, I’m for the universities reigning in their runaway costs.

  12. Frankly

    Affirmative Action is a trick that liberal whites and capable minorities support to ensure a continued limit to competition for prosperity and political power as those rewarded by Affirmative Action will never get to a high level of self-sufficiency as they are brainwashed into thinking that life should be made easier for them. And once brainwashed, they are forced to vote for those that continue to make life easier for them.

    Affirmative Action says “You are not my equal, so let me prop you up so you feel better about yourself, and I feel better for helping to prop you up.”

    SCOTUS just renewed the stigma that afflicts minorities as being something less; and in doing so ensured they will continue to be thought of as something less.

    There is a substantial body of evidence that supports the opinion that Affirmative Action does not improve the long-term economic circumstances of minorities. And there is also a substantial body of evidence that supports the fact that Affirmative Action harms others, primarily white poor and middle-class people.

    GI has it right. Affirmative Action is the epitome of Liberal hypocrisy… but not just because it allows for discrimination of some people based on race and not others, but because it damages the brand of one race over another.

    Two young people from similar low-economic backgrounds interviewing for a job. One is black and a beneficiary of Affirmative Action college admissions. The other is white and had to work around all the extra impediments to college admission caused him by Affirmative Action. Which one will be the more ready and capable candidate? Which one will cause a hiring manager to pause and wonder if the “propping-up” lessons will carry to the workplace?

    Bottom line… there are no short-cuts to true capability, self-sufficiency, self-confidence and self-esteem. We should all have to compete the same. The only criteria that requires assistance is economic. If we continue to have laws and rules that are race-based, we will continue to have racial division and racial strife. This is the last and most damning bit of hypocrisy from liberals related to their demand for Affirmative Action, it perpetuates the very racial divisions that they claim to dislike. It provides evidence of a codependent relationship that exists between liberals and the minority groups they claim to support.

    Ask yourself… if we were truly all equal then how would Democrats encourage 95% of blacks to vote for them?

  13. J.R.

    Not only is affirmative action a form of racism, it is also harmful to minorities and society.

    Minorities admitted under affirmative action tend to be in the lowest tier of their college. Then they find themselves struggling and drop out at above average rates. This has been documented by studies, but is ignored by administrators who just pretend to care about diversity, but could care less about the lives of the students that fit their quotas.

    As practiced by UC, where it is technically forbidden but in practice actively pursued via “holistic” admissions, affirmative action causes widespread cynicism about the institution, and contempt for UC leadership. Not what one would hope for at what should be a noble institution.

  14. Mr Obvious

    DP, I like the baseball analogy but it doesn’t work. Teams will not draft underperforming players based on the color of their skin, as affirmative action would.

    If you want to argue that some cultures are worse than others at preparing their youngsters for college I’m willing to have a discussion. I don’t think you can use the blanket of “minority” because some minorities have no issues getting into college.

  15. Don Shor

    [quote]“Strict scrutiny (of the policy) imposes on the university the ultimate burden of demonstrating, before turning to racial classification, that available, workable race-neutral alternatives do not suffice,” he said.[/quote] — Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority.

    Seems like a pretty narrow ruling to me. You can use race, but only as a last resort.

  16. Growth Izzue

    [quote]You can use race, but only as a last resort. [/quote]

    Oh, so we can just rest assured that our liberal college administrators will never use race unless it’s the last resort? Pigs fly too.

  17. Don Shor

    [quote]Oh, so we can just rest assured that our liberal college administrators will never use race unless it’s the last resort?[/quote]
    Maybe someone with more legal expertise can answer, but from what they said on the News Hour last night the case was sent back to the lower courts for review. So refinement of exactly how universities can use racial criteria will have to be resolved by further lawsuits.

  18. JustSaying

    Isn’t it great to have Scalia there to stop the “perpetuation of racial entitlement”–yesterday, education, and, today, voting, Tomorrow?

  19. Davis Progressive

    that’s correct they don’t draft underperforming players – although if you look through the draft you find guys with high era’s and low batting averages who they have drafted based on potential. i think that’s how you need to look at affirmative action.

    given what we know about sabremetrics for baseball, i do think we could improve our metrics.

