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"affirmative action for whites" at UC?

Original post made by Rush on Mar 29, 2009

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A new University of California admissions policy, adopted to increase campus diversity, could actually increase the number of white students on campuses while driving down the Asian population.

Now angry Asian-American community leaders and educators are attacking the policy as ill-conceived, poorly publicized and discriminatory.

"It's affirmative action for whites," said UC-Berkeley professor Ling-chi Wang. "I'm really outraged "... and profoundly disappointed with the institution."

Comments (70)

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 29, 2009 at 9:30 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Sounds like the Jewish quota of years ago. It is time to give government race classifiers opportunity in the private sector.


Posted by Mike, a resident of University South
on Mar 29, 2009 at 3:44 pm

UC's are state schools. Their racial make up should reflect the tax payers. So, be fair and let white kids in too.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 29, 2009 at 5:45 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Just as soon as they establish a quota of Jewish girls on pro football teams. Public education should be attainable by anyone capable of benefiting from it. Anyone who approves of quotas is validating the KKK, because they also believed in different treatment of different races.


Posted by anonymouscomentator, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 29, 2009 at 6:39 pm

It kind of seems like the make-up of any school should reflect those who meet the actual standards of that school. Being of a certain race does not effect how good of a student/athlete/whatever you are. However, in being private, private school can sort of do that because they are not part of the government. But state-run organizations should be pretty much neutral.


Posted by Rush, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 29, 2009 at 7:19 pm

The article does not talk about quotas. It talks about changing the admission standards in ways that may almost double white student admission compared to current levels (at the expense of other groups). The new admission standards go in to effect in 2012.


Posted by Outside Observer, a resident of another community
on Mar 29, 2009 at 9:02 pm

Call it quotas, or call it social engineering to achieve a desired outcome. The bottom line is the same. The best of the best are getting screwed, and those less worthy are getting opportunities that they don't qualify for.

The larger question to ask is why 12 percent of the population represents 37% of UC admission. Is it the outcome of immigration policy that seeks the best and brightest? Is it the difference in reverence for education between most Asian cultures and American culture? Is it based in "nature", not "nurture".

My thinking is it is a combination of all 3, but at least we do have academic achievers here to keep our technology, society and standard of living moving forward..... That is, if they are allowed the education they qualify for.

Any attempt to "dumb down" our universities is a crime against our future, indeed, a crime against humanity.




Posted by PointOfView, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 29, 2009 at 9:29 pm

The new policy would still be race-blind. It would increase the relative importance of general reasoning tests and eliminate the consideration of specific subject matter test results.

Not clear to me why this should be a good idea. If it's driven by a desire to reduce the number of Asians admitted, it's a horrible and, as I understand it, unconstitutional idea.

Perhaps Asians, or anyone else, can adapt by adjusting education goals from focus on specific subject matter to focus on math, English, and general reasoning.

I believe that work experience develops reasoning ability; does this mean that UC will increase the value of work experience vs. that of advanced placement classes?


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 29, 2009 at 10:17 pm

There are no quotas involved. Simply dropping the subject SAT tests as part of the assessment process.

While there seems to be an obsessions with "whites"--the change in criteria would increase the percentage of latinos and african-americans--whose numbers dropped when race could no longer be factored in as part of admission.

Fact is, while the UCs do not evenly represent the state's population--Hispanics are very underrepresented and, yes, Asians are overrepresented as a proportion of the population. Far more so than those of European ancestry. You may or may not think that matters--though some of this strikes me as wanting to have it both ways--it's bad if whites are overrepresented, but good if Asians are. Or race doesn't matter, except when it matters.

So, what are the arguments for social engineering here? Well, I can think of a strong one. The state has a large Hispanic population which is predicted to become a larger percentage of the population. Do we really want a large chunk of the state population to feel that the public university system is handicapped against them because they can't afford to send their kids to the best schools and pay for, say, subject tutoring?

The Hispanic population is disproportionately poor and undereducated. It's worth our while as a society to see that the academically talented among them have a shot at a college education.

However, I don't really buy the get-Asians argument. There's nothing intrinsically "anti-Asian" or discriminatory about dropping part of a requirement. Everyone has the chance to get good grades and prepare for the SATs. It strikes me more as an attempt by the UC system to level the playing field so that kids who attend lower-tier high schools still have a shot at the UCs. A class thing, in other words.




Posted by Outside Observer, a resident of another community
on Mar 29, 2009 at 11:14 pm

OhlonePar,

To counter (or agree with) some of your points:

"The Hispanic population is disproportionately poor and undereducated. It's worth our while as a society to see that the academically talented among them have a shot at a college education."

Agree with your premise, and vouchers for K-12 would go a long way here. After that the college scholarship infrastructure does a reasonable job of providing for the academically talented, regardless of income.

