Sunday, May 11, 2014

UCLA Professor Blows Whistle on Illegal Admissions Practices at University

In 1996 California voters passed Proposition 209, which prohibited discrimination or preferential treatment based on race, ethnicity or sex in admissions to public college and universities. But the moment 209 passed, UCLA, according to a new book, set about figuring ways around it.

"Cheating: An Insider's Report on the Use of Race in Admissions at UCLA," by Professor Tim Groseclose, describes what the author insists are illegal admissions practices that he witnessed at UCLA.

Groseclose's story begins in 2008 when, as a member of a faculty oversight committee for admissions, he asked for a random set of application files. He suspected that UCLA was using racial preferences in its admissions decisions -- in violation of Prop 209. When UCLA refused to give him the files, he grew even more suspicious. In response, he resigned from the committee and alerted the press.

To divert attention away from his resignation, he says, UCLA formed the equivalent of a blue-ribbon commission. Specifically, it commissioned one of its sociology professors, whom it called an "independent researcher," to study UCLA admissions and to examine Groseclose's allegations about racial preferences.

Although the study was supposed to be completed in a year, UCLA did not release it until four years later. The statistical tests that the researcher conducted showed significant evidence of racial preferences. However, says Groseclose, UCLA wrote a press release claiming the opposite.

In addition to summarizing that report, Groseclose analyzes a data set that he obtained from UCLA via California's Public Records Act. That data set, which he has posted online and is accessible to the public, contains evidence that is even more damning to UCLA.

But perhaps more interesting than the data and statistical analyses is Groseclose's documentation of the suspicious ways that UCLA faculty and senior officials reacted when he asked for the data. They seemed to know that UCLA was breaking the law, and they resorted to desperate measures to prevent Groseclose and others from seeing the proof. Once Groseclose began to press them, he says, their responses became more and more fanciful. For instance, they claimed that "privacy" was the reason they couldn't give him the data. But then Groseclose suggested that they redact all names and personal identifiers from the applications. They still refused. Further, if they were so concerned with privacy, why did they give the data to the "independent researcher"?

They never gave Groseclose a plausible answer.

While Groseclose's disturbing revelations about UCLA admissions are interesting, the main contribution of his book, I believe, is his insight into the minds of the professors and university administrators. As Groseclose discusses, they have an extremely intense desire for racial diversity. How intense? Groseclose says some even lie and break the law to achieve it. The lies, in their eyes, are "noble lies." The law-breaking becomes, to them, an act of "civil disobedience." But as Groseclose discusses, sometimes -- in order to cover up the original noble lie -- the professors and administrators have to tell more noble lies. When the lies become a habit, the result is a culture of corruption and dishonesty.

Groseclose's book, I suggest, is one of the world's best case studies of that culture.

My favorite parts of the book are the conversations that Groseclose reports from faculty meetings. He discusses one meeting in which the UCLA chancellor pressured Groseclose's committee into adopting a "holistic" admissions system. The reason, the chancellor admitted, was because "several constituencies of UCLA are distressed and upset about the very low numbers of African-American freshmen." At another meeting, two leftwing professors insisted that the university's "independent study" should not examine data from a particular year. Why? They admitted that in that specific year, UCLA was probably the most guilty of violating the law.

Henry Kissinger is often credited with saying, "Academic politics are so vicious precisely because the stakes are so low." Indeed, if you'd told me before I read the book that it contained transcripts of faculty meetings, I would have replied, "I think I'd rather watch paint dry." The conversations are, however, both fascinating and troubling. They give special insight about how leftwing professors and university administrators think. If those conversations are representative -- and I believe they are -- then they reveal some major problems that our country faces.

I was honored to write the opening foreword for his book, and to have his first official interview upon its release.

Martin Luther King yearned for a color-blind society. Many of the left, however, want a color-coordinated one -- provided they are in charge of the coordinating. When asked whether he supported race-based preferential treatment for blacks, John F. Kennedy said: "I do think that we ought to make an effort to give a fair chance to everyone who is qualified. ... We are too mixed, this society of ours, to begin to divide ourselves on the basis of race or color."

"Cheating," Groseclose's new book written from his perspective as a UCLA insider, is an important voice in this debate on race-based preferences.


British govt. tells teachers to identify pupils at risk of Muslim radicalisation

Teachers have been told to vet pupils for signs of radicalisation following concerns that extremists may be attempting to infiltrate schools in the wake of the Trojan Horse plot to introduce Islamic practices into state schools.

Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, has written to every school in England issuing fresh guidance and warning staff to look out for signs of children being exploited.

In the guidelines, teachers are told to maintain an attitude of "it could happen here" at all times.

The document covers all forms of safeguarding, including physical abuse, female genital mutilation, child sexual exploitation and cyberbullying.

It urges heads to pay regard to separate extremism guidance designed to protect "vulnerable people from being drawn into terrorism" – particularly linked to Islamist and far right groups.

Signs of possible radicalisation can include people suddenly changing their style of dress or personal appearance to fit in with a particular cause and losing interest with other friends, it says.

The document also suggests looking out for individuals using derogatory terms for rival groups and even showing "technical expertise" in areas such as survival skills and chemicals.

The disclosure comes amid a series of ongoing investigations into allegations of an Trojan Horse Islamist plot to take over schools in Birmingham.

Speaking earlier this week, David Cameron said he was "hugely concerned" about the allegations, adding: "Will not have extremism, entryism, Islamism in our schools."

Mr Gove's letter tells staff working in schools to look out for "signs that a child may be being abused", directing them to detailed information on "specific safeguarding matters including female genital mutilation, child sexual exploitation, cyberbullying, mental health, and radicalisation".

The Department for Education guidance says "knowing what to look for is vital to the early identification of abuse and neglect".

It provides links to separate Home Office guidelines that says the "most significant threat to this country is from Al Qa'ida affiliated, influenced and associated groups and many referrals will therefore relate to this threat".

The DfE document also tells teachers to look out for signs of physical abuse in light of a series of child neglect scandals, including the killing of four-year-old Daniel Pelka in Coventry, who was beaten and starved to death.

It also covers sexual exploitation following the grooming of girls by gangs of men in a series of towns and cities such as Rochdale and Oxford.

The document says: "Sexual exploitation can take many forms ranging from the seemingly 'consensual' relationship where sex is exchanged for affection or gifts, to serious organised crime by gangs and groups.

"What marks out exploitation is an imbalance of power in the relationship.

"The perpetrator always holds some kind of power over the victim which increases as the exploitative relationship develops."


House Passes Bipartisan Charter School Bill

With strong bipartisan support, the House on Friday passed a bill, 360-45, to expand access to charter school funding. Introduced by the chairman of the House Education Committee, Rep. John Kline (R-MN), the Success and Opportunity through Quality Charter Schools Act “supports state efforts to start, expand, and replicate high-performing charter schools,” according to the Education and the Workforce Committee.

 The bipartisan measure would provide $300 million annually to expand charter schools and consolidate two programs. It would provide state grants to expand and replicate high-quality charter schools and help fund the acquisition of buildings for the schools.

“The Success and Opportunity through Quality Charter Schools Act is a bipartisan initiative that will encourage the growth of charter schools and provide a new avenue of hope for children and their families,” Kline said in a statement, but cautioned that their work to provide more education options for students isn’t done.

“By harnessing the innovations coming out of public charter schools, replicating their successes, and sharing those lessons with non-charter schools, we can help make the promise of a quality public school for every child a reality,” George Miller (D-CA) said. “In particular, this legislation supports students who are traditionally underserved by charter schools, including those with disabilities and English-language learners, so that they can enjoy the same opportunities to succeed.”


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