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Old 01-31-2005, 02:22 PM   #1
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Affirmative Action Failing Everyone

or is it the colleges?

[Q]Richard H. Sander

Despite the prevalence of affirmative action policies in higher education, scholars are only beginning to study seriously the relative costs and benefits of racial preferences in admissions. The recent development of several large, longitudinal datasets on law students and lawyers has made it possible to ask more ambitious questions about the operation and effects of these policies. A Systemic Analysis asks a number of these questions, and reports surprising answers. (This article focuses only on blacks and whites.)

--First, the levels of racial preferences at American law schools are very large and remarkably homogenous across institutions, operating in ways that are generally hard to distinguish from racially segregated admissions.

--Second, black students admitted through preferences generally have quite low grades in law school – not because of any racial characteristic, but because the preferences themselves put them at an enormous academic disadvantage. The median black student starting law school in 1991 received first-year grades comparable to a white student at the 7th or 8th percentile.

--Third, these low grades substantially handicap black students in their efforts to complete law school and pass the bar. Only 45% of black law students in the 1991 cohort completed law school and passed the bar on their first attempt; in the absence of preferential admissions, I estimate that this rate would rise to 74%.

--Fourth, the job market benefits of attending an elite school have been substantially overrated; regression analysis of job market data strongly suggests that most black lawyers entering the job market would have higher earnings in the absence of preferential admissions, because better grades would generally trump the costs in prestige.

--Fifth, it is far from clear that racial preferences actually cause the legal education system to produce a larger number of black lawyers. Careful analysis indicates that 86% of blacks currently enrolled in law schools would have been admitted to some law school under race-blind policies, and the much lower attrition rates that would prevail in a race-blind regime would probably produce larger cohorts of black lawyers than the current system of preferences produces.

In the case of blacks, at least, the objective costs of preferential admissions appear to substantially outweigh the benefits. The basic theory driving many of these findings is known as the “academic mismatch” mechanism; attending an advanced school where one’s credentials are far below those of one’s peers has a variety of negative effects on learning, motivation, and goals that harm the beneficiary of the preference. Over the past several years, a wide range of scholars have documented the operation of the mismatch mechanism in a number of fields of higher education.

These findings have stoked substantial controversy, and this website seeks to aid readers interested in plumbing this work further. One set of links provides a description of the major types of data used in the study; another set of links leads to a “downloading” page, where users can actually download manuals and datasets that can be analyzed by most statistical programs. We will be adding links to critiques of the article, responses to those critiques, and supplemental analyses on points not fully elaborated in the article.


[/Q]



http://www1.law.ucla.edu/~sander/Dat...tanfordArt.htm

Newsweek had a mini blurb about this professor, who has advocated FOR Affirmative Action. He is looking at graduation rates and now seems to think Affirmative Action is flawed. His research is based on the Attrition Rate of law school students.

The Newsweek Article raises some very good questions:

[Q]Affirmative Action: Making the Grade?

NewsweekJan. 31 issue - Is affirmative action actually boosting the number of minorities graduating with a degree? Two new studies show that minority graduation rates remain one of higher education's dirty little secrets. In this month's Stanford Law Review, UCLA law professor Richard Sanders, a longtime advocate of affirmative action, argues that in the name of diversity, law schools accept too many minority students whose credentials are well below the schools' norm. New data, culled from several large, longitudinal databases, indicate that this "academic mismatch" results in much lower grades for blacks (51 percent of blacks are in the bottom tenth of their law-school class after the first year, compared with 5 percent for whites). Sanders says these mismatched students are also twice as likely to drop out of school and fail the bar on their first try. His conclusion—we'd have many more black lawyers if students and schools were better matched—has generated a storm of controversy. But Sanders says it's time to be straight with students, who are usually encouraged to accept their most prestigious offer.