However,

Consider the "boat people". Like most (and I only consider the legal) Hispanic Immigrants, they too are "disproportionately poor and undereducated", not to mention the linguistic disadvantages tonal Asian language speakers have over any Romance language speakers in an English environment. Yet, the second generation from the "boat people" immigrants have fared better than most second generation Hispanics. That and many other factors bring me to the 3 questions I raised in my original post.

The fact that the context of this change in admissions policy is it's effect on admissions as a function of race speaks volumes.




Posted by resident, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 30, 2009 at 7:06 am

Ohlone Par, It seems you support everything government does these days...


Posted by Rush, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 30, 2009 at 8:39 am

This change has nothing to do with Hispanic students. The article says there will be little change in Hispanic enrollment. The big change is a dramatic increase in white students and a dramatic decrease in Asian-American students.

I suppose another question is why are white students doing so much worse in California schools than Asian-American students? Are the schools biased? Are the tests biased? Or are the kids just stupid?


Posted by Chinese Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 30, 2009 at 9:43 am

Rush,

Asia puts academics at top priority so they push their children hard to study, study, study and forego social activities for academics.

I think the Asians will learn to get around this admissions change by studying for what is necessary.

Notice that third generation Asians (grandparents were immigrants)have less of an academic edge than those whose with parents who are immigrants. They end up assimilating.

There are plenty of whites who can keep up with the Asian study habits as long as their parents are interested in their success, just as the Asian parents are interested.

I think they should go back to admitting students based on being well-balanced with good grades plus extracurriculars rather than just looking at test scores and grades. Can a studying machine who has no personality for management be as successful?

Whatever they try to do, the Asians will find a way to adapt.

Outside Observer, interesting point about second gen + Hispanics vs. Asian second gens. A Hispanic friend of mine states it this way: "Their parents come from Mexico and work so hard to provide for their children and the children end up spoiled and don't work hard like the parents did. And academics are not enforced."


Posted by parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 30, 2009 at 10:55 am

I don't see that the SAT II is so necessary to get into and succeed in college. It didn't even exist when most of us went to college and it sure didn't exist when the folks who got us to the moon went. The SAT II is a commercial gimmick put out by a for-profit organization. The SAT I should be good enough it tests reasoning and basic knowledge.

We are talking about at least a thousand dollars by the time kids take ACT, SAT I, SAT II in a couple of subjects, ACT and several AP tests.

These things are one commercial gimmick after another - that's what it's about. It's not about race. After all, we could look at the current situation differently, like the SAT II was added to give Asians an advantage in the first place and now that their unfair advantage is recognized the state is trying to make things fair again.


Posted by Rush, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 30, 2009 at 10:59 am

"SAT II was added to give Asians an advantage in the first place and now that their unfair advantage is recognized the state is trying to make things fair again"

????

I've never heard that one before. You think Asians were doing terrible on the original SAT? And somehow they were able to conspire with the SAT company to manipulate the test?


Posted by Chinese Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 30, 2009 at 11:21 am

There has never been anything to give Asians an academic advantage. Asians have a history of doing well academically.


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 30, 2009 at 12:28 pm

The change in emphasis from the subject specific to the general SAT test results isn't inherently anti-Asian. By 2012, Asian students will adjust and the percentages of admitted students won't be that much different than they are today. It's just a matter of knowing what's expected and working hard to get there.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 30, 2009 at 1:27 pm

Outside,

The problem with vouchers, in my opinion, is that private schools are allowed to selectively admit kids. The result is to leave public schools with a higher percentage of problem students while giving them less funds to manage them.

I've had a couple of educators tell me that it's a challenge to keep talented Hispanic kids in the system. There's a fair amount of cultural pressure to get a job, get married, stay with the family. Even when the family encourages higher education they often don't have the wherewithal to go about it.

I'm with Chinese Parent in that I think Asian families will adapt. I see no reason why Asian kids won't, as a whole, continue to have good grades and solid scores. They did well before the SAT II, I think they'll do fine without it.

Rush,

The article mentioned that there should be an improvement for Hispanics and black students--it just didn't give any specifics. After all, it's much juicier to pose things as an Asian v. White battle instead of the university's overall attempt to get a wider range of students. Let alone question whether SAT IIs are needed as admittance criteria. As parent points out, the tests, cumalatively, add up--in a way that's going to matter more in some families than in others.

By the way, read what parent wrote again--it was a hypothetical, not a statement of fact. I mean would anyone have an issue with an entry criteria that seemed to favor whites more than other groups being dropped? Probably not because whites aren't under-represented at the UCs. Even if Asian enrollment drops the projected 7 percent, they will still be the most highly represented group per capita by a very wide margin. (As for why whites don't perform as well as Asians--basically, more diverse group economically and educationally, also, I think there's something to be said for that immigrant/first-generation drive to succeed. You see it historically.)

A less loaded way to look at the issue is to ask how many tests should our kids have to take for colleges to get an idea whether they can do the work? I'm with Chinese Parent here--I'd rather see a well-rounded kid who has some idea what s/he actually likes to do.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 30, 2009 at 5:30 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Given my druthers I would fire any government employee who made any attempt to classify anyone by race.


