Monday, November 30, 2009

Affirmative Action In Higher Education

It's been said that affirmative action does nothing more than replace malignant racism with benign racism. This article backs up that statement:

Using the National Study of College Experience (NSCE) — a collection of information from eight anonymous elite colleges — authors Thomas J. Espenshade and Alexandria Walton Radford are able to calculate various applicants’ odds of getting into a school. They discover some mildly interesting trends regarding social class (more on that later), but their results for race are truly stunning. After academic performance and demographic factors have been taken into account, black applicants are more than five times as likely as whites to be accepted at NSCE private schools, and 220 times as likely to be accepted at NSCE public schools. Asian applicants, meanwhile, are only about a third as likely as whites to get big envelopes from private institutions, and one-fifth as likely to gain admission to public ones.

Putting preferences in terms of test scores, at private schools, blacks get an advantage, compared to whites, worth 310 SAT points (out of 1600), Hispanics an advantage of 130, and Asians a disadvantage of 140. At public schools, the authors present the difference in ACT points: blacks 3.8 (out of 36), Hispanics 0.3, Asians –3.4.

If we look at students who actually matriculate, blacks are far more likely than whites to come from the bottom 80 percent of their high-school classes (27 percent versus 12 percent), have high-school GPAs of B+ or below (32 versus 18 percent), and have SAT scores below 1000 (21 versus 2 percent).

The logical conclusion from this mountain of evidence is obvious: Top-of-the-line schools use severe racial preferences. (boldface mine--Darren)
If I were Asian, I'd be more ticked than I already am.

One important thing to bear in mind is that the authors’ sample — the elite schools in the NSCE — is not representative. Without affirmative action, the minority students who failed to get into NSCE schools would likely go to lower-tier schools rather than skipping college entirely. It’s hard to tell what would happen at those lower-tier schools.

For every lesser-qualified kid who gets into a school because of the color of his skin, a more qualified kid is excluded from that school because of the color of his skin. Is that really so benign?


scott McCall said...

they should just eliminate "race" and "gender" on ALL forms of applications unless its something important (such as medical forms)

allen (in Michigan) said...

Yeah well, for every less-qualified kid who gets into a school for which they are unprepared because of the color of his skin, that's one more kid whose likelihood of flunking out skyrockets. I understand the emphasis on affirmative action enrollments by the colleges; it's held up as evidence of commitment to a race-based society but of the right sort but doesn't anyone track the percentages of kids that graduate from the school that originally accepted them? How many affirmative action enrollments result in a graduation versus non-affirmative action enrollments?

Darren said...

My guess would be that that information is available and unflattering, so it won't be released.

Ellen K said...

As an RA working her way through school, my daughter had to deal with all kinds of students. Unfortunately, she observed that the students who were scholarshipped in for economic reasons had a tendency to damage school property, take disproportionate advantage of free programs offered to all students meaning that other students were denied access and tended to skip class and get put on academic probation more than regular kids of all colors who paid their way. Liberals like to excuse this type of behavior, but all the other students who didn't break rules, destroy property and attended classes, paid more in tuition and fees to subsidize those who were privileged by their disadvantage to get free what most students have to work for.

Anonymous said...

Good points. The underqualified who don't drop/flunk out (can't have disproportionate rates there, either) can find a home in the various "studies" departments, where ideology substitutes for education. There are also lots of soft majors, which at least pretend to scholarship.