Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Measure Of Preference, At UCLA And Elsewhere

Post lifted from Discriminations. See the original for links

As we have just seen in this recent post discussing a Pew Research Center For The People & The Press survey, by substantial margins Americans support "affirmative action" when it is defined as simply helping minorities but by equally large margins oppose preferential treatment based on race. (We also saw there that Pew's report of its own findings glorified the support but failed to mention the opposition.) Thus it is not surprising that supporters of preferential treatment attempt to disguise what they really support by describing it as "affirmative action."

There is no better place to confirm that "affirmative action" in practice is really racial preference than the data concerning admissions to the University of California, where preferential treatment was ostensibly banned in 1996 by Proposition 209. Let's look at some of it, now that new data has become available.

First, from a recent UCLA news release: "For fall 1995, when UCLA was still allowed to use affirmative action, 1,450 African American students applied," and 693 were admitted.

"The number of applications from African American prospective freshmen for fall 2007 was 2,453, up from 2,173 in 2006. The number of African American admits increased to 392 in 2007; in 2006 there were 249 admits .

Note, first, that the number of black applicants to UCLA did not shrivel up and blow away as a result of the Prop. 209's requirement (it was passed by the voters in 1996) that they be treated like all other applicants, as 209 critics predicted and many of them still claim.

Next, note that in 1995, the last year when racial preferences were both legal and in full force, 48% of black applicants to UCLA were offered admission. In 2006, with such "affirmative action" no longer legal, 11.5% of black applicants were accepted. This year, 2007, after UCLA moved with great fanfare to "holistic review," 16% of blacks applicants were admitted. This represented a 39% increase over the pre-"holistic" 2006 numbers, but it is still a far cry 1995's 48% admission rate.

Another recent UCLA news release reports that "UCLA admitted 11,837 prospective freshmen for fall 2007 out of an applicant pool of 50,729." That's an overall admission rate of 23%.

That "affirmative action" in practice led to drastically higher admission rates for blacks was not, of course, limited to UCLA or to undergraduate admissions. Martin Trow, the highly regarded Berkeley sociologist/political scientist, reported the following regarding admission to Boalt Hall, the law school of the University of California at Berkeley, in 1988. Boalt divided all applicants into A, B, C, and D groups based on a combination of their grades and LSAT scores.

Almost all applicants from all ethnic groups in the A range were admitted, but among those who fell in the B range, 69 percent of Asians, 62 percent of whites, and 94 percent of blacks and Hispanics were admitted. Looking at range C, only 19 percent of Asians and 17 percent of whites were admitted, while 77 percent of the blacks and Hispanics got in. In the lowest range, the disparities were even greater.

Nor were numbers like these limited to California. As Abigail and Stephan Thernstrom point out in their magisterial demolition of Bowen and Bok's hymn to affirmative action, The Shape of the River:

Consider the five private schools Bowen and Bok studied intensively. Among applicants for admission in 1989 with SAT scores from 1200 to 1249, 19% of whites and 60% of blacks were admitted; in the next bracket up (1250-1299), 24% of whites and 75% of blacks were accepted. Among applicants with near-perfect scores (1500 or better), over a third of whites were turned down, but every single black got in. Indeed, black students with scores of 1200-1249 were nearly as likely to be accepted at Bowen and Bok's five institutions as whites with scores of 1500 or better! Under race-neutral admissions, clearly the picture would be quite different.

Data such as the above is well-known among students of affirmative action, and is not controversial. What is controversial, of course, is whether such preferential treatment is (or should be) legal and, even if it is legal, whether it is fair. Reasonable people can disagree over the answers to those questions, but I don't believe it is reasonable to deny - as many defenders of "affirmative action" still insist on denying - that in practice most "affirmative action" programs and policies are permeated with racial preference.

ADDENDUM: Do Preferences Continue?

The above is written as though the passage of Prop. 209 ended racial preference in admissions to California institutions, but did it? There is disturbing evidence that it did not, even aside from the "holistic review" end run. At Boalt Hall, for example, Heather Mac Donald writes, reporting one of UCLA law professor Richard Sander's studies, applicants are now given a numerical score based on a combination of grades and LSAT scores.

In 2002, it admitted 92 percent of white applicants with an index of 250 or higher but only 5 percent with an index between 235 and 239. By contrast, it admitted 75 percent of black applicants in the 235-239 range in 2002 and 65 percent in 2003. No black applicants had an index of 250 or higher. Even a 2004 university study acknowledged that there were admissions disparities by race that nonacademic, nonracial factors could not account for.

Meanwhile, back at UCLA, the Daily Bruin reports that

[d]ata from 1995 to the present recently released by UCLA shows that students who identify as black and Latino or Chicano are admitted with lower average high school GPAs and SAT scores than white and Asian students.