Posted by Rush, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 30, 2009 at 5:33 pm

Are you opposed to racial profiling by the police or by the TSA?


Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 30, 2009 at 6:22 pm



Forget about race, the state supported college system should enable smart kids from poor families to break out of the class system.

It is an outrage that wealthy black, asian and latin kids get affirmative action they do not need whereas the poor of all races miss out on opportunities.


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 30, 2009 at 9:49 pm

It helps if you have the $$$ to tutor/prep for the SAT subject tests. So if you are totally attuned to standardized test taking, you are golden. I don't see why they factor in so much currently for UC, they didn't used to. They keep changing the UC admissions system over the years. It ought to be RACE BLIND. It should have a standard admissions system like other universities out there. How about other major public university systems - the ones I happen to have been hearing about lately (casually, admittedly) don't require two SAT subject tests.


Posted by Chinese Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 30, 2009 at 11:34 pm

Sharon,

Asians DO NOT qualify for affirmative action because they have been too successful to qualify.

African-Americans and Hispanics qualify for affirmative action because their culture has been less successful.


Posted by Outside Observer, a resident of another community
on Mar 30, 2009 at 11:59 pm

Back when "Affirmative Action" was the official policy of UC, the Black and Hispanic kids that would have qualified for UC without Affirmative Action were forever tarred with the "AA" brush.

In a way, it's poetic justice that now white kids will also be so tarred.

Future hiring managers will know that the only UC grads they can assure got their UC degrees honestly are Asians.

Is this really the future we want?


Posted by Chinese Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2009 at 12:38 am

Outside Observer,

That's an Olympic level long jump of a statement. Caucasians will not be accepted under affirmative action. There are still too many of them being accepted to UCs.

I worked in the registrar's office of a famous university in this area and the AAs were admitted with GPAs of 3.0 while the Caucasians were of summa cum laude or magna cum laude status plus had amazing extras on their applications. And following the records of the AAs, their GPAs stayed low while attending this university. I think they should ditch affirmative action and may the best man win.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Mar 31, 2009 at 2:14 am



I think that it is discriminatory that I can not purchase a home in an Asian or East Asian country, send my kids to their public schools, and complain about them, even though my spouse is a national.

I was told that my children would not be able to inherit any property since they were half western.

Why should non citizens and naturalized citizens (parents on overstayed student visas, or work visas) get preferential treatment when I am not allowed to own property or send my kids to public school in your country?

With overpopulation in the US from all over the world, and the strain on our educational systems, we need to educate our own children first. I have heard so much bragging from foreign parents about how great the schools are back in their homelands. It makes me wonder why they are here. Have they committed some crime or humiliated their family back in their own country?

Our government should start investigating the real reasons why these wealthy foreigners leave their homelands and cultures to move to a country with "an inferior" educational system. It is not work. There are plenty of jobs in Asia and it is easy to form your own start up.

Bring back the written test on the SAT and make it longer (30 minutes).

Professors at MIT and Stanford have noticed a decline in literacy.
Once these kids graduate, their poor English skills often keep them in lower level positions, even though they may have a PhD. Many lack spoken and written English skills as well as leadership skills to become upper level managers.

Perfect math SAT's are more common than you think.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 31, 2009 at 3:01 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Rush, I heartily support behavior profiling by police and ICE.


Posted by Chinese Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2009 at 8:54 am

Parent,

It is way too crowded in Asia and it is easier to compete academically and otherwise here than in Asia because in Asia, everyone is overworking all the time.

Asian culture lacks creativity and leadership skills and there is a lot of lack of communication. This is where America is superior.

I agree that writing skills are terrible these days.


Posted by another parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2009 at 10:40 am

Outside observer,
That is another quantum jump to say that all asian students get their degrees honestly.


Posted by Chinese Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2009 at 11:20 am

Another parent,

There was that Korean gal who posed as a Stanford student. Don't clump all Asians together. Certain Asians (not Chinese or Japanese) are known to be dishonest a lot more than other Asians.


Posted by Another parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2009 at 11:39 am

As are many people from other cultures and countries around the globe including this on. I was really just responding to the extreme response made by Outside Observer.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 31, 2009 at 11:54 am

Outside Observer,

There's no affirmative action being proposed here, simply dropping a couple of tests. That hardly "taints" anybody since the criteria for admittance is the same for everyone.

Or do you think everyone who's of the baby bust generation is tainted because it was easier to get into college at that time?

One indication that the UC current admittance policy is off is the performance of transfer students. These are kids who often didn't get into Berkeley as freshmen and then attended community colleges for a couple of years. When they get to UC their academic performances match those of those admitted as freshmen. In other words, kids capable of doing well aren't getting in.

