Thursday, February 05, 2009

Californians Up in Arms

by Daniel Bennett

Inside Higher Ed reports this morning that Californians are up in arms about a Board of Regents proposal that would change the admissions policy at the University of California system. Currently, applicants must submit scores to two SAT subject tests to be guaranteed a full admission review. The new proposal would waive that requirement as well as reduce the guaranteed admission pool by scaling back the requirement from the top 12.5% to the top 9% of high school graduates.

The idea is that this will make a broader group of high school graduates eligible for admission review and help to expand access to disadvantaged students at the competitive UC system. The rough projections suggest that this change in policy will shift in favor of white student admissions, with slight improvements in the percent of black and Latino admissions, but a reduction in the percentage of Asian admissions. This has caused quite a stir among minority groups, but keep in mind that California has banned affirmative action from admissions procedures.

I'm all for equal opportunity, but not entitlement. The UC system (or any school for that matter) should be focused on recruiting the best students who have the highest chance of succeeding at school and in life, regardless of any demographic or social characteristics. Some will argue that the policy is intended to increase the number of minority students admitted to the selective public schools and were supportive of the change, until they realized that the policy might actually benefit caucasian students (for which it is also possible to be socially disadvantaged) the most. Let's not be hypocritical folks. If Americans truly want to change policy so that it provides more opportunity to those who are disadvantaged economically, then it must apply equally down the line and be race and ethnicity neutral.

1 comment:

capeman said...

Here's a time when I must say I agree with the Doc. Amusing to see the Californians hoist on their multiple petards. Elitist University of California, differential performance of groups. Discriminate against Asians to boost blacks and Hispanics (and help whites a little, too). Sounds like it might be good (i.e. effective, not moral) racial policy, but horribly divisive, hopelessly contradictory, hypocritical, and unworkable. And against the California constitution to boot. Oh, that's right, they get around that by jiggering the SAT requirements.

Well, good luck California, it's not as if you already had enough trouble to keep you busy!