Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Race, ethnicity could be considered in college recruitment, admissions; Voters may get to alter Prop. 209

The San Diego Union-Tribune asks: Should college applicants or students receive preferential treatment based on race, ethnicity or gender?

So, are we assuming that it's NOT preferential treatment to rely so heavily on test scores? Medical students, for example, should be screened for attributes such as a sense of obligation and concern for others. Lawyers should be screened to make sure they have a certain degree of honesty. Does the public benefit from providing expensive educations to people who may do well on certain tests, but are limited in their innate desire to contribute to the healthy functioning of our society? And are we really serving our society by creating a system that creates domination by Europeans and Asians in certain fields? Or are we sowing the seeds for future conflict?

Certainly, until we have a system that accurately matches prospective students with appropriate careers, race and ethnicity should be used as a check to make sure we haven't got things out of balance.

IQ does not account for the vast differences in membership in certain occupations between different ethnicities. In fact, we clearly have smarter people OF ALL RACES AND ETHNICIGTES being shunted aside to make way for those who have characteristics other than high intelligence, including culture and family support.

Voters may get to alter Prop. 209
Race, ethnicity could be considered in college recruitment, admissions
By Karen Kucher
Feb. 18, 2014

The Legislature is poised to give Californians a chance to vote on a highly emotional and politically charged issue that has divided people across the country for decades — affirmative action in higher education.

A proposed state constitutional amendment, dubbed SCA 5, would repeal portions of Proposition 209 that have banned the consideration of race, ethnicity and gender in public colleges’ recruitment, admissions and retention programs since 1998.

The Senate approved the measure last month, and the Assembly — which also has a Democratic supermajority — is set to consider the legislation soon. Passage in Sacramento would mean that voters could weigh in late this year or in 2015.

California became the first state to ban the use of race and ethnicity in the admissions process for public colleges, as well as in state hiring and contracting, when voters approved Proposition 209. Other states followed with similar policies.

State and federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, have issued numerous rulings on this issue over the years. They have sometimes been at odds, with their legal arguments reflecting the main points of public debate: Critics of affirmative action said colleges should assess applicants on academic ability because that’s the fairest and most objective standard, while supporters said the higher-education system has been biased against certain minority groups and needs to better value students who have overcome special hurdles in life to pursue a college degree.

The latest constitutional-amendment proposal was introduced by state Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina. He has written similar bills in the past, including one vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2010 and another vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2011. This time, Hernandez wants voters to decide the matter. His co-authors include Sen. Marty Block, D-San Diego.

Hernandez said Proposition 209 has resulted in less diversity as fewer underrepresented minority students are admitted and enrolled in the California State University and University of California systems. The senator said he personally benefited from recruitment and scholarship assistance that targeted minority students when he attended an optometry school in Indiana.

“I am not proposing quota systems or preferential treatment,” he said. “SCA 5 simply allows our public colleges to identify achievement gaps, such as a lack of women in the (science, technology, engineering and math) fields or even a lack of men, especially men of color, in teacher-credentialing programs. … Any program a college adopts to consider these factors would have to be narrowly tailored, consistent with all the Supreme Court decisions that already limit the use of race- or gender-conscious programs.”

Backers of Proposition 209 said the law has actually increased representation of underrepresented minority groups. They also said taking racial preferences out of the admissions process has helped minorities succeed more in college — and graduate in larger numbers — because their academic credentials are better matched with the campuses they attend.

“It is not good to send a student where his or her academic qualifications are going to be lower than the average students’,” said Gail Heriot, a University of San Diego law professor who was co-chair of the Proposition 209 campaign in 1996. “To some people, it would seem like they are doing a favor to the student who is getting the preferences, but it ends up being the opposite.”


Maura Larkins · Top Commenter · UCLA

So, are we assuming that it's NOT preferential treatment to rely so heavily on test scores? Medical students, for example, should be screened for attributes such as a sense of obligation and concern for others. Lawyers should be screened to make sure they have a certain degree of honesty. Does the public benefit from providing expensive educations to people who make do well on certain tests, but are limited in their innate desire to contribute to the healthy functioning of our society? And are we really serving our society by creating a system that creates domination by Europeans and Asians in certain fields? Or are we sowing the seeds for future conflict.

