In an attempt to diversify their student bodies, which SCOTUS said meets a “compelling state interest,” colleges have admitted black and Hispanic students with lower test scores than those of other races (“In California, the Dream of Racial Preferences Never Dies,” The Wall Street Journal, May 20). Nevertheless, voters in California passed Prop. 209 in 1996 that banned consideration of race and gender in public education.
Although critics said that black and Hispanic enrollment would virtually evaporate at the state’s most elite schools, that hasn’t happened. In fact, their overall enrollment in the UC system has dramatically risen above pre- Prop. 209’s level.
But I think there is more to the story than their sheer numbers. I’m referring now to the non-cognitive effects. Yes, graduating from elite schools certainly is an achievement. But at what price? When black and Hispanic students find that their grades and class rankings are below their classmates, what does that do to their self-esteem?
Richard Sander at UCLA’s law school attempted to answer that question in a co-written book “Mismatch: How Affirmative Action Hurts Students It’s Intended to Help, and Why Universities Won’t Admit It.” Since then, he seems to have changed his mind. I’d be interested in learning why.
(To post a comment, click on the title of this blog.)