Thursday, November 02, 2006

University of California Frustrated By Proposition 209

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Frustrated by Proposition 209, a University of California group seeks to use the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1892 as a model for a Chinese Student Exclusion Act.

According to two recently released faculty reports, the University of California disproportionately serves the state's highest-income, best-educated families, and UC needs to look beyond test scores so high-school graduates from all backgrounds get a fair chance of being admitted. One report, signed by ten UC faculty members and administrators and a student leader, concludes that the UC should consider dramatically cutting the number of freshman applicants guaranteed admission because their high-school grades and UC eligibility test scores are highest.

Who now stands the best chance of being admitted to the University of California system? This should come as no surprise, but as the foregoing UC admissions criteria indicate, the best students as documented by test scores and grades do best at winning admission.

However, for some strange reason merit based admissions don’t make UC faculty, administrators, and student leaders happy.

They are displeased because admissions based on merit favor those who work and study hardest. They can’t have that! Since those favored for admission now are members of a minority, at first blush it would seem they would be welcomed. However, they are the wrong minority, they’re Asian. And most of the Asians are Chinese.

Since the second highest admissions go to no one’s favorite group, Whitey, the UC faculty, administrators, and student leaders have sounded the alarm. “The serious students are coming! The serious students are coming!”

UC admissions of the “right” minorities are sinking rapidly in the wake of passage of Proposition 209, which was supported by 54% of the California voters. Who are these “right” minorities, and why are their admissions sinking?

The “right” minorities, of course, are Blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans, who make up 46 percent of California high school graduates, but only 19 percent of UC Freshmen. Their admissions are sinking because Californians passed Proposition 209 in 1996, banning consideration of racial factors in college admissions for the University of California campuses.

The Left feels that this is tragic. Oddly enough, the Left reveres Martin Luther King, but doesn’t honor his dream of a color-blind society. In fact, the Left is rapidly moving towards adapting apartheid’s system of racial typing to create systems that use race to divide the “spoils,” in this case admissions to the UC system.

Lest you think I am being outrageous, Native Americans and Hawaiians are already applying the practices of apartheid. Daniel Akaka of Hawaii has proposed using linear descent from indigenous Hawaiians as the criteria for participation in a new government modeled on Indian tribes. Just as in the Old South under slavery, and in South Africa under apartheid, where a person was a black if they had the slightest trace of black ancestry, so a trace of Hawaiian blood would make a person Hawaiian. However, unlike under apartheid, racial identification would be used to choose the recipients of preferential treatment, rather than injury.

Of course, UC can’t say they are using race as one of the standards for admission. They have to come up with other criteria to use as a stalking horse for race, such as leadership or “spark.” As a point of clarification, I am not being sarcastic by putting quotation marks around “spark.” The San Francisco Chronicle article did it first, and I’m just following their example, using the criteria proposed by the UC study group that they wouldn’t or probably couldn’t define. They are sure their new criteria will be as good or better predictors of success as grades and SAT scores, they just aren’t sure what those criteria are.

I wonder why they think Asians and Whitey wouldn’t exhibit a lot of leadership and “spark” too, and still be the ones to win admission? Isn’t it racial stereotyping to assume that, in addition to not being able to dance and jump, that Asians and Whites wouldn’t be able to lead and be “sparky” too?

According to the UC report: "The status quo encourages students to treat college preparation as an arms race, to focus only on amassing grade and test score points."

My question then is, what will prevent the bright, hard working Asian and White students from still treating college preparation as an arms race, and focusing on leadership and getting “sparky” as well as on amassing grade and test score points?

I think that the esteemed faculty, administrators, and student leaders at UC think they have found a way around Proposition 209 by using leadership and “spark,” which are very subjective criteria, instead of race. That is, no matter what leadership and “sparkiness” the Asians and Whites learn and display, they won’t be the ones the UC admissions officers are looking for. Conversely, Blacks and Hispanics will be overflowing with it. Isn’t it amazing how these sorts of things just happen?

Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

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