  20. B. Nice

    [quote]Not only is affirmative action a form of racism, it is also harmful to minorities and society. Minorities admitted under affirmative action tend to be in the lowest tier of their college. Then they find themselves struggling and drop out at above average rates.[/quote]

    So your solution is never to give them a chance to begin with? Maybe a better alternative would be to provide support for these students.

  21. B. Nice

    [quote]Affirmative Action says “You are not my equal, so let me prop you up so you feel better about yourself, and I feel better for helping to prop you up.” [/quote]

    In my view, it’s more like Affirmative Action says, “You have not had equal opportunities or advantages, so let me give you a chance to make a better life for yourself”

  22. Growth Izzue

    [quote]So your solution is never to give them a chance to begin with? Maybe a better alternative would be to provide support for these students. [/quote]

    So, because of race, these students who didn’t have the grades or scores took the place of others who did do the work and made the grades. Is that fair to them, what happens to their chances?

  23. Frankly

    [i]In my view, it’s more like Affirmative Action says, “You have not had equal opportunities or advantages, so let me give you a chance to make a better life for yourself”[/i]

    Nope, otherwise it would apply to individuals from all races.

    It is race-based and discriminatory.

  24. Frankly

    There is an interesting dichotomy with respect to Affirmative Action and disability claims. They are two peas in the same pod, IMO. They are short-cut mechanisms. And, they are both completely corruptive and unsustainable.

    Question for those that support Affirmative Action…

    Can you paint the rest of us a picture for what the US society would need to look like before you decide that Affirmative Action is no longer needed or beneficial? And, what is your exit strategy for switching it off? Are you going to just to force all the groups that have become used to the extra help to go cold turkey?

    I have a better idea… why not treat everyone as being equal and make that the clear expectation. I think people generally rise or fall with the expectations others have of them. Liberals apparently expect less from some minorities and feel the impulse to help. Personally, I think this Liberal impulse is the final and significant impediment to the next step in racial civil rights progress. Sure there are ignorant racist people in the world. There will always be some. But until we start judging people only by the content of their character and not the color of their skin, we will forever be divided racially.

  25. Growth Izzue

    Black La. State Senator Elbert Guillory on how Democrat policies control minorities and keep them down:

    [url]http://hotair.com/greenroom/archives/2013/06/19/video-black-democrat-turned-republican-explains-party-switch/[/url]

  26. K.Smith

    [quote]i think ideally, we would spent millions of dollars to come up with algorithms that attempt to predict college performance from high school scores and background and maybe, that’s the way to go. i think if race would still be one of those variables. [/quote]

    I think many would prefer not having a computer decide what basically amounts to their future. There are a lot of “late bloomers,” myself included, who did not follow a “traditional” academic trajectory. Those people should then be SOL as far as college goes? Throw in my family background into that algorithm (as you suggest), and I would have been well and truly screwed, since I was the first of my family to go to college, and the rest of my family members are from a working-class background.

    Even though it took me longer to get going, I’ve since received a PhD and have worked successfully in both the private and public sectors (I currently have one foot in each world, so to speak). Your mechanical algorithm would likely have excluded people like me from admission.

  27. K.Smith

    Sorry…I should clarify that my previous comment didn’t really have anything to do with race. I was reacting strictly to the idea of an algorithm deciding college admissions. I’m not sure if the OP intended that to apply only to affirmative action admissions.

  28. Ginger

    The problem, as I see it, with affirmative action admissions panels are only looking at the color of a person’s skin…regardless of their personal circumstances.

    In my graduate program the students of color were admitted with lower thresholds for undergrad GPA’s and standardized testing scores…and once classes started they were given free tutors and other assistance. Awesome, right? They needed “a way to put minority applicants on more even footing with whites.”

    Except the majority of them came from upper middle class or better circumstances. Sorry, but you can’t convince me that a 23 year-old daughter of a physician driving a beamer and carrying a Louise Vitton bag is disadvantaged. Also? The students of color were THEMSELVES almost unilaterally embarrassed with those lower standards, and let it be known that they would have gotten in with the same standards as the non-minorities (and they shared their free tutoring materials with all of us…THEY wanted to level the playing field).