Parent,

Most of those Asian countries have only a couple of top-level universities--getting in can be brutal and if you don't get in you're on a lower-level track for life. South Korea sees more than a 100 suicides annually because of poor test results. The irony of it is that the University of Korea, while the best the country has to offer isn't a top-tier international institution.

So, in the U.S. you have both a less competitive secondary school environment AND better universities. There's no mystery about it.

Chinese Parent,

I don't think you can restrict the cheating issues to one nationality. I don't think that was the case in the Saratoga High cheating scandal. Plagiarism, in general, is a huge problem across the board--partly because it's just so darn easy these days. I've had profs tell me that some of their students don't even really get what plagiarism is these days.

And, yeah, writing skills are sorely lacking these days. I wish they would have a written portion of the tests. It's a good measure of a student--you can't cram learning to write.

But, anyway, it looks like the best way to get your kid in the Ivies right now is to be able to pay your way. I'd already heard through the grapevine that kids applying early admission from the private schools were hearing back faster than kids from the public schools--and now a NY Times article confirms that acceptances aren't as need-blind as they were.

I hear they have a nice trailer park near Half Moon Bay . . .


Posted by Chinese Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2009 at 12:07 pm

OhlonePar,

I'm referring to a whole new level of dishonesty, not just cheating in school. Forged documents, name selling, lying about income, lying about whatever they please to make themselves seem more successful.


Posted by Outside Observer, a resident of another community
on Mar 31, 2009 at 1:43 pm

The title of this thread is ""affirmative action for whites" at UC?".

In 1997. Prop. 209 made "Affirmative Action" illegal in all aspects of state government and state education. I see this move by UC as a back-door way to start on the affirmative action path again.

Though my scenario of whites being tainted by AA may seem far-fetched today, 30 days ago who would have believed that the government could force the CEO of GM out, and effectively take over the company.

Just like the bailout money, once something like this starts, it can garner an unstoppable momentum of its own.


Posted by Outside Observer, a resident of another community
on Mar 31, 2009 at 7:26 pm

OhlonePar,

Whenever higher education has been used for social engineering, the recipients have always had some level of tainting. For my generation that was "Student Deferments", A.K.A. Draft Dodging. Like AA, after some time student deferments were dropped and a Selective Service lottery installed.

It came late in the war, when the war was being systematically wound down and lost, and the those drafted through the lottery were never liable for Viet Nam combat duty, but at least it was done, and I doubt we will ever see the hypocrisy of student deferments again.

I wish I could say as much for Affirmative Action.




Posted by parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2009 at 8:50 pm

I still say the discussion should be about the over use of commercially prepared tests. The SAT II was initially used for placement, not for admission. It should go back to the placement catagory in the interest of simplicity and clarity and cost effective college application processes.

Every law, rule and convention will benefit some people more than others. Keeping an outdated law to preserve the advantage those people have instead of looking at whether the law is necessary and effective is backward logic.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 2, 2009 at 6:20 pm

Chinese Parent,

I'm sorry to hear that that sort of thing happens. Every group seems to have its besetting sins.

Outside Observer,

The GI bill was a piece of social engineering on a huge scale. And a tremendous success. Dropping the SAT II is not affirmative action, it's simply dumping a requirement of limited value. I think parent is right--the real discussion is about the use of commercial tests. I'd say there's a good argument that they don't work in that one of the issues faced by the UCs is the number of kids who can't write at college level. Writing is an essential skill--and if test-taking prep comes at the expense of writing practice, we're all losing.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2009 at 6:53 pm

How about the fact that only the top 10% of any high school have any chance of getting in. This is one of those sounds fair ideas but in actual fact discriminates against really good students in Palo Alto who perform well against the state norms, but not in the highest 10% here in Palo Alto. Many of our good students would easily get into a UC if they were in another district, but grouping them with some of the excellent peers is actually working against them.

A fairer system which would prevent students from applying to more than say 7 California schools would also help. At present, our top 10% students are applying to 20 schools, getting into the majority of them, taking only one place of course and rejecting the others, and once again our really good (but not excellent) students are not getting accepted.


Posted by Outside Observer, a resident of another community
on Apr 2, 2009 at 8:16 pm

OhlonePar,

Calling the GI bill a piece of social engineering is a stretch. It's part of the contract for military service, and you get it rich or poor, black or white.

You are right in one thing, it has been a huge success for everyone able to use it and graduate.

If anything, it's stigma is very positive. From a hiring manager's point of view, it's the discipline, commitment and teamwork of successful military service, followed by commitment discipline and success in academia. For a young person, I couldn't ask for more qualification.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 2, 2009 at 8:41 pm

Outside Observer,

If you don't understand what the GI Bill did then you don't understand your history. There was no obligation to institute a GI Bill for WWII veterans--it was in keeping with other large-government liberal projects that began under Roosevelt.

And it made a huge difference. People who had never considered the possibility of college and a professional career could think about doing so. It also, of course, created a much larger educated work force. It's not an accident that the early tech boom was spearheaded by that generation.