Meanwhile, a study just out from the nonprofit Education Trust also examines minority graduation rates. Using U.S. Department of Education graduation data never before available, the study grouped colleges of similar type (size, selectivity, SAT scores) and compared their six-year graduation rates by race and gender. It found that some schools may accept a diverse class, but don't provide enough support to ensure that vulnerable students graduate. As part of the report, Ed Trust has posted a Web tool that allows students to view graduation rates at comparable schools. Among the findings: California's Pomona College graduates nearly 95 percent of its underrepresented students, while Bard College, in New York, graduates only 69 percent; the University of Florida graduates 71 percent of minorities; Ohio State, 44 percent. "We've been giving a lot more attention to access than to success," says Kevin Carey, the study's author.

Advocates are hoping that turning a spotlight on these disparities will prompt change—but in the meantime, their advice is for students to do as much research on their chances of getting out of a college as they did on their chances of getting in.

—Pat Wingert
[/Q]

Any thoughts?
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Old 01-31-2005, 03:23 PM   #2
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At our school, affirmative action is such a joke. I've gone off on this rant thousands of times and I'll do it again. First, our school has various brackets of scholarships given based on academics. These are given by the school and you don't have to apply. For example, if your GPA is 3.4, you get $3500. Now, our school also awards a scholarship called the Mosaic to people of minorities. What I think totally sucks is that I worked my ASS off in high school to make As and because of it, I get $3500 for maintaining a 3.4 or better. My friend who is a total dipshit did squat in highschool and she got to be in a free summer program that got her 3 college credits (worth over $1200 tuition wise) and a $5500 scholarship and all she had to do was have a frickin 2.5!! All because her skin is a shade darker than mine. Nevermind the fact that she's ADOPTED and we were both raised in Ducth CRC families and went to the SAME elementary and high schools. There are some students that were born and raised abroad, mostly from Nigeria, Ghana, and Hong Kong, BUT these kids have parents who are LOADED. They're not poor or disadvantaged, their parents are congressmen or CEOs of huge corps in their respective nations. The other thing that REALLY pisses me off is yes, I am white and I was born in the USA, but I'm also 100% Dutch and as far as the way I was raised is concerned, I'm WAY more connected to my Dutch roots than any of the African-American friends I knew growing up.

So my main concerns are these: 1) scholarships for minorities often require a full point or more lower GPA/academic requirements than the rest and 2) these scholarships aren't going to people who need financial aid.

This is how it is at my school, which is a small private school, so I'm sure it's different elsewhere, but from my point of view, affirmative action in academia makes me
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Old 01-31-2005, 04:11 PM   #3
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The problem is affirmative action was suppose to be a "band-aid" fix, yet no one did anything to actually heal the wound. Instead they just left the band-aid on.
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Old 01-31-2005, 04:19 PM   #4
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That's what seems to have happened, the actual *wounds* were never healed, thus it didn't solve any problems.
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Old 01-31-2005, 04:35 PM   #5
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My university did something similar. Now, I do realise that the affirmative action you are discussing is to do with 'race', whereas my example isn't - but it is still an example of "positive discrimination", as we call it over here.

I did a degree in Dutch at Hull University. Hull isn't exactly Oxford or Cambridge, to say the least - but it is a good British University, and over 90% of our graduates are in full-time employment within three months of graduating, which is a pretty decent record and much higher than the national average. As Hull's unemployed figure of 6.2% is the highest in the region, 5th highest nationally, graduates obviously don't waste time in moving on after completing our degrees.

The problem with Hull is that, although it has it's nicer and affluent areas, much of the residential area is quite run down - the stats are pretty scary. Just to give you some background on the city: 21% of people in Hull have limiting long term illnesses; 22% of Hull's dwellings do not have central heating. Nationally, only 8 places have a lower proportion of centrally heated dwellings.

To make matters worse: 41.17% of people between 16 and 74 in Hull have no qualifications. This is the lowest in the region. Nationally, only 8 authorities are lower. Only 9.94% of Hull's 16 - 74s have a level 4/5 (degree level) qualification. Again this is the lowest in the region, and nationally only 12 authorities have lower figures. Only 6 authorities in England & Wales are lower on both counts.

Hull University are, therefore, naturally looking to educate a much higher percentage of the local population. The Powers That Be have decided that the only way to do this is through the "Way Forward Scheme".