    IF these affirmative action admissions policies REALLY wanted to help disadvantaged students of color, then they’d take into account the particular background of each student is, not just the color of the person’s skin.

    I’m a white girl who heard gunshots while sitting in my high school classroom, and I put myself through college working full time while going to school full time, 100% on my own. I honestly could have used a way to put me on even footing with advantaged kids (of any ethnicity)…not that I think I deserved it nor that society owed me that. Just stating the objective facts.

    I’d happily support an affirmative action program that helped minorities from backgrounds like mine. Blanket help for anyone who is a student of color? Isn’t necessarily helping the ones who truly could use the help.

  29. David M. Greenwald

    “So, because of race, these students who didn’t have the grades or scores took the place of others who did do the work and made the grades. Is that fair to them, what happens to their chances?”

    That argument is problematic. It also depends on what you think a college should be admitting based on. The baseball analogy above is interesting, because if you are looking strictly at potential, you need to create metrics to measure that potential and part of that will be based on obstacles and hardship.

    Even if you believe people should be admitted to college based on achievement, it is not clear to me that a flat scale is measuring achievement. After all, you can argue the kid in the inner city is having to overcome a lot more to get their scores, than perhaps other kids.

  30. B. Nice

    “So, because of race, these students who didn’t have the grades or scores took the place of others who did do the work and made the grades. Is that fair to them, what happens to their chances?”

    I don’t think your taking into account the inherent disadvantages that some minority kids face when taking these tests.

  31. B. Nice

    “Nope, otherwise it would apply to individuals from all races. It is race-based and discriminatory.”

    So are some of the reasons why minority kids aren’t scoring as well on standardized test. The fact that some face more challenges is directly tied to their race and racial discrimination that has occurred in the past, and some that continues to this day. At some point we need to level the playing field. I’d prefer it happened before college, but until that happens AA gives opportunities to very hard working young people who because of their race have been denied equal opportunities and access to higher education.

  32. Ginger

    [quote]After all, you can argue the kid in the inner city is having to overcome a lot more to get their scores, than perhaps other kids.[/quote]

    Absolutely. But not all inner city kids are minorities. Not all minorities are disadvantaged. Not all disadvantaged are inner city kids.

  33. Frankly

    [quote]Employers who have affirmative action obligations as federal contractors may wonder whether this SCOTUS decision affects them. Technically, the answer is no. The reason is that affirmative action is mandatory for employers with covered federal contracts. Executive Order 11246 requires them to track the race/ethnicity and gender of applicants and employees, cast a wide net to find qualified candidates, and monitor their personnel activities to ensure nondiscrimination. However, the Court’s approach is consistent with modern-day affirmative action enforcement by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). [b]Interestingly, if a federal contractor were to admit using race/ethnicity or gender to make employment decisions, even for a benign affirmative action purpose, the OFCCP today would likely find that to be illegal discrimination.[/b] These days, the OFCCP is focused on providing equal employment opportunities and preventing and correcting discrimination. [/quote]

    A clear sign that Affirmative Action is wrong and wrong-headed. It is now the practice of using race/ethnicity and gender (and sexual orientation) for applicants while working hard to make sure that preference based on race/ethnicity and gender can be effectively denied.

  34. B. Nice

    “Absolutely. But not all inner city kids are minorities. Not all minorities are disadvantaged. Not all disadvantaged are inner city kids.”

    But many face disadvantages because of their race.

  35. Ginger

    [quote]But many face disadvantages because of their race.[/quote]

    Some. Not all.

    Are you going to tell me that the daughter of a physician who happens to be African American is more at a disadvantage than a white kid living in an inner city? Which of the two, if either, should be special treatment for admission/hiring/etc.?

  36. Frankly

    [i]Even if you believe people should be admitted to college based on achievement, it is not clear to me that a flat scale is measuring achievement. After all, you can argue the kid in the inner city is having to overcome a lot more to get their scores, than perhaps other kids.[/i]

    The problem with this mindset. You cannot help people by lowering the bar for achievement so that they get to participate. You help them by helping them compete. You help them compete by teaching them to cope and overcome adversity. If minorities have such a more difficult struggle in life, then they should be MORE qualified to compete based on the strife and struggle they have had to endure. This is exactly what we see with Asian minorities that immigrate here. So, what is the difference with other minority groups that continue to lag behind in achievement and earned prosperity? It is the impact of that liberal mindset that lowering the bar will make it better. It won’t. It never has. It never will.

