Affirmative Action

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by JustMe, Apr 24, 2014.

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  1. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    While it's political, I think it's more so educational...I hope we can discuss it.

    What are your thoughts? I'm particularly interested in reasons to support AA in college admissions.
     
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  3. KinderCowgirl

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    I saw a commentary that made me think of it in an entirely different way. They quoted a study from the Dept of Education (done in Michigan) saying 70% of kids living in poverty under the age of 18 were minorities. When those kids apply to college, they are in all likelihood going to need financial aid. So colleges make less money off of them. It makes me wonder if that's the real impetus for this decision.

    I think everyone benefits from campuses being more diverse and I hope that colleges still try to maintain that despite this ruling.
     
  4. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    When I was in high school my family moved to an area where the schools were under court supervision for desegregation (late 90s). Every program had to be exactly 50:50 race based. I would have been unable to continue in orchestra because my joining would undo the 50:50 ratio. My family moved to a different school district because of that.

    Wether race is considered or not, someone always loses. It works both ways though. I don't know if there is a fantastic solution, but perhaps colleges should not be able to take financial aid needs into consideration?
     
  5. gr3teacher

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    Let me address it this way... half of my school is a gifted magnet program, the other half is a a community school. The community school is about 50% Hispanic, 30% African African, and 10% White/10% Asian. The gifted program is 50% white, 45% Asian, 5% Hispanic or African American. Of the 50-ish teachers, 2 are black, 2 are Hispanic, all the rest are completely white.

    I don't think people should be put in positions they don't deserve to be in... but I do often look around my school and wonder what message is being sent to minority children.
     
  6. underthesun

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    My understanding is that a lot of that need-based financial aid is provided by the federal government, however; meaning that, if one was to get subsidized loans or certain grants, the university/college would in the end receive that money. Meaning, they would still be making money off of those students, it's just that the source of the money is different.
     
  7. Nate

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    The colleges fighting for affirmative action argue that the educational climate is improved when a variety of viewpoints are expressed. The presence of minorities (whether racial/ethnic minorities or otherwise) adds value to everyone's learning experience. It's just easier to measure racial diversity than, say, the diversity of political opinion or making sure the viewpoints of the lactose intolerant are represented in the classroom.
     
  8. EdEd

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    First thing to say is that there is a difference between a goal & a quota, with a quota being "at least __% of enrollment needs to be ___% of _____." This obviously sets up a situation where it's more likely that less qualified applicants could be accepted because the quota has to be filled, whereas a goal is simply just that - a goal.

    In general, I see strengths and weaknesses, but I suppose overall I'm against it, and not really because it denies other folks opportunities. That is a disadvantage, but the main reason is that I think it hurts those supposedly benefitting from it by making their achievements less about them and more about institutional advantage. It communicates to minorities AND non-minorities that there is a likelihood that a person of color has a particular position in a school or job because of ethnicity, not merit.

    That being said, there are more subtle forms of affirmative action that I still think may be useful. For example, a college that has been predominantly white may say that - all factors being equal - it would prefer to accept more students of color. Same with hiring teachers of color at a school. However, my experience has been (in school districts at least) that race has often been used as a primary hiring reason even when a person is far less qualified or simply not qualified at all. As an example, I've experienced that - in schools where most of the kids are of a particular ethnicity - that the district prefers to hire leadership of the same ethnicity, regardless of competence. This, to me, is highly offensive to students and faculty - to assume that selection of the best person to lead the school to success should be based primarily on skin color. My experience has been that there are 2 primary reasons why this happens:

    1) It's assumed that students, parents, and the community will accept the person more based on skin color, rather than qualification,

    2) It's assumed that someone with the same skin color, even regardless of cultural background, will be more successful with discipline. This often means that they assume Black principals will be more strict than White principles, and that this characteristic is of vital importance.

    My experience has been that school leadership is about so much more than these two variables.
     
  9. Go Blue!

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    Good point. People often talk about AA as if it is a Whites vs. Minorities issue. I remember while I was at U of Michigan (where AA was/is a HUGE issue); a professor said that data proved that White women benefited the most from AA - more so than Blacks or Latinos. This is especially true, he said, when you looked at graduation rates.

    I wish I still had the data/readings from this class because this has been a really hot topic in my classroom this week.
     
  10. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    I don't really have a strong opinion towards AA. I can't form one. I see the purpose of it, but at the same time don't like someone being picked over someone else just because of the gender or race they were born into.