The way forward, according to the University governors, is to go around schools in Hull, interviewing 14 year olds. These kids are then guaranteed a place at the university to do any subject they choose - REGARDLESS of whether they have the interest, ability, or the prerequisite qualifications.

I think that is an example of "positive discrimination" gone loopy. I'm all for widening access to higher education and yes, I appreciate that the University should serve the community. The scheme is highly unfair though - it makes a mockery of those of us who slaved our butts off to get the required grades/work experience to be accepted onto our courses in the first place. I also find it exceptionally insulting to the people of Hull - it's effectively patronising these kids with a "you're not bright enough to achieve the necessary standards so we'll let you in anyway" attitude, and giving them no incentive to work hard.

It makes me mad.


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Old 01-31-2005, 04:38 PM   #6
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Next time they ask you on a form to check race:

Why not write in human race?
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Old 01-31-2005, 04:43 PM   #7
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Old 01-31-2005, 04:44 PM   #8
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The thing is that we're trying to fix the problem at the wrong end. We need to be improving the condition of poor urban minority schoolchildren instead. (Easier said than done, I know.)
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Old 01-31-2005, 04:52 PM   #9
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My reply is simple. I think the standards should be the same for everyone. Schools should not lower standards based on race. I had to work hard to get in and stay in collage and so should everyone else.
Someone else should not have an easier ride because they are a different race.
In todays world everyone does have the same opportunity if they work hard and set goals. On the other hand, if they refuse to study and not make the grade, that is their own fault not because the opportunity was not available.
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Old 01-31-2005, 05:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sheltie
My reply is simple. I think the standards should be the same for everyone. Schools should not lower standards based on race. I had to work hard to get in and stay in collage and so should everyone else.
Someone else should not have an easier ride because they are a different race.
In todays world everyone does have the same opportunity if they work hard and set goals. On the other hand, if they refuse to study and not make the grade, that is their own fault not because the opportunity was not available.
This is the attitude that got us here in the first place. NOT EVERYONE HAS THE SAME OPPORTUNITIES, that's the biggest lie people are selling here in America. There are inner-city children who are the offspring of several generations of poverty that will never have access to the proper education to make them prepared for college. Unfortuanately the majority of them are minorities
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Old 01-31-2005, 05:10 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar


This is the attitude that got us here in the first place. NOT EVERYONE HAS THE SAME OPPORTUNITIES, that's the biggest lie people are selling here in America. There are inner-city children who are the offspring of several generations of poverty that will never have access to the proper education to make them prepared for college. Unfortuanately the majority of them are minorities
Then wouldn't it make sense to try to improve inner-city life and education instead of lowering standards later on?
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Old 01-31-2005, 05:20 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by ImOuttaControl


Then wouldn't it make sense to try to improve inner-city life and education instead of lowering standards later on?
Exactly. Affirmative-action in college and beyond typically doesn't guarantee diversity of anything besides skin color, and it's often harmful to the people it's supposed to benefit.
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Old 01-31-2005, 05:53 PM   #13
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it's nice that

all the white people in this forum can agree on something
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Old 01-31-2005, 06:04 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by speedracer
The thing is that we're trying to fix the problem at the wrong end. We need to be improving the condition of poor urban minority schoolchildren instead. (Easier said than done, I know.)
Excellent point!

When I went back to college, I looked into scholarships for non-traditional students (I was 32 when I went back to school). I found a scholarship for single mothers with as little as a 1.5 GPA! WTF? Why does a GPA that would put me on academic probation rewarded if you are a single mother? Plus, what a slap to hard-working single mothers with excellent GPAs.
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Old 01-31-2005, 06:39 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by ImOuttaControl


Then wouldn't it make sense to try to improve inner-city life and education instead of lowering standards later on?
Read my first post.

Affirmative action was suppose to be a temporary aid until inner-city life and education were improved, but unfortunately we've spent decades ignoring them.

Most recently with a program that suppose to be funded by the FCC to place millions of dollars worth of computers in inner-city schools. But Powell thought Janet and Stern were a bigger concern and squandered the funds.
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