June 30, 2023


Affirmative Action Ruling: Actually a Win for Minority Students (LINDA CHAVEZ, JUN 30, 2023, The Bulwark)

In 1995, I founded the Center for Equal Opportunity, which has since conducted studies on affirmative action admissions policies at some 80 colleges and universities. We've found that most selective schools give preference to black and, to a somewhat lesser degree, Hispanic students with often substantially lower test scores and grades than white and Asian applicants. In recent years, we've found that Asian students have been especially disadvantaged by such preferences for black and Hispanic applicants--and Harvard University had a particularly egregious system of keeping the proportion of Asian students in their classes lower than it would have been had race not been a factor. The irony is that at places like Harvard, many of the black beneficiaries of affirmative action are themselves elites: the children of affluent parents or, increasingly, immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean.

Presumably, now that the Court has ruled, the worst practices will be curtailed. But does that mean we'll see drastic drops in the number of black and Hispanic college graduates going forward? Not likely, judging from what the experience of states like California and Michigan, which banned racial preferences in college admissions through statewide initiatives decades ago. In 1996, California voters adopted a state constitutional amendment outlawing racial preferences in admissions (an effort to repeal the amendment in 2020 failed overwhelmingly, even in districts carried by Joe Biden). As a result, fewer black and Hispanic students attended the state's most elite universities, Berkeley and UCLA, but overall numbers in the statewide system went up, with more black and Hispanic students actually graduating than before the initiative passed. The reason is straightforward: Black and Hispanic students who would have been admitted to more elite campuses ended up attending colleges where their grades and test scores were the same as their white and Asian peers and competed with them on an equal footing.

Posted by at June 30, 2023 4:55 PM