Saturday, May 19, 2012

Quote of the Day: Colleges Care More About Diversity of Freshman Classes than Senior Classes

From the WSJ's interview with Abigail Thernstrom:

The Voting Rights Act fits a familiar pattern. "This is the usual civil rights legislation story. It starts out being about opportunity and ends up being about results. We see that in any corner of the civil rights picture that you want to zero in on."

She adds: "I think there's a running assumption through all of the writing on the left about racial issues that, were it not for racism, you would have random distribution of racial and ethnic groups in education, employment, contracting, elections—whatever you're looking at. But the notion of random distribution of blacks, Latinos, Jews, Armenians or whomever is absurd. It's indifferent to the reality of society. That's just not how people distribute themselves."

In February, the Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments in a case about whether the University of Texas could use race as a factor in admissions, and Ms. Thernstrom couldn't be more thrilled. "It's a myth that in the elite schools you would have almost no black or Hispanic students" but for racial preferences, she says.

After the passage in 1996 of California's Proposition 209, which banned the use of race and ethnicity in public university admissions in that state, "the system as a whole did not lose blacks, and minority graduation rates went up. Nobody wants to talk about that. All that counts as far as these schools are concerned is what the freshman class looks like. They don't care what the senior class looks like."

MP: Nationally, only 43% of black students (36% for black males) graduated from college in 2006 compared to 63% for white students, meaning that the graduating senior college classes were much less racially diverse than the entering freshman classes.  At least part of the 20-point white-black racial gap in college graduation rates could be explained by "academic mismatch" - a consequence of affirmative action admission policies that admit minority students will lower academic qualifications than their white and Asian counterparts.  Result? The academic abilities of many minority students are not well matched with the academic abilities of non-minority students, and not well-matched with the academic rigor of the institution in general. 


At 5/19/2012 8:36 PM, Blogger Jason said...

A true random distribution would produce groups that look like patterns.

At 5/20/2012 12:57 AM, Blogger JG said...

This is exactly so.

On that discussion series on PBS some years back where big names from all fields sat around and yakked, a top person from Harvard explicitly said just that: As long as minorities are admitted to top schools the job is done. If in large numbers they don't graduate, indicating they were poorly matched to the schools, and would have better off in second-level schools, that's their problem.

On that same show Gary Becker noted that he is officially unqualified to teach in public schools. NYS Education Commissioner Richard Mills responded: "That's right, you're not. You've never had training in how maintain classroom order during a student's birthday party". And he wasn't kidding.

At 5/20/2012 6:01 AM, Blogger juandos said...

From the WSJ areticle: 'Ms. Thernstrom currently serves as vice chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights...'...

Therein lies the basic problem, extorted tax dollars spent on dong & pony show that accomplishes less than nothing...

At 5/20/2012 9:15 AM, Blogger Bruce Hall said...

Al Fin has a pertinent post:

At 5/20/2012 3:54 PM, Blogger kmg said...

What is even worse is that Asians (particularly East Indians) are seen as inconvenient to those who benefit from the politics of AA and keeping blacks perpetually angry.

It is very inconvenient that the wealthiest group in the US is not white, but brown.

The solution? Leftists now want to reclassify Asians (both yellow and brown) as white.

At 5/20/2012 6:41 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

the increase in minority attendance and grad rates in california was all asian.

one of the reasons they passed that law was that asian students with higher gpa's, better sats, and better exrtacurriculars were being denied places at the state schools due to racial quotas.

most of the studies i have ever seen rate parental involvement and expectations as THE single most deterministic factor in the educational achievement of kids.

culturally, the asian push this very hard and they get results from it.

regarding "mismatch", i saw a ton of it at brown. minorities and students from foreign backgrounds that were admitted for "diversity" struggled, particularly in any of the hard classes and classes with science, engineering, or econ. after freshman year, you barely saw any minorities in econ or physics that were not asian.

they tended to gravitate toward "fluff" majors like "african american studies" or create majors in "diversity" or "multiculturalism".

i took one of the afro-am classes in Caribbean history as i was interested in the topic. it was taught at such a preposterously low level and graded so easily it was breathtaking. it was, hands down, the easiest class i ever took.

i do not think you do students a favor by putting them into a course of work that they are not prepared for.


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