Sunday, March 10, 2013

Affirmative Action

The New York Times has a very interesting column here on the liberal case for modifying affirmative action.   The problem with affirmative action now, according to the article, is that it isn't just one of many factors in admission, it is often the overwhelming factor, outweighing everything else.

We need to pour resources into poor communities--especially  money for libraries and book-filled classrooms.  Avid readers do better, across the board, in all subjects.  Let's turn these minority kids--and all kids--into avid readers.

And then let's get rid of all affirmative action and discrimination on the college level.  Currently, most colleges give preference to male applicants (since if they went purely on merit, classes would be top-heavy with women).  The top colleges, from statistics in this newspaper, apparently actively discriminate against Asian-Americans.  When you add in athletic and legacy and famous name preference, it's a wonder anyone is admitted purely on merit.

And then let's really fund and support a good community college network.  Then anyone can get an education, and if they work hard at a two-year-college, they can try again for a more competitive school for their last two years,   Or they can go to night school.  Or community ed. classes.  There are many back doors into good four-year colleges.

The problem with preferences and discrimination in college admittance is that the sense of unfairness doesn't go away;  it festers, and perpetuates stereotypes.

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