Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Using Race for College Admissions

In the biggest education news of the week, Trump has decided that using race in college admissions will no longer be encouraged.  This rescinds measures put forth during President Obama's administration.  From the New York Times:
Last November, Attorney General Jeff Sessions asked the Justice Department to re-evaluate past policies that he believed pushed the department to act beyond what the law, the Constitution and the Supreme Court had required, Devin M. O’Malley, a Justice Department spokesman said. As part of that process, the Justice Department rescinded seven policy guidances from the Education Department’s civil rights division on Tuesday.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said his prosecutors will investigate and sue universities over discriminatory admissions policies. And the conservative-backed lawsuit against Harvard is being pushed by the same group, the Project on Fair Representation, that pressed Fisher.
Oddly, DeVos seems less eager to join in:
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos actually has seemed hesitant to wade in on the fate of affirmative action policies that date back to a 57-year-old executive order by President John F. Kennedy, who recognized systemic and discriminatory disadvantages for women and minorities.

The Education Department did not partake in Justice Department’s formal interest in Harvard’s litigation.

“I think this has been a question before the courts and the courts have opined,” Ms. DeVos told The Associated Press. “I think the bottom line here is that we want an environment where all students have an opportunity, an equal opportunity to get a great education.”

But Ms. DeVos’s new head of civil rights may disagree.

Kenneth L. Marcus, who was confirmed last month in a party-line Senate vote, has been vocal in opposing affirmative action. Since his nomination, dozens of civil rights groups have raised alarms about Mr. Marcus’ record.
This issue looms large with the changes coming to the Supreme Court and one particular case of Asian-American parents suing Harvard.
A highly anticipated case is pitting Harvard against Asian-American students who say one of the nation’s most prestigious institutions has systematically excluded some Asian-American applicants to maintain slots for students of other races. That case is clearly aimed at the Supreme Court.

In that case, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, a white woman claimed she was denied admission because of her race, in part because the university had a program that admitted significant numbers of minorities who ranked in the top 10 percent of their class.

“It remains an enduring challenge to our nation’s education system to reconcile the pursuit of diversity with the constitutional promise of equal treatment and dignity,” Justice Kennedy wrote for the 4-3 majority.
One aside to this story:

The Supreme Court has steadily narrowed the ways that schools can consider race when trying to diversify their student bodies. But it has not banned the practice.

The lawsuit against Seattle Schools by Magnolia/Queen Anne parents wanting to get their children into Ballard High that was settled in 2007 was one such case that said race alone could not be used BUT that, as a package of combined measures, could be used.


Anonymous said...

Yay! Common sense wins for once.

The argument that we need to discriminate on the basis of race in order to end discrimination on the basis of race is laughable.

Fed up

Articles said...

Good article in the New York Times (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/04/nyregion/asians-overlooked-specialized-schools.html) about New York City mayor DeBlasio's attempts to diversify racial makeup of student body at "specialized" public high schools in New York City.

From the article:
Asian-Americans are the poorest immigrant group in the city, noted Joseph P. Viteritti, a professor of public policy at Hunter College, and many view the schools as a ladder to the middle class, and the test as the fairest way to determine admission.

“Some progressives seem to be pushing the narrative that Asians are not minorities, immigrants and people of color,” said Assemblyman Ron Kim, a Democrat from Queens.

Harvard University is also in court, accused of consistently rating Asian-American applicants lower than others on traits like “positive personality,” likability, courage, kindness and being “widely respected,” according to an analysis of more than 160,000 student records filed last month by a group representing Asian-American students in a lawsuit against the university.

Anonymous said...

Articles, as far as statistics, it really depends.

Compare the Eastside in Seattle and socioeconomic demographics with some Asian groups (Taiwanese, Chinese more affluent versus other Asian groups such as Vietnamese).

In addition, broadly one can also state Asian American males and Indian males are also the highest earners earning more than "whites" if you read this article: US.https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/07/01/the-group-that-seriously-out-earns-white-men/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.56fce0092d3b

But who are the "Asians" and who are the "whites" I would ask? Lots of detail missing.

"Whites" is also a very broad category (& historically moving target term) with highly varying ethnic groups with descendants of more recent immigrants (possibly 2nd generation etc) versus older established Northern European WASPS.

Also, in contrast many "white" ethnic groups from very poor areas stopped immigrating to the US, while hispanic and Asian groups are still immigrating and there are varying social classes. There are more affluent established Asian and Hispanic groups whose descendants have been here for generations. There are poorer but ALSO more affluent as well immigrants in these ethnic/racial categories.

In addition, immigrants socioeconomic status has changed in the US in cotrast to the past. Some are now much more affluent immigrating to the US, which did not exist in the past with majority "white" immigrant groups who were historically very poor during the mass great migration period (late 1800's thru 1920's) and took generations to climb the social ladder & have achieved the middle class just recently or are working class.

In fact as an example, in NYC "Italian" Americans (whose ancestors came from the impoverished south & sicily after Italy's unification) are a protected class in university admissions ex as their HS graduation rates and university representation historically were more similar to hispanics and blacks (they had 3rd highest dropout rate) and trailed "white" groups.