As for affirmative action stigmas--I don't buy it. Anyone who performs well in college will be seen as a good student regardless of what the circumstances were of their acceptance. Dropping the SAT II is negligible from that perspective.


Posted by A Korean, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 2, 2009 at 9:07 pm

Sharon, Asian-Americans do not get affirmative action. We succeed on our own merit. In fact, where Asians do excel, we've had to be better than whites.

To Chinese parent and all - yes, "Asians" are individuals. It's only the whites who like to classify Asians as a group. We Asians know the difference between each other, and some try to get along. That's why race based decisions when it comes to academics and ultimately career success is shameful. It should be based on your individual accomplishments not on the color of your skin.


Posted by resident, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 2, 2009 at 9:11 pm

To Parent of the Jordan Middle School community, are you denigrating Asian immigrants? If so, and you want Asians to stay in Asia, why did you marry one? Seems rather illogical that you want all who are not married to a white to be investigated by the government.


Posted by Outside Observer, a resident of another community
on Apr 2, 2009 at 9:18 pm

OhlonePar,

Re: GI bill, it was in response to a legitimate debit of gratitude for service performed. In my mind, it would have been much more if Liberals weren't in power at the time, but like the elimination of student deferments, as least it was done.

We agree on the outcome, but we have both strayed way off thread subject on this.




Posted by A Korean, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 2, 2009 at 9:18 pm

I can't believe Parent of the Jordan Middle School community's comment! What a rude and insensitive comment. Your statement perpetrates a very negative stereotype and discriminates against Asian-Americans who could do just as well as any white in an executive managerial job.

It's only a wonder that your spouse is Asian! Do you feel the same about him/her! Whites like you disgust me.


Posted by A Korean, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 2, 2009 at 10:05 pm

Also, as an Asian-American it doesn't surprise me that the UC Regents, who are mostly white, would make rules that would purportedly benefit their own....if this is what the new rule change would imply as the article suggests. So, it's not surprising that the ruling "skin-color" would make things easier for themselves. It's all politics anyway.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 2, 2009 at 11:54 pm

A Korean,

And why is it that you group all "whites" together?

And if you don't want to be grouped as "Asian-American" why are you identifying yourself as such?

How, by the way, does dropping the SAT II requirement hurt Asian-Americans except that they've performed well on those tests? They also, as a group, perform well in terms of grades and SAT tests. It seems to me that--and this is a critical difference between dropping a requirement and quotas--they will have the same opportunity to do well and get into a UC.

I would disagree with your apparent view that diversity doesn't matter. I think diversity is valuable--particularly as we are a multiethnic state with no majority. I don't see why the regents shouldn't aim to have a more balanced student body. Its admission of kids at the top of their class regardless of test scores has been an attempt to do that. Does that bother you? Or just the idea of generic white people admissions increasing for any reason?



Posted by Chinese Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 3, 2009 at 9:53 am

A Korean,

Yes, the color of the skin, the appearance of people should not affect how a person is perceived. But that is in a perfect world which Earth is not.


Posted by A Korean, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 3, 2009 at 4:34 pm

Ohlone Parent, where did I say diversity doesn't matter? I obviously have called myself a Korean. When I use the term "Asian-American" obviously, that's using white language because a lot of whites cannot distinguish.

Just as you obviously get upset when people lump all whites together, quid pro quo for Asians. Which proves my point, that people should be considered on their individual merits and personality, not on the color of their skin.

So my point: affirmative action for anyone is bogus.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 3, 2009 at 5:45 pm

Korean,

I don't actually get upset when I get lumped together--but I'm pointing out that you, in fact, lump people together while complaining about people doing it to you. I'm pointing out the irony.(And, yes, I can tell Koreans from Vietnamese from Chinese, etc. Can you tell Germans from Dutch?)

So, since diversity matters why object to a policy change that would create a more diverse campus?

People often say they want things to be race-blind, but I wonder if they do--if it means giving up cultural traits which they cherish? Part of the reason you term Americans of European extraction as generically "white" is because there is such a high rate of exogamy. As there is among American Asians whose ancestors arrived four or five generations ago.

Tensions over assimilation, which is what I think a lot of this is, happen over and over again in this country.


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 3, 2009 at 7:56 pm

I am a "white" person who was told to my face by an Asian that "all whites look alike." Because of my particular ethnic background, I DO look like one particular country, and some people can easily distinguish that country. Therefore, I was a little surprised by the person's flat statement. But - I don't really care.
On the other hand, if I meet any person and I am unsure of their ethnic heritage, I don't make assumptions or state offhand comments, and if they care to discuss their heritage, that's fine and if not, that's also fine.
It is time to be an American.


Posted by A Korean, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 3, 2009 at 9:39 pm

Ohlone Par, somehow you seem to be pulling things out of thin air from my posts, humorous... and totally off the topic as well. Lol.