More specifically, the Daily Bruin reports:

In fall 2006, before UCLA switched to holistic admissions, black and Latino applicants' average SAT scores were 255 and 246 points lower than the average for their white and Asian counterparts.

That gap seemed largely unaffected by holistic review - in fall 2007, black applicants' SAT scores were on average 293 points lower than those of white and Asian students, and Latino applicants' scores came up 249 points short.

UCLA officials, like university officials everywhere, attempt to explain these disparities by noting, properly enough, that admission decisions are based on more than grades and test scores, that other, presumably non-racial factors are also taken into account. I'm sure that's true, but it remains difficult to refute Ward Connerly's observation, quoted in the article just linked:

UCLA said it would revise (its admissions standards) to take non-academic factors into account, ... but the data that I looked at suggested that they were looking at non-academic factors primarily for black students.

As if to confirm Connerly's point, that same Daily Bruin article pointed out that in 2007 the percentage of black applicants admitted from poorly performing schools [schools with an Academic Performance Index score of 1 or 2] more than doubled over the 2006 rate, from 12% to 27%, while the percentage of both Asian and white admits from those schools actually declined. Moreover, as the Chronicle of Higher Education's Peter Schmidt pointed out (here, in an article I discussed here):

Although the new admissions policy ["holistic review"] is supposed to take into account disadvantages each student has faced, there was actually a decline in the number and share of admitted students who are the first in their families to attend college and coming from households that make less than $30,000 annually. Last year, the university admitted 1,426 such students, or 24 percent of those who applied. This year, it admitted 1,027, or about 17 percent of those who applied.

Some of the dodges that were developed to avoid Prop. 209's strictures were dazzlingly brazen. Thus, Mac Donald reports,

UCLA's law school established a specialization in critical race studies, a marginal branch of legal theory contending that racism pervades nearly every category of the law and that writing about one's personal experiences grappling with that racism is real legal scholarship. College seniors who say that they want to specialize in critical race studies on their UCLA law school applications get a boost in the admissions process: as the school discreetly puts it, a student's interest in the program "may be a factor relevant to the overall admissions calculus." In 2002, UCLA rejected all white applicants to the program, even though their average LSAT score was higher than the average score of the blacks who were admitted.

Racial preferences may be legally dead in California, but their actual death, as Mark Twain once said about a report of his own demise, is greatly exaggerated.

Australia: The decay of school discipline shows

DESPERATE teachers abused and attacked by students, other school staff and also community members in New South Wales have been forced to take out apprehended violence orders on more than 40 occasions. The protection orders have been sought as principals and teachers are assaulted, stalked, harassed and have their property damaged in schools. The revelations come after a string of incidents in schools across the state last week, including a 12-year-old boy who allegedly threatened a teacher with a replica pistol.

While the Iemma Government claims the number of AVOs taken out by teachers is falling, The Daily Telegraph can reveal some staff still feel so helpless in the face of their attackers that they seek outside help. Data on AVOs over three years to mid-2006 show a range of psychological and physical attacks on teaching staff in both primary and secondary schools. The figures have been obtained by The Daily Telegraph under Freedom of Information as five schools battle a wave of serious threats against students and teachers.

Students, ex-students, parents and community members are shown in AVO documents to have launched assaults or threats against school staff. In one terrifying incident, three high school teachers were forced to take out a restraining order against a former student who used a baseball bat to smash his way into an office. Last year police took out an interim AVO against a student, 16, suspended and charged with attempting to throttle his female teacher, 24. The woman was treated in hospital for severe swelling and bruising to her neck, chest and right hand.

A letter from deputy director-general (schools) Trevor Fletcher went out on Friday to all schools warning criminal behaviour could attract severe penalties including jail. He urged students to report any criminal behaviour they see or know is being planned. "Just because you are a school student does not mean you cannot be held responsible for a crime," Mr Fletcher told pupils. "Nor does the fact that you are playing a prank or a trick. You can still be punished as a criminal. "You should not see reporting a crime as dobbing in a mate - such action may in fact save someone's life or prevent serious injury or damage from occurring."

Opposition education spokesman Andrew Stoner called for more professional counsellors in schools because children with mental disorders were "slipping through the cracks". "We have seen the tragic effects of violent incidents involving school students in the US," he said. "NSW public schools are ill-equipped to deal with this."

The Education Department claims stiffer penalties for crimes in schools, tighter security and quick removal of serious troublemakers have contributed to the decline in AVOs sought by teachers. Education Minister John Della Bosca said good communication between students and staff in the incident at Crookwell High School - where shooting threats were made - enabled police to take swift action and ensure safety. "Schools work closely with police and parents when these type of incidents occur," he said.



For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL schools should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the poor and minimal regulation.

The NEA and similar unions worldwide believe that children should be thoroughly indoctrinated with Green/Left, feminist/homosexual ideology but the "3 R's" are something that kids should just be allowed to "discover"

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