    So yeah, no real opinion.
     
  11. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    This is how I feel.
     
  12. 2ndTimeAround

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    I personally have lost out on $$$ due to affirmative action. As a white person I was skipped over for job offers time and time again. It appears in my area that the easiest way to avoid any criticism about race inequality is to hire black people for lower-level positions. Then you can fill the higher levels (that pay much more) with nothing but white people and never hear a word about it.

    Years ago I wanted to finish my degree by going part-time and working full-time in an office. I wanted to eventually work for the government so I applied for all of the clerical positions in local agencies that were listed. I tried for over a year. I had plenty of experience and ability for those jobs. When I would walk back into some of those agencies I noticed that every new person hired was a black woman. I finally asked one woman how she got the job. She said she just filled out the application. I asked her what kind of qualifications she needed and she listed what the job required but told me that she didn't have any of them (couldn't type, had never used Word Perfect, had not used keypads for data entry, etc.). She said it didn't matter because they trained her. When I told her I was interested she said that I probably wouldn't get a job there because they only hire black people. Which was true. Everyone in the office, except the manager, was black.

    In my fury I tried a little experiment. I filled out two identical applications. Except one had me listed as black and I used my PO Box as an address. I did this for a few positions that were open around town. EVERY SINGLE application that I sent is as a black woman got me an interview. None of the ones as a white woman did. I went to one interview and did not have but maybe three minutes in before I was told that they already had someone in mind for the job. @@

    I think people should be chosen for jobs and for college admissions with absolutely no consideration of race or gender.

    Someone who thinks they are progressive or PC by hiring a minority for a position based on his/her status is just as prejudiced as someone that refuses to do so.
     
  13. comaba

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    Unfortunately, when left to their own devices, people with Donald Sterling's perceptions cannot look past color and will hire/admit accordingly.

    In the article, Sotomayor mentioned legacy admissions. Since the ban was upheld, those should be banned as well.

    I support affirmative action, but I understand the other side of the issue, too.
     
  14. JustMe

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    Thanks, everyone. I'm just trying to sort out my thoughts and it helps to hear from others.
     
  15. stargirl

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    2ndtimearound, interesting that you say that. I remember some time ago a friend telling me that after getting no response to a job application for local government jobs, he tried sending it again, this time identifying himself as AA (he is white). Since it was a government job, it just had to be approved by the human resources before being passed along to the various government offices. Suddenly he got calls from offices expressing interest in setting up interviews. The offices themselves had nothing to do with any sort of "quota" system, it all had to do with the HR department; they didn't care who they interviewed as long as the candidates were qualified and assumed the HR people were simply weeding out non-candidates. Once he was actually able to get interviews, he did not have a problem being offered a job (which he was definitely qualified for).
    Not that I necessarily advocate an approach like that, but I did understand his frustration/desperation.
     
  16. JustMe

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    How interesting about those indicating they are AA on applications to get an interview.

    It takes a couple years for someone to get an interview where my husband works. Then there is a test and all-day interview process. It's frustrating, then, that a black woman was hired who had never even applied or expressed interest in the company and didn't have to go through the typical hiring process. Additionally, she doesn't have the required college or career experience.
     
  17. gr3teacher

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    I'm not going to say this isn't true. I'm just going to point out that the research suggests the exact opposite is more common... that filling out an application with a "black" name makes it much less likely that you'll be called for an application than with a "white" name.
     
  18. JustMe

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    I'm glad you didn't say it isn't true...since it is. I wouldn't doubt what you say is true, but it doesn't make the case I offered any less frustrating.
     
  19. gr3teacher

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    Agreed. I think any time decisions are made solely by race (or gender), it can be frustrating. The problem is that for every black person that gets a job because of their race, many others are denied a job because of their race. There's really a point where it needs to be asked what the lesser evil is.
     
  20. gr3teacher

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  21. physteach

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    The way AA is supposed to work is that with identical qualifications, a non-White candidate will be given preference. I'm not sure why it is surprising that with companies trying to increase diversity, this is exactly what happened.
     
  22. KinderCowgirl

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    This is college admissions though. I'm not sure the playing field is level for minorities-simply because I'm not sure they get the same education opportunities.
     
  23. 2ndTimeAround

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    The research I saw about this was for upper-level jobs. Not even middle management.

    And, if I remember correctly, it was more about the names than the race. That a Sarah that was black would have a better chance getting a job than a Sh'niya'koa.
     