    If you really cared about these inner city kids, you would advocate for four things:

    1. Stop and Fisk to reduce gun violence.

    2. A return of Christian family values.

    3. Reduced public benefits based on the number of children out of wedlock, and possibly some financial incentives for NOT having children and graduating from high school.

    4. Complete reform of the crappy public education system.

  37. Growth Izzue

    Ginger, you’re wasting your breath with these bleeding heart liberals because finding racism under every rock is a cottage industry for them.

  38. David M. Greenwald

    “You cannot help people by lowering the bar for achievement”

    Except that you’re not lowering the bar to achievement, you simply understand that achievement is a non-linear variable.

  39. David M. Greenwald

    Let me give you a concrete example. My wife and I go to a program to lose weight. In week one, I lose three pounds. She lost 1. Who did better? By your measure, I did better. The problem is that it was not an even playing field and I can lose three pounds easier and more quickly than she can. By reanalyzing the achievement, it becomes clear that she actually worked a lot harder to reach her result than I did to reach mine.

  40. Growth Izzue

    [quote]After all, you can argue the kid in the inner city is having to overcome a lot more to get their scores, than perhaps other kids.[/quote]

    You could also say the bar is set much higher for white kids because they have no backdoor way to get accepted into the college system. They have to score much higher on their SAT’s and get much higher GPA’s than minorities due to affirmative action.

  41. Don Shor

    [quote]You could also say the bar is set much higher for white kids because they have no backdoor way to get accepted into the college system.[/quote]

    [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legacy_preferences[/url]

  42. David M. Greenwald

    “So who works harder? “

    So one way you could normalize the curve is not look at raw scores at all, but rather look class rankings. There is an obvious downside to that, because it assume normal distribution of scores, whereas it is fairly clear that there are some schools with hire concentrations of high achieving students. But you could easily solve for that by automically taking the top X-percent of students and then take students who score above X-level of raw score.

    Bottom line, there are ways to solve these problems using statistics if you develop the metrics to do it. That’s how they do it btw, in the baseball draft. The math is quite complex and they use algorithms to produce more or less uniform scores.

    So why not do that for college admissions? There is nothing in the law that precludes it, in fact the Michigan system is predicated on a weighted skill, this would just require more difficult math.

  43. Growth Izzue

    [quote]Let me give you a concrete example. My wife and I go to a program to lose weight. In week one, I lose three pounds. She lost 1. Who did better? By your measure, I did better. The problem is that it was not an even playing field and I can lose three pounds easier and more quickly than she can. By reanalyzing the achievement, it becomes clear that she actually worked a lot harder to reach her result than I did to reach mine. [/quote]

    Okay, take a fat black guy a skinny white guy with only 6% body fat that both enter a weight loss contest. The fat guy eats candy bars, doesn’t work out hard and only loses one pound. The skinny white guy works his behind off and cuts hiscalories in half and manages to lose three pounds. The fat black guy wins because he’s black even though the white guy worked much harder.

  44. Frankly

    [i]Ginger, you’re wasting your breath[/i] LOL! I think there are intelligent life forms out there somewhere!

    David, by your weight example, you would have to change the complete assessment and grading method for the education system. My sons struggled and had to work harder to get Bs and Cs in higher math than did those kids gifted with academic intelligences. Are you saying that my sons should have had the bar lowered when they applied to colleges for admission because they had a lower GPA?

  45. Frankly

    So Don, with respect to legacy admissions (the myth or the reality), would that also apply to these colleges?

    [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_historically_black_colleges_and_universities[/url]

  46. Frankly

    Blacks are over represented in professional football and basketball. Some say that it is because of the extra intense playground competition that occurs in inner city schools. Since whites don’t have this same access to help them train and develop as equal in capability to their black peers, we need Affirmative Action in professional Football and Basketball so these white kids have the same opportunities.

