Sunday, April 27, 2014

Affirmative Action and the Benefits of Diversity

I don't see a flaw in his logic, do you?
In 1995, when the University of Michigan was mechanically granting 20 extra “points” to minority applicants based only on race, black students were nearly 9% of Michigan undergraduates. After that admissions practice was ruled to be unconstitutional in 2003, and following the decision by Michigan voters in 2006 to ban racial profiling in college admissions, black students currently represent only 4.6% of Michigan undergraduate students.

The reduction by one-half in black students at Michigan as a share of undergraduate from 8.9% in 1995 to 4.6% raises a few questions:

1. Proponents of affirmative discrimination and racial profiling in college admissions must now conclude that the value of the educational experience at Michigan has been eroded due to the reduction in racial diversity. If prospective and current students, along with their parents agreed that racial diversity has significant education benefits, and that those benefits have now been reduced, shouldn’t that be reflected in fewer applications to Michigan, and an increase in students transferring to other universities with greater racial diversity?

2. If employers value the educational benefits of racial diversity while earning a college degree, shouldn’t we see a decline in the number of employers willing to hire Michigan graduates, in favor of the graduates of other universities with greater racial diversity?

3. Overall, shouldn’t the reduction in racial diversity at Michigan lead to a devaluation of a Michigan degree by students, parents and employers?

Bottom Line: Following the reduction by half in the share of black students at Michigan, I don’t think the number of students applying to Michigan has decreased, I don’t think employers have decreased their demand for Michigan graduates, and I don’t think the value of a Michigan degree has changed. Perhaps that means that administrators, regents, and minority students assign some theoretical value to the educational benefits of racial diversity, but that most students, parents and employers realistically and practically value the academic reputation and standards of a university, and place little value on the educational benefits of racial diversity?
Read the whole thing here.


allen (in Michigan) said...


The flaw is in taking the arguments of the proponents of affirmative action at face value.

In fact, they don't give a flying fig about poor, black kids getting a good education and ascending to the upper-middle class. If they did they'd be at least concerned with graduation rates as they are with entrance rates. But proponents of affirmative action never discuss completion rates. Partly it's because they don't really care lefties being among the most selfish and least responsible of creatures the remainder being because graduation rates for affirmative action entrants are abysmal.

Best not to mention what might be, by small minds, construed as a shortcoming of affirmative action.

maxutils said...

You can pour as much money in to public education as you would like. But the most important facet ... is the parents. Teachers? maybe a great one inspires a student ... it can happen, and has to me. But the most important thing is the parents. I don't know how you change that. A bad teacher with a good parent will do a much better job than a good teacher with a bad parent. Read to your kids. Make them do their homework ... they will turn out fine. If you don't, well ... take your chances.

allen (in Michigan) said...

There's no other factors that deserve consideration?

How about the fact that teaching skill isn't valued by the public education system?

You think max that indifference to the skill upon which any educational institution must necessarily be built might have an impact on the quality of the institution? I do and so, implying from the alacrity with which proponents of the current system avoid the subject, do those who support the current system.

In my view trying to stick parents with the responsibility for the failure of the public education system is a tacit admission that the historically successful whining about insufficient funding is no longer resonating with the public so the next-best excuses have to be trotted out. The swift spread of alternatives to the district-based public education system suggests that the public's no longer interested in excuses.

maxutils said...

allen, I didn't say that teaching skill wasn't valuable. But, in my experience both as a student and a teacher in three different schools... most of the teachers are at least pretty good. Every staff has a couple whom everyone knows are awful ... and that is a problem. When I teach AP Econ, I have no problem getting buy in ... because it's fun, useful immediately, and doesn't require a lot of homework. Teaching math, on the other hand ... very different story. I think I do a really good job ... but I can't help the students who won't do homework. Everyone else, absolutely. But I'm not going to go to every student's house and sit down with them and make them do their homework. That's the parent's job ... and the student's. All but 2 of my students in the past 15 years who has done 90% or more of the homework in math has passed with at least a C. Almost all of those below 70% have failed. I can encourage, but I can't enforce, except for the grades.