Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Leftist racism in Arizona And Nebraska

The invaluable Center for Equal Opportunity has recently released studies documenting the degree of preference given to minority applicants to law schools in Arizona and Nebraska. As I've written to my friend Roger Clegg, CEO's president and general counsel, he publishes important reports faster than I can read them.

Defenders of preferential treatment usually begin their defense by denying that they practice it. Thus nearly a year ago I quoted Doug MacEachern, an editorial writer at the Arizona Republic, who predicted that the Arizona Civil Rights Initiative would fail because Arizona is "different" from California, Washington, and Michigan.
... Arizona is different from those states in one key respect. And it's not something that necessarily reflects well on this state: College admissions programs are the primary battleground of the racial-preference wars, and the fact is Arizona colleges are not terribly selective about who gets to attend.

Actually, it failed because thugs from ACORN and other groups succeeded in preventing the gathering of the required number of signatures, but that's another story.

Back to this story, the degree of racial preference in admissions to the law schools at the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, and the University of Nebraska, Clegg and CEO Chairman Linda Chavez noted (in the press releases accompanying the reports, which can be found on the CEO sites linked above):
CEO chairman Linda Chavez said: "Racial discrimination in university admissions is always appalling. But the degree of discrimination we have found here, at both schools but especially at Arizona State, is off the charts." She noted that the odds ratio favoring African Americans over whites was 250 to 1 at the University of Arizona and 1115 to 1 at Arizona State. "As a result, nearly a thousand white students during the years we studied were denied admission even though they had higher undergraduate GPAs and LSATs than the average African American student who was admitted--and over a hundred Asian and Latino students were in the same boat with them."

CEO president Roger Clegg agreed, and stressed that, not only was race weighed, but it was weighed much more heavily that residency status. "For instance, a white Arizonan in 2007 was about eight times less likely to be admitted to the University of Arizona than a black out-of-state applicant, and at Arizona State he would be twelve times less likely to be admitted."

Arizona, it turns out, is not so "different" after all. And Nebraska is no better. At the University of Nebraska law school, Chavez noted,
the odds ratio favoring African Americans over whites was 442 to 1. She pointed out, "During the two years studied (the entering classes of 2006 and 2007), 389 whites were rejected by the law school despite higher LSATs and undergraduate GPAs than the average black admittee. Racial discrimination in university admissions is always appalling. But the extremely heavy weight given to race by the University of Nebraska College of Law is off the charts."

At the state-supported law school in Nebraska, as in Arizona, race was also weighted much more heavily than residence. As Clegg noted,
a white resident of Nebraska in 2007 was more than twenty times less likely to be admitted than an African American applicant from out of state."

I urge you to read both studies, as I intend to do. Meanwhile, as an appetizer, you should take a look at the graphs from them presented on TaxProfBlog. These graphs reveal that for most of the years studied at all three schools the 75th percentile score on the LSAT for entering black students was lower than the 25th percentile score for entering whites.

Also about a year ago I quoted the Dean of the University of Arizona law school, Toni Massaro, who proudly defended her school's use of race preferences because of the "diversity" the preferentially admitted provided to the non-"diverse" students.
Consider, she suggested, teaching constitutional law to a class which includes a Native American student from a reservation with different cultural and legal traditions. "It's a positive value that informs the class discussion,'' she said.

As I pointed out at the time, one problem here is that diversity, even pigmentary "diversity," can be provided by means that do not require pervasive racial discrimination in admissions. It could also be achieved, for example, by something as unthreatening to the "without regard" principle as inviting guest speakers to the campus.

Let me conclude now the same way I concluded then (what's the point of having your own blog if you can't quote yourself at will?):
Actually, inviting guests to articulate "different cultural and legal traditions" would also have the virtue of lifting from the admissions committees the obligation they no doubt now feel to admit some CEOs to enliven and inform discussions of corporate law, old people for their essential views on trusts and estates, fishermen and ship captains for their angle on law of the sea, a boatload of foreigners from all over to provide international perspectives on international law, and tax cheats and felons for their unique and essential points of view on tax and criminal law

Source (See the original for links)

Australia: School science curriculum to be further watered down

The kids are going to get vague generalizations and warm feelings instead of knowledge -- another unfortunate following of the British trend

The traditional school science subjects of biology, physics and chemistry will disappear until the senior years of school under a draft national science curriculum that proposes teaching "science for life". The curriculum, released yesterday, proposes one science course through to Year 10 in which students will explore the big ideas of science, drawing on knowledge from the three traditional disciplines. In the senior years of 11 and 12, the draft proposes three common courses in physics, chemistry and biology, and suggests a fourth more general science course with an emphasis on the applications of science.

The draft is a fundamental shift in the approach to teaching science, away from a focus on facts to fostering students' own inquiries and experiments. It argues that a science curriculum should develop science competencies, give students an understanding of the big ideas, expose them to a range of science experiences relevant to everyday life, and give them an understanding of the major concepts from the sciences. "It is also acknowledged that there is a core body of knowledge and understanding that is fundamental to the understanding of major ideas," it says.

The author of the draft, science education professor Denis Goodrum of Canberra University, said the major challenge of a national science curriculum was to engage and interest students by linking science to their everyday lives. "What we have to do within our curriculum is marry contemporary issues with underlying basic science," he said. Professor Goodrum said the curriculum was not simply to train future scientists but had to provide all students with the scientific skills and knowledge to understand the voltage in their homes or complex issues such as climate change. "Surely a lawyer should have a better understanding of scientific principles in a rich way, just as a medical doctor or a businessman or social worker," he said. "All these areas have a social scientific dimension which is important."

The proposal to drop the traditional disciplines was supported by science education professor at Flinders University, Martin Westwell, who said the advances in science happened at the boundaries where the disciplines intersected. Professor Westwell said the only place where people studied or practised biology, physics and chemistry was in universities. "If you ask a professional scientist what their speciality is, they don't identify as a physicist, biologist or chemist but as a neuroscientist or other," he said. "If you push them, they'll tell you the name that was over the door of the faculty where they did their degree."

Professor Westwell said learning scientific facts and knowledge was fundamental, but had to be balanced with teaching scientific concepts and inquiries. "Perhaps there's been an overemphasis on the stuff taught in science rather than learning about science, about some of the big ideas," he said.

Professor Goodrum said contemporary issues should be included in the curriculum as a way of providing a meaningful context to students, such as cloning, stem cell research, global warming, water conservation and recycling, and hybrid cars.

The draft curriculum blames science curriculums of the past for being too full of content, which students memorise rather than understand, for turning students off the subject. The draft proposes science education start in early childhood, with children's play used to develop an awareness of their world through observation and using their senses. In primary school, the curriculum focus is recognising questions that can be investigated scientifically and investigating them.

The big ideas cover order, change, patterns and system, with suggested topics including weather and how clouds form, sound and how it travels, plants and their reproduction, and the night sky covering the stars andplanets. In Years 7 to 10, the curriculum focuses on explaining phenomena involving science and its applications, covering topics from earth and space science, life science and physical science. The big ideas to be studied cover energy, sustainability, equilibrium and interdependence, form and function, evidence, models and theories.


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