Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Future of Affirmative Action

The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled
on Friday night that Michigan public colleges must immediately end any consideration of race in admissions, overturning a lower court decision that gave the universities another year to implement the referendum passed in November. While it's disturbing to have courts and polls determining university policies, there is an opportunity to create better systems of affirmative action. Right now, colleges welcome middle-class blacks from white areas, while they usually shun the poor black students from the inner city.

So what could a new affirmative action policy look like? First, the colleges can give preferences to poor students based on their financial aid. Second, colleges can give preferences to students from low-performing schools. Third, colleges can give preferences to students who live in poor areas, or the poorest neighborhoods of large urban areas. Of course, colleges don't want to do this. They want black and Hispanic students from well-off families in predominantly white areas, because they think poor minorities are ill-prepared to attend their colleges. This is an opportunity to change that racist thinking, but it's unlikely to occur.

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