  24. 2ndTimeAround

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    Should have read ahead!
     
  25. 2ndTimeAround

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    True. In my area those that are qualified for college are more likely to be white or Asian.

    If I looked at 100 students at graduation, 50 white and 50 black, 20 white students might truly be prepared for university-level work. Less than 10 black students would be. The majority of black students would not be able to get past the essay portion for admission.

    This is a fault of society though, not the university. Education is valued far more in the white segments of society than the black. Just as it is valued more in the Asian than in the white. When you have generation after generation not believing education is important, children just aren't as successful as their counterparts. Why should a university lower its admission standards just so a quota (or goal) can be met?
     
  26. KinderCowgirl

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    It's not necessarily lowering their standards though. I worked in a college admissions office and they would look at applications with exactly the same stats-everyone had 4.0 averages, everyone had high SAT's, everyone had extra-curricular activities-which do they choose? They wanted to ensure a diverse campus.
     
  27. 2ndTimeAround

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    So the diversity between the students should come from the essays written, not the color of their skin.

    Why is diversity a good thing on campus? So the student body can get a variety of view points during class discussion? Wouldn't an essay tell you more about that than a checked box?
     
  28. KinderCowgirl

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    You'd be surprised at how much the essays are the same as well. They all have some heart-breaking event that changed their lives. There were very few "interesting" ones. I think the interviews probably told them more than anything, but many students didn't interview.
     
  29. JustMe

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    Key there is IDENTICAL QUALIFICATIONS. Unfortunately, I know of a couple circumstances where a much less qualified applicant (or non-applicant as in the case I shared already) are given positions solely because of their minority status.

    Since this is about college admissions, I have to ask myself if it's okay to accept a minority student over a student with a better application in order to create diversity and or give those minority students an opportunity they might not otherwise ever get. We stress so much taking higher level high school courses and doing various other things to make college applicationsstand out...so it doesn't necessarily sit well for a student to do those things but have another student who didn't get in over them.
     
  30. comaba

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    I don't know if this is the case in your husband's situation, but sometimes this occurs when a company has made no genuine efforts to diversify through legitimate avenues, and is then faced with losing tax incentives or federal contracts because of their lack of diversity.
    I don't know how I feel about this. There's unfairness either way.

    I will say that the students I teach do not have the same opportunities for higher level courses in either middle school or high school that are offered in the community where I live. They also do not have nearly as many extracurricular activities to choose from. The problem is systemic, and would be better solved before the kids reach university.
     
  31. Lurker

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    Another interesting thing. I've known a lot of Vietnamese and Korean people. They will name their child, if born in American, William Lah (Lah being the lastname). At home, they will give him a name from their region. Say their child was born in their country, they will put the name (and sometimes legally change it) William Lah on school forms. I think this is with most cultures living in American. I might call my children Tiny and Cutie at home, but I wouldn't put that on professional forms in this country. (Before anyone asks, I've seen AA children with names like Lil and Delicious but spelt differently. That's not an African name.)
     
  32. a2z

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    College admissions officers get a letter from the schools stating the courses offered within the school itself. Students are compared to what is offered and what other students in the school take. So, if a school only offers 3 AP courses and 40% of the kids choose to take it, but the candidate did not do so, it would look bad for the candidate. It does not matter if the neighboring school offers 20 AP courses and 80% of the students take at least 1 AP course.

    College are now comparing students to what is offered to them, not what others have because they know there is a huge difference between what is offered at schools.
     
  33. KinderCowgirl

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    Yes, and I think college is preparing kids for the real world. Most people have to work with people from different ethnicities out in the real world-they don't always have experience with that in high school.
     
  34. Bunnie

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    While I get the whole AA aspect to establishing diversity I don't think it should be that they are accepted just because they are a minority. Colleges have criteria for letting students in. For most it's a numbers game of grades and SAT scores. Some more prestigious schools require an interview and extra curriculars. I see the process being similar as interviewing for a teaching position. There are certain requirements candidates need to meet. Then after the interview a school decides if the candidate is a good fit.

    Let's face it regardless of what students where offered in terms of AP classes every high school student has a GPA. If your grades are bad and you want to get into a good school just because of AA you are doing yourself a disservice. If you couldn't make the grade in HS what makes you think you are prepared for college?