Bob Giramma · Follow · Top Commenter · UCLA

It's fair to discriminate on the basis of merit, but (almost) nothing else. How does one test for a sense of obligation or honesty?

Maura Larkins · Top Commenter · UCLA

[To] Bob Giramma, Good question. Perhaps a personality test? Can we at least try to keep sociopaths out of medicine and law?

Maura Larkins · Top Commenter · UCLA

[To] Bob Giramma: Remember the discussion about the psychiatrist on the Sopranos series who treated James Gandolfini? Experts were saying that she was wrong to teach him how to understand and manipulate people more effectively. Certainly we shouldn't be training sociopaths to be psychiatrists!

G Ma Donovan · Bridgeport engineering Institute

Merit based societal filtering is de-basing. This limits [ this subjective sifting of meritocracy in society] rewards to persons who respond with the 'answers' for which the testers are looking. Sometimes these answers are patently wrong or myths. This response can reward dishonesty. For example, I use spellcheck so much that I am forgetting most of the basic grammar rules of spelling and its exceptions. I would now fail many intelligence tests, well to tell you the truth, i always failed those who say, we must have standards. Standards that stick in the 1800 or 1900 milieu ...why do you suppose Wikipedia is so helpful? The standards are just so low as to be meaningless. Laughable when one travels.

Michael Dew · Top Commenter · University of Utah

To follow my comment, wouldn't you WANT those to be educated? It's better to educate than allow to fester.

Michael Dew · Top Commenter · University of Utah

From my perspective it's a sad reality that we have such huge discrepancies but efforts to address it have definitely helped. I honestly don't feel sacrificing a small percentage of slots to address a societal problem is a bad thing. The socioeconomic benefit of minorities and women going to school to the neighborhood they come from is strong. Many kids do want and opportunity but don't feel it's there for them, for whatever reason. We can blame the students parents but lets think about why they're there in the first place. It's not always laziness, maybe higher ed wasn't an option for Mom or Dad, maybe there was an unexpected pregnancy. Once the student is admitted they still have to pass the tests, do the homework, and make it as any other student using resources available. It is still up to the candidate to finish college, getting in is the first step. A lazy student will quickly find themselves outside the classroom making room for another stronger candidate.

Karen Haney Logan · Top Commenter

Yes, that is my point. If acceptance is based on anything other than GPA or placement exam scores, then the students being accepted under those other terms are being set up to fail. Nobody is being served by using anything other than GPA or placement exam scores to determine acceptance to college.

Maura Larkins · Top Commenter · UCLA

Karen Haney Logan: Did you know that the average high school drop-out has a higher IQ than the average high school graduate? I'll bet the same is true for college. (Bill Gates is an example.) So perhaps GPAs and test scores aren't measuring ability so much as educational support received by a student over his or her lifetime.

Karen Haney Logan · Top Commenter

No Maura Larkins....I did not know that. How to apply ones IQ to the expected knowledge base to enter college would be tricky, but possible perhaps. My point(and I am a current student) is there are many different levels of of intelligence, but if a person cannot even meet the minimum requirement of whatever knowledge base the school requires, why should that person be allowed to enter because of race, ethnicity or gender? As someone else below pointed out, they will just wash out when they are unable to keep up with the work-this seems cruel to me. Just my opinion.

Maura Larkins · Top Commenter · UCLAV To Karen Haney : Do you see that we have a problem? Our society is NOT developing the intellects of those with the most ability. Instead, we provide the knowledge necessary for success to those with family advantages.

Gary Swenson · Top Commenter

White, black, brown, yellow, red, purple, green....bring the GRADES and you're in! Nobody deserves to cut in line for ANY other reason.

Shanna McFaddin · Follow · Deckhand at Lilley Pad Charters

I agree. Equal and fair treatment for all. My only caveat is that Veterans should get priority registration, due to the time limits on GI Bill.

Maura Larkins · Top Commenter · UCLA

Shanna McFaddin: Students don't get equal treatment BEFORE taking the SAT, and BEFORE taking high school classes. Until we fix that, we should find a way to level the playing field.