Posted by A Korean, a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 3, 2009 at 9:50 pm

Also if you object to my using the word "white", why do you not object to the article using the word "white"?

Seems odd that you seem fine with the article, but when a KOREAN uses the word it suddenly becomes offensive. Double standard? Lol.

It's useless talking with you folks. Good day.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 4, 2009 at 2:22 pm

A Korean,

No, I'm looking at your underlying assumptions. And I do have issues with the article. I think it's needlessly inflammatory.

I'm simply pointing out that even as you object to being grouped together and stereotyped, you do the same thing. But doing it to people of European extraction doesn't count.

I think it's on-topic in that the original article makes assumptions about ethnicity and its meaning.


Posted by Aaron, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Apr 4, 2009 at 3:23 pm

Academic institutions should have academic, not cultural standards. If they do not, then they are not academic insitutions. I could care less if 100% of students at Berkeley or Stanford are Asians. I completely reject various attempts to achieve "diversity", other than through academic achievement at the lower levels of schools, especially high school. Educational vouchers would promote early academic achievement, especially if the parents are not on point.

We currently have a system that is always being tricked by the dons, in order to create artificial constructs. Asians, today, ARE being discriminated against, when the standards are diminished. This system sends a very un-American message to our youth, namely that they don't really need to excel, they just need to be somewhat good, and be the correct gender or color or race or ethnicity or write an essay about how they want to serve the world or have athletic ability (etc.).

Meritocracies are harsh things. They also create the greatest good for the many.


Posted by Ada, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 16, 2009 at 10:25 am

Completely agree with Aaron!


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 16, 2009 at 1:48 pm

Aaron,

The public universities are public trusts--they exist to benefit all of us as a whole--so, yes, they should reflect the diversity of the state.

You don't seem to understand the social role of public education in this country. I suggest you read up on its history.

Dropping use of a questionable test criteria does not constitute discrimination. It can be argued that use of the SAT II discriminates against poorer kids in that they are less likely to be able to afford any specialized coaching in those subjects.


Posted by PointOfView, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 17, 2009 at 1:02 pm

OhlonePar -

The purpose of (public) education in a democracy is to most efficiently apply the designated resources toward education, period.

The better educated the population is, the better decisions it can make, and in a democracy, the population is in the final analysis responsible for the decisions of the country.

It is not the proper purpose of public educational institutions to bias the public politically, implement social programs, provide unequal opportunity or benefit to equalize other failures in society.

As much as the preponderance of educators would like to use the educational system to further their political aims, the public education system is not their resource to achieve that purpose. It is the public's resource, and its proper purpose is education only.

Do you have a perspective or argument which indicates otherwise, other than your interpretation of the US public education tradition?

The tradition of education for the purpose of assisting democracy to success goes back much further than the last 150 years.


Posted by Gerald., a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 17, 2009 at 1:38 pm

"The public universities are public trusts--they exist to benefit all of us as a whole--so, yes, they should reflect the diversity of the state. "

Why does only racial and ethnic diversity count under this ideology? I believe about 1/3 of Californians claim to be Evangelical Christians. Should they be proportionately represented too? Should we kick out some Jewish professors and students to make sure they aren't overrepresented?


Posted by Aaron, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Apr 17, 2009 at 2:42 pm

"The public universities are public trusts--they exist to benefit all of us as a whole..."

OhlonePar,

Correct. That is why I want the BEST and most TALENTED graduates to promote the future. I do not want a mediocre mix of 'diversity' that cannot compete or produce the best future to the majority. Our university graduates are competing against the best in the world, not just the best from their high schools. I want to see EXCELLENCE. I do NOT want to see 'outcomes-based' education, based on a failing standard, which can only fail in the long run.

Go look at the winners of the local science fairs: They are mostly Asians. They will be our economic and scientific future. I am completely fine with that. You are not. My vision of diversity is that ALL kids will start to study hard, drive themselves hard, be tested hard, accept failure as an opportunity to get better...challenge their whining parents to allow themselves to fail, and pick themselves up off the mat (despite their spoilt parents).

The problem, OP, is that your model is a failed model, no matter how hard you want to defend it. Reality is the tsunami that is washing your ideas overboard.


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 17, 2009 at 2:55 pm

Aaron - perhaps we have different views on what constitutes BEST and TALENTED. No one is suggesting a lottery of students based on race. SAT subject tests (and SAT prep) cost money. Eliminating them levels the playing field a little to include the financial "have nots". Diversity is not limited to race, there is also financial diversity, cultural diversity, male vs female, urban vs rural, diverse religions, political views, etc.


Posted by Aaron, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Apr 17, 2009 at 3:26 pm

palo alto mom,

Knock it off...too much fluff. Just look at the winners of the various science fairs. Those kids are the future.