  47. Don Shor

    [quote]So Don, with respect to legacy admissions (the myth or the reality), would that also apply to these colleges? [/quote]
    I have no idea.

  48. Frankly

    David: [i]Except that you’re not lowering the bar to achievement, you simply understand that achievement is a non-linear variable.[/i]

    A couple of point come to mind.

    But first let me say that I agree with this.

    One, guy on the street with his hand out for money… I don’t give him anything. But, a guy on the street playing music… I will generally drop a dollar or two into his jar or guitar case.

    Two, race, ethnicity or gender… none of these are measurements of capability or accomplishment. They are only a definition of physical difference.

    The point here is that you should get credit for genuine effort. And, I agree that there are other forms of capability and potential that are not measured. In fact, my railing against the public education system and even higher learning is rooted in this issue. The big reason why I would prefer complete public school reform into more choice and a school-of-one approach is to help kids like these inner-city kids. I think all but a very small percentage of our human life forms are born with potential and skills. We should be helping them discover what these things are at a young age and then tracking them in a way that best exploits their natural capabilities. Yes there needs to be standards, but I think they should all be significantly subordinate to the primary goal of creating self-sufficient adults.

    Much of what we demanded in traditional education, especially much of the humanities, can and should be replaced with skills development training… including training for how to continue to grow knowledge using the copious electronic resources that are at our fingertips at all times.

    Education is stuck on old-style stupid. Educators no longer have the power of knowledge even as they work hard to protect their false monopoly. Information is largely a commodity now. What we need is more expert counselors, facilitators and tutors, and fewer I-am-the-God-of-information-at-the-front-of-the-class lecturers.

    Case in point. I have a motorcycle I have to sell. The carburetor was clogged. I had never taken auto-shop. I did a search on Youtube and it provide me a step-by-step process. Finished the job in an hour. Saved about $400.

    My son recently asked me to explain again how federal laws are decided. I told him to do a search in Wikipedia and then explain to me what he learns. He did and he explained a couple of things to my that I did not even know.

    We need to leverage all this technology and information and teach kids how to access it and use it instead of continuing to try and stuff it in their heads while in school.

    We need technology platforms that expertly guide and track kids in an optimum learning path that exploits their natural strengths and gifts. The feedback they will get as being unique but capable will be infectious to them. It will motivate them to strive more and to work harder.

    Today, the education system is failing to engage too many kids.

    Then we blame:

    – Inner city life
    – Racism
    – Poverty
    – Bad parenting
    – etc., etc., etc.,

    We should not lower the education bar, we should change the education game. Evidence of successful intelligence does not correlate well with academic achievement. Knowing this, I cringe at the consideration of all the kids that got failed and left behind because they didn’t fit in to that narrow education system model student model.

    The best thing we can do to improve racial equity in this country is to blow up our one-size-fits-all education system and redesign it to focus on the individual student.

  49. David M. Greenwald

    Frankly: the professional sports analogy misstates the problem which is not over-representation but under-representation based on current and historical discriminatory practices. The analogy doesn’t hold.

    In terms of your longer comment…

    “race, ethnicity or gender… none of these are measurements of capability or accomplishment.”

    No they do not measure directly capability or accomplishment. They are intervening variables that proxy for countervening variables that would reduce ability to accomplish.

    In a way I agree with your larger analysis and I made the argument that we still teach like its 1950. But as I recall, our level of agreement there only went so far.

    However, I do believe that we can create a fairer of affirmative action, that incorporates my concern that there is continued prejudice against minorities, but also Ginger’s concern about underpriviledged whites.

    I’m trying to nail down the education folks at DJUSD because I want to know exactly how many points simply being white or Asian accounts for on their STAR testing. That would be holding all other factors constant. I think it’s a lot larger than anyone really would like to admit.

  50. Frankly

    david, the NBA players are 78% black. What are you talking about when you write that they are under-represented?

    Sounds to me like we need some white Affirmative Action to right the wrongs being done.

    Are you comfortable ignoring this obvious conflict with your position?

    If you are making a case that 78% is fine because slavery and racism existed historically, then I have to ask what your statute of limitations is for that type of thing… since we can go back in time to cover other racial groups. My Irish ancestors were severely oppressed victims of discrimination, slavery and famine. Might I get one of those lower-the-bar passes too?

