Monday, February 19, 2007

MCRI effects

It's not surprising, but According to the Daily, UM underrepresented minority admissions have decreased from 76% last December to 33% in January, a decline of 43 percentage points (not an absolute percent, as the Daily reports -- since 1% of 1,000,000 applicants would be more than 100% of 1,000 applicants even though it's technically a 99% drop. Or maybe I have that backwards).

EDIT: Argh, more data is needed here. Like, actual numbers, for more than two years.

Subjective interpretation of the 'academic qualifications' of the incoming class is, to me, a superficially positive outcome and a red herring trumpted by those who contend that our work is done without acknowledging the discrepancies and significant issues that still exist in regarding k-12 educational opportunity. Sure, for families who can afford it, families and culture will always have more influence and ability for change in the life of a child than the government. But if Affirmative Action was just a band-aid, this is saying "screw it, it wasn't healing anyway." The playing field can be better leveled. This difference can be reconciled beyond pipe dreams.

2 comments:

Bryan said...

Actually... the 76% was the number admitted pre-December *this year*, when the injunction allowing them to consider race was still in force. The 33% is the rate since then. As the article said, acceptance rates always decline as the season progresses - just not usually quite that steeply. It's really too early to say how the ban is going to affect admissions overall, especially since more people surely applied and were accepted early this year because everyone knew that the injunction might get thrown out mid-season.

In any case, I disagree with your analogy. This isn't ripping off a band-aid because the wound wasn't healing fast enough. This is ripping off a band-aid that was in the wrong spot after you discover that it is also poisonous. I urge you to read Richard Sander's study on affirmative action in law schools (Sander, Richard. A systemic analysis of affirmative action in American law Schools 57 Stan. L. Rev. 367 (November 2004)). Also, have a look at Thomas Sowell's chapter on affirmative action in his book Knowledge and Decisions or alternatively, read his book Affirmative Action Around the World. I think looking at some empircal data on how affirmative action really works can be helpful.

Jeremy said...

Yeah, I just re-read the article and was coming to modify my statistic when I saw your comment. It also gives no indication on the significance of previous years' rates. Basically, the article doesn't provide anywhere near enough information nor raw numbers to compute anything worthwhile.

I don't think affirmative action was the right path by any means, but I also don't think it was right to remove it until a better system was in place. I think we've been over this before. Still, the Daily sucks, so I'll check out those books.