If you want a diverse talent pool of excellence, it will require an entirely differnt model than what you are talking about. The tests need to be brought up to international standards, they do NOT need to be lowered nor elimiated. Your suggestion of talking down the standards of excellence, in order to meet a social demand of inclusion, is a loser out of the gate.

I came out of a trailer camp, and I studied very hard, and I made it. I have no sympathy, whatsoever, for the excusers of failure. There is no such thing as a level playing field, but there are those who work and study and persevere...and then they determine the level of the field.

Let me be very direct here: Would you have a problem with a vast majority of our future leaders being Asians, if Asians were the best qualified, based on their own merit, to graduate from our universities?


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 17, 2009 at 4:02 pm

Point of View,

No period about it. It's not particularly efficient to teach everyone to read, but we do it because it creates better citizens more capable of self-government.

Gerald,

Religion is a choice, not something innate. Ideally, ethnicity would be a non-issue and, if you look at the history of this country, you'll see that many ethnicities cease to matter when it comes to classifications. So we're really talking about assilimilation at some point.

In the case of California we've got an issue with a burgeoning Hispanic population with a high drop-out rate. Part of the reason we don't have the situation one sees in Europe is that over about three generations, immigrant groups are assimilated in this country--and one route to this is education--public education.

As a society, we need to make opportunities widely available, not simply to groups of people whose parents given them socioeconomic advantages.

Nonetheless, no one said anything about knocking anybody out or establishing a quota. How does dropping the SAT II constitute a quota?

Aaron,

Your statement presupposes that current admission standards are the best measurement. I don't buy it. Even as test scores and grade levels go up in terms of getting into the UCs, the percentage of students who don't need remedial English goes down.

Attempts to change this--to make the ability to write English at the college level a criteria for admission--have been fought--and, yes, by some of the same folks fighting the dropping of the SAT II.

That says to me, among other things, that the tests and grades are NOT accurate measurements of the most able and talented by any means. Being able to write at college level is a basic, basic skill.

That you focus on science fairs shows that you don't understand what diversity actually is--you've written other things that indicate that you have a very narrow definition of what constitutes a worthwhile education. You understand the value of the School of Engineering and that's about it.

(And, yes, I could pick apart your writing--I won't--but be aware of the fact you lack some fundamental writing skills. We call them "trailer parks" not "camps", by the way. Do you really think you've convinced anyone that you grew up in one?)

And there's also your lack of knowledge of history. My "model" as you call it, is one that's been very successful in this country--public and inexpensive education made widely available to create a population capable of self-governance, an educated workforce capable of great technological innovation.


Posted by Aaron, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Apr 17, 2009 at 4:17 pm

"We call them "trailer parks" not "camps"..."

OP,

You have now lost all credibility with me.

I was raised in a trailer camp. Trailer parks are for the middle class folks that hook them behind their cars and tour around the country. You don't have a clue.

I think you pretend to have some experience, but you, clearly, do not.


Posted by Gerald, a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 17, 2009 at 4:50 pm

"Religion is a choice, not something innate."

A lot of people argue that they are compelled by something innate within themselves towards their religious beliefs, and that they have no choice in the matter. A lot of people argue that homosexuality is a choice, and that gay people could choose otherwise.

There are a lot of Asian and white children who grow up in trailer camps or parks or slums and whose parents neglect them, and who have no choice in the matter.

There are a lot of black and hispanic kids who have such tremendous advantages that even some of their parents can't make a case that they should receive favored treatments. (President Obama has said he doesn't think his kids should receive favored treatment.)

OP's problem is that he/she sees people as members of groups, and not as individuals. ("As a society, we need to make opportunities widely available, not simply to 'groups' of people whose parents given them socioeconomic advantages.") This is profoundly at odds with the special distinction that makes this country different from others that historically have not followed a melting pot model.

Dividing people by race - which we have done far too much of in this country, and which we've spent the last 150 years trying to rectify - is a recipe for ethnic strife that we need not and should not do.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 17, 2009 at 5:37 pm

Gerald,

And there's a history of discriminating against evangelical Christians in this country? Oh right, there's not.

I haven't set this debate up--I didn't come up with the title "affirmative action for whites"--obviously someone sees this in terms of ethnicity and, critically, are objecting to the UCs dropping the SAT II criteria on *racial* grounds. They, not I, are objecting to the fact, again on *racial* grounds, that dropping the requirement will change the demographics of the UCs.

Shoes on the other foot on this one.


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 17, 2009 at 6:25 pm

Aaron -

Again, no one is suggesting that the best and brightest be kept out of the UC system, but it does seem that leveling the playing field so economically disadvantaged students have a better chance is fair, not discriminatory. Like OhlonePar, I'm surprised that critical writing in English at a college Level is not a requirement for admission.

The ability to communicate either in writing, verbally or preferably both, is probably the most important skill for long term success as are those skills which fall under emotional intelligence. Winning a science fair is probably not the best indicator of success in life. (Said with a smile). Science is also not the only subject that people can study and be successful.