  51. David M. Greenwald

    Sorry phrased it poorly, the problem that affirmative action seeks to address…

    “Are you comfortable ignoring this obvious conflict with your position? “

    There is no conflict in my positions, the problem that affirmative action seeks to redress is not present in the NBA.

  52. David M. Greenwald

    To answer your statute of limitations question, let me explain how affirmative action admissions work. So the way they did in universities prior to Prop 209, was that they would take the top 40 percent of applications off the top (it may have been higher, it’s been awhile). Of the rest, they then start adding in points for various things. So to answer your question, the point at which those two pools are essentially even in terms of composition is the point at which you no longer will need affirmative action.

  53. J.R.

    The underlying assumption of proponents of affirmative action is that minorities cannot make it without extra help. Whether the results of the policies really help minorities or (as many studies show) hurts them is irrelevant. The biggest racists I know are champions of affirmative action.

  54. wdf1

    J.R.: [i]The underlying assumption of proponents of affirmative action is that minorities cannot make it without extra help. Whether the results of the policies really help minorities or (as many studies show) hurts them is irrelevant. The biggest racists I know are champions of affirmative action.[/i]

    And giving preferred treatment to lower income students is equally despicable?

  55. AdRemmer

    Question to consider:

    How does educator, Jaime Alfonso Escalante Gutierrez’s approach to teaching students calculus (from 1974 to 1991 at Garfield High School, East Los Angeles, California) compare to AA, as it pertains to the “Bar?”

  56. David M. Greenwald

    “The underlying assumption of proponents of affirmative action is that minorities cannot make it without extra help.”

    The original underlying assumption of affirmative action is that you would look at industries and higher education and notice extremely low numbers of minorities including women. When press on the question, the defense was that there were no qualified applicants, but the reality was far more complex and when laws were put into place, suddenly there were plenty of qualified applicants both women and minorities.

    The ongoing need is the understanding that past discriminatory practices not only impact “qualifications” but also continue to some extent today.

    The key question for me ongoing is to what extent current screening tools and in this case we are talking about college which means grades and standardized tests actually reflect achievement and probability of success.

    The way most admissions processes work is that the first x-percent of applicants are admitted strictly based on test scores and grades. Then another percentage they factor in a whole host of background variables including race and that becomes a weighted pool.

    Now I think we can make our metrics more sophisticated in order to really assess qualifications, but that’s the basic concept.

  57. wdf1

    Frankly: [i]Much of what we demanded in traditional education, especially much of the humanities, can and should be replaced with skills development training… including training for how to continue to grow knowledge using the copious electronic resources that are at our fingertips at all times. [/i]

    I disagree on the humanities issue. This also runs counter to what you have previously advocated for with respect to providing opportunities for visual and performing arts. I see a trend of educational reform as focusing more directly on job training and skill specialization, which is what you seem to say you want, and less on broadly applicable skills such as come from a study of the humanities. You’re viewing the humanities more for their informational content and not for the broader thinking skills that one can develop. Here’s one recent article ([url]http://finance.yahoo.com/news/america-raising-generation-kids-cant-124943776.html[/url]) on the issue. Other countries want to be more like us with respect to an educational tradition of humanities and the liberal arts, and we’re trying to be like much of the rest of the world (ource ([url]http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/24/liberal-arts-colleges-postrecession-paths_n_3491558.html[/url])). Your position seems to violate a sense of American exceptionalism that you eagerly embrace as a conservative.

    The rest of your comments in this posting are very typical of stuff you’ve posted before. You speak as if you have recently surveyed the education system and you know what’s going on and what direction it’s going. Our discussions of opportunities in the Davis schools alone have revealed significant gaps in your knowledge.

  58. Frankly

    [i] disagree on the humanities issue. This also runs counter to what you have previously advocated for with respect to providing opportunities for visual and performing arts.[/i]

    I should have clarified that I see performing arts as skills training.

    60-80% of what is taught in the humanities space is unnecessary for most kids given that it does not help develop critical thinking skills, it is an avenue for liberal ideology brainwashing, and is made up of information readily available to everyone.

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