Michael Dew · Top Commenter · University of Utah

I think it's a good thing where you have educational discrepancies. Often those kids become role models for future generations, sustainability is of issue. I don't see an issue with planting some seeds in areas in desperate need of attention. It's not like their talking 30% of all admissions. California has been doing this and I can say it has benefitted low income minorities, also in ways that can't be quantified. There was and still is a problem with few minorities pursuing or even being accepted to a higher ed program, often we have to make decisions to correct societal woes; these actions do improve our society, even if one can't see it directly.

Donna Rogers · Top Commenter · Webster University

Why didn't they include legacies in the question? College students should not receive preferential treatment based on WEALTH or connections either.

Ted James · Follow · Top Commenter

Public universities, no. Private schools, I guess it's there call.

[Maura Larkins: Private universities often receive huge public grants for research. Obviously, the government should not be giving public money to institutions that undermine the public.]

Mike Seneca · Top Commenter

I voted NO... because your skin color places you neither behind nor ahead of my skin color. It's too bad progressives feel race and gender reflect our level of neediness.

Lee Phillippi · Top Commenter

It was never based on "level of neediness". It wasn't long ago that discrimination was legal and discrimination didn't end when the laws were over turned.

James Palen · Follow · Top Commenter · Reporter for San Diego Daily Transcript at The Daily Transcript / San Diego Source

Lee Phillippi Discrimination will never end, and it will always be multi-directional (obviously not by all, but by a portion of the population). There is no such thing as parallel instances of racism and reverse racism (a ludicrous term, as if one race holds the patent on racism); there is only racism, from every direction to every direction. That's why trying to correct racism through policy like preferential admission only winds up bringing those enforcing that policy closer to racism themselves, by denying something to those who aren't allowed to check that box on the application. it becomes an endless spiral which despite its intentions, continues racism.

Bob Harris · Top Commenter · Palm Springs, California

Socioeconomic status: includes everybody who has been exposed to the realities of modern racism and bigotry, INCLUDING women of all races, poor white trash along with the rest of the "socially repressed."

Ted James · Follow · Top Commenter

Ms. Larkins, I don't understand what you are getting at. You want to test college applicants on their levels of empathy and honesty? To what end? Do you believe that when a 19 year old kid is applying for school he or she is going to be as caring or honest as he or she will be at 40? Honestly, if my doctor was a huge jerk but was great at healing me, I could live with that. I don't need him to empathize with me or to show me sympathy, I need him to diagnose my condition and treat me. Maybe empathy is part of that but having a scientific mind is too. I don't need my lawyer to be "honest" (I'm not quite sure what you mean by that), I do need him to be an expert in the law and then advise me on my best course of action. The California Bar Association has provisions for disbarring its members if they are found to have acted unprofessionally or unethically. Also, not everyone who goes to law school becomes a lawyer. Why would you need to be an "honest" person to go to law school? It's a feel good concept but I don't see much value in it.

Bob Giramma · Top Commenter · UCLA

Maura Larkins, I've never seen the Sopranos. I don't watch much TV. But your kind of testing sounds like it would get the government involved in yet another area for them to ruin. My kind of testing it through the free market, where each person chooses what's best for him or her. Government is just a bunch of busybody idiots.

February 20 at 8:01pm

Zhiyuan Zhu · Seattle, Washington

How does that have something to do with skin color this poll is about? Are you suggesting something else?

Maura Larkins · Top Commenter · UCLA

Zhiyuan Zhu I'm suggesting that the unequal K-12 educations that American children receive are very consistent with skin color. Black and brown children overwhelmingly miss out on the opportunities provided by a good basic education.

Maura Larkins · Top Commenter · UCLA

Ted James If lawyers always advised their clients to obey the law, our justice system wouldn't be having an extreme budget crisis. Instead, lawyers very often use unethical or illegal tactics to help their deep-pocket clients get away with whatever they want. That's how most lawyers accrue all those billable hours. The lawyers control the Bar Association, which protects the system. They only go after a few token small-time crooks. The legal profession in general abuses the court system for financial gain. Society would be better off if it boosted a few ethical applicants over those who are just trying to get rich. Why should society roll over and play dead while greedy, unethical people shove others aside in their quest to get rich? That is NOT in society's best interest.