As to our future leaders, I have no problem with the top graduates of our universities running our companies and our country. I don't really care what their race, sex or religion is as long as they are intelligent, fair and honest leaders.


Posted by Aaron, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Apr 17, 2009 at 6:46 pm

"Again, no one is suggesting that the best and brightest be kept out of the UC system, but it does seem that leveling the playing field so economically disadvantaged students have a better chance is fair, not discriminatory."

Just more fluff.

The best and brightest are the best and brightest. The 'level playing field' paradigm is a construct to discriminate agaisnt those who study hard, test hard, stand tall against adverse circumstances. It is just a quota system that discriminates against Asians, in present cirmumstances. The same model was the rage in past decades when Jews were being discriminated against with quotas.

Do we never learn?


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 17, 2009 at 10:57 pm

Aaron,

Really? Then how come SAT scores aren't great predictors of college performance? Or how come valedictorians don't become stand outs in their professional lives (they perform well, but not exceptionally so.)

Again, you don't know your history. Jews at the turn of the 20th century weren't considered the best and the brightest--they scored below average on IQ tests. Why? Most of them were from poor uneducated families that didn't have the educational background of those who performed better on those tests.

Your definition of "best and brightest" is narrowly defined--again given that an increasing percentage of entering UC freshman cannot write at college level. That says to me that there's an issue with the admittance criteria. I suspect, also, that basic literacy skills are put on the backburner in high school and at tutoring sessions while kids learn to ace bubble tests.

So the "best and the brightest" then becomes those who are good at taking tests and doing assigned work. Very little about either of those things requires much in the way of creativity, initiative or stringent analysis. Those attributes which matter when it comes to college performance and success later in life simply aren't measured.
(Contrast the percentage of science fair winners to Nobel laureates. Or for that matter, the relatively low number of East-Asian CEO/founders of the big Silicon Valley companies--Indians, yes, East Asians, not so much--Jerry Yang springs to mind.)

Having heard a number of successful Silicon Valley CEO types, by the way, I'd say being articulate and comfortable with preparing presentations (i.e. effective writing) is a big advantage.

This isn't news, by the way.



"The Best and the Brightest" is quite a bit more fluid and environmentally dependent than you seem to realize.


Posted by PointOfView, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 18, 2009 at 4:39 am

OP -

Don't know what you're getting at, but I see that it is extremely efficient to (try to) teach everyone to read. It allows another avenue for further education; it increases the opportunity to get educational value from class time and homework.

If you are trying to support the argument that a proper use of education is to directly implement social changes, which is what I am arguing against, the efficiency of teaching reading would seem to have little force either for or against this argument.

Basically, I think that educators should not have a right to use public educational resources to implement their social agendas, and that doing so is an inefficient allocation of educational resource, and that their goal should be an efficient allocation of educational resources. Please broaden my view.

To a point, I agree with Aaron. Use non-discriminatory standards to determine who gets access to academic resources. But I also see and agree with you that purely academic measures of "worthiness" have not been effective; the way they are currently applied is provably ineffective.

It seems quite possible to me that, for example, "scrappiness" is as valuable as an SAT score in determining likely success in an academic institution (and in life). But any attempt to mark "scrappiness" by race for the purpose of admission to a public educational facility is, in my book, wrong and unconstitutional.

And, successful leverage of a higher education does not always lead to the most successful life. Success in life also involves aspects other than those that an academic education typically strengthens. So the measures of "how well are we choosing those we admit to higher education?" can not be based solely on success in life of graduates. It should include a measure of the leverage of the education.

Cultures may influence success in life, but that does not mean we should bias admissions toward those cultures that do not tend to lead to success in life.


Posted by Aaron, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Apr 18, 2009 at 7:05 am

"supporters of the change, which results from a faculty study and is backed by president Mark G. Yudof, see it as a way to ease the widening achievement gap on their campuses. The impact of the new policy, according to

UC's preliminary analysis, would be to simplify the application process and cast a wider net among promising low-income students."

Translation: Reduce the number of high achieiving kids, and increase the number low achieving kids. This will level the playing field, and it will achieve the goal of fewer Asians and more whites.

Hmmm...I wonder why the Asians are so upset about this? I am one white person who joins the Asians in being upset.


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 18, 2009 at 8:48 am

Aaron -

To me, the important part of the article is "promising low-income students." (I'm sure you will think that is fluff too).

These are the kids who do not have tutors, go to Score or Kumon for 12 years of elementary and secondary school, who do not have the financial means to take the SAT's 4 times, do not have access to extensive music training, do not have the resources to build those award winning science projects, who have parents that perhaps work 2-3 jobs and can not help them with homework, science projects, etc. if without all those resources they are capable of performing as well if not better once they are at a university, those students should also have a chance. If allowing them a chance means some kids with better support before college have to attend another school, then so what. There are many great schools beside the UC's.

I would be interested to see who performs better once admitted and who performs well once they graduate.


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