Maura Larkins · Top Commenter · UCLA

Bob Giramma Each person chooses what is best for him? That is NOT the system that we have. People with undeserved advantages choose what is best for themselves, and leave the crumbs for the rest. You don't need to watch the Sopranos to think about whether or not we should be training sociopaths in how to manipulate others more effectively.

COMMENTS from Voters may get to alter Prop. 209:

Jeremy Merrill · Top Commenter · San Diego, California

Bob Giramma - You can dance around it all you like, but the quote you posted is from a member of the "dominant majority" and you yourself are a member of the "dominant majority" in this nation. That same "dominant majority" has lately taken on the persona of the oppressed every time an attempt is made at leveling the playing field. It's tiresome and intellectually dishonest to pretend that you don't have an advantage as a White American male.

Rex Smith · Top Commenter · College of William and Mary

Here's an idea. How about we recruit on merit and the ability to learn?

Maura Larkins · Top Commenter · UCLA

Sadly, it's hard to measure merit and ability to learn since grades and test scores measure socioeconomic level. In the most miserable places, IQ is completely overshadowed by other factors when it comes to academic success. Experts say there is almost NO correlation between academic success and intelligence in racial ghettos.


Anonymous said...

"Students don't get equal treatment BEFORE taking the SAT, and BEFORE taking high school classes. Until we fix that, we should find a way to level the playing field."

By looking further into the root of this unequal treatment, you will realize that this unequal treatment actually WEAKENS your claim, here's why:

Asians did not always enjoy such success in America. Similar to other minorities, they were harshly discriminated against. However, after generations of extremely hard work, after generations of living as the second class, they have finally achieved success in America. With this success, they are able to grant their children opportunities that they and their predecessors did not get to enjoy.

Yes, this has resulted in large asian populations amongst top universities--simultaneously "crowding out" other groups.

But is it right to now give preferential treatment to those who were crowded out, effectively nullifying the efforts of the successful?

Asians found that the best way to overcome the discrimination aimed at them was to excel in school. Nobody can dispute numbers. In a multiple choice test, nobody could say "He/She looks so different, and speaks another language, therefore this answer is wrong." No. You put the right answer, you got the point. Fair and square.

Maura Larkins said...

Dear Anonymous,
Your feelings are certainly understandable. One of the things you are saying is that since Asians suffered discrimination, it is only fair that they now enjoy the position on top of the heap that they worked so hard to achieve.

Perhaps that was the thinking of the former slaves from the United States who settled in Liberia and set up a slavery system similar to what they had known in America--with themselves as the slave owners.

But if the discrimination suffered by Asians in the past was wrong, then it's still wrong when applied to other groups.

You ask, "But is it right to now give preferential treatment to those who were crowded out, effectively nullifying the efforts of the successful?"

So are you saying that the white people who were successful in the past at the expense of Asians were in the right simply because they were successful? Are you saying it would have been wrong to level the playing field for Asians who suffered in the past?

I can't agree with that.

You seem to think that multiple choice tests are absolutely fair and square. That's a pretty broad assumption. I think we should ask if the questions that are being asked on those tests are actually resulting in the best candidates being selected for college. Perhaps some brown and black candidates would be better doctors than some Asians who get into medical school due in such a large part to those standardized tests.

Anonymous said...

The San Diego Community College District already discriminates using race as a factor. A highly paid employee who has multiple complaints against her for mistreating employees and the college has had to pay on those complaints, still employees Sharon Rhodes, who was heard saying to some visitors "If you have to go to community college, you must be a loser" and the stand behind her because of her race, probably. Also, nepitism is rampant within this organization, families and friends working together and making sure they get the best jobs over more qualified individuals. Organizations get funding for hiring certain races, that is a well known fact. Unfortunately, the real problem is the nepitism and Constance Carroll has a huge chip on her shoulder, which forms all her decisions. Most employees do not like her, but are just afraid of her and Sharon Rhodes.