    I'm considered a minority and I didn't get into a 4 year school initially. I remember my cousin telling me that there are programs in place to get me in because of my race and tried to sway me into applying into them. Of course I brushed her off and didn't go to to college for 2 years and enrolled in Community College eventually. Most people called my CC "13th grade" a lot of the friends I started with dropped out. One was kicked out of her state school and had to attend CC and never graduated. I made it through barely reaching the minimum GPA to graduate. All my friends who started with me also had worst GPAs than me in high school. It was a place where I learned to appreciate education. Had I gone to a 4 year school I would have flunked and not been prepared. So should I have gone the root of using AA to get in? No. Mind you I live in one of the most diverse areas in the country.

    I don't think AA is helping anyone in situations where there are requirements and needed skills to apply to a school or job.
     
  35. vateacher757

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    Wow I jsut read through a few of these posts and it is what I thought......the problem is many people think AA means letting UNQUALIFIED or LESS THAN QUALIFIED Minorities in or given a job........that is NOT what AA is all about.

    AA is in place to make sure the playing feel is level and equal that QUALIFIED MINORITIES are NOT passed over and are accepted just as QUALiFIED whites are.

    It would be interesting to know how things would look if the race block came off of ALL applications interesting to see who gets hired/promoted and get accepted into certain colleges....and in some cases just not even put a name on the application because that too can many times let a person know if they are a minority applicant.

    If we are going to get rid of AA acceptance into colleges lets then do away with the "legacy" acceptance into college.
     
  36. vateacher757

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    I bet many minorities can tell you more stories of the exact opposite...where they were the more qualified and were passed over for someone less qualified due to the color of their skin, who they knew or legacy.
     
  37. orangetea

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    Agreed.
     
  38. a2z

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    I don't think anyone said that AA means letting UNQUALIFIED or LESS THAN QUALIFIED minorities have a job. What they are saying that, in practice, that is often what happens. This was especially true when there is a quota system in place.

    The practice that many see is no different than many of the underhanded things that happen due to other laws such as NCLB. Look at how suspension rates dropped drastically when they were used against schools. Magically the rates dropped. Schools that use test prep for teaching instead of teaching. This is another unintended consequence of a law.

    So, what people end up seeing is the poorly administered practice to try to fulfill a law that has consequences with it. What do you do if you don't have enough qualified black applicants to fill the positions and you must have a certain percentage? Don't grow your business? No, you hire less than qualified applicants to fill the slots to stay out of trouble.
     
  39. vateacher757

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    The bolded - that is a perception - people think the quota system as it is called means hire/enroll a certain number of blacks regardless, it does not mean that........if you can show(data) that you tried to enroll and/or hire but you did not get any or enough qualified then your hiring practices and enrollment practices are NOT discriminatory.

    There was a time when qualified blacks were passed over and of course non qualified but the employer and/or college could not show data as to why that person was passed over.

    If you have never walked in those shoes then you can not understand how it feels to have a feeling that because of the color of your skin there is a 99.9% chance you will be passed over.....others don't walk into a job interview, complete an application and in the pit of their stomach have a feeling of rejection.

    As far as suspensions - that is another area that in most cases were handled disproportionately in the fact that when you align the same act up against the 2 different parties generally the harsher punishment was given out to the minority......that even happens in the law.

    Just my 2 cents on the subject.
     
  40. JustMe

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    I understand what you're saying in that if companies can show they attempted to enroll or hire but couldn't then their practices are not discriminatory. But companies still don't want to "look" bad such as in the case at my husband's place of employment and will act accordingly.

    And yes, AA is not meant to allow the hiring or enrolling of less qualified applicants...but it happens. As to your response than many more minorities can tell you stories opposite than the one I shared, I understand and believe that. But it doesn't change anything for the others to get passed over for a job. They shouldn't have to jusg accept it just as minorities shouldn't.
     
  41. waterfall

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    I have a name that is extremely common in the African American community. I've never met another white person that has the same name. I have always considered it an asset when applying for jobs, thinking that even the first appearance of "diversity" may get my resume noticed. Districts around here make it very clear that they specifically seek out minority candidates. "Minority only" job fairs are held every year, and even at job fairs for "everyone," many districts will literally post that they are looking for minority applicants as a top priority. My last district got themselves in hot water after several board members discussed race in hiring in a public forum. One literally said that they needed to stop hiring white candidates because they don't understand the neighborhood, and then cited this as the reason the schools were failing. Several other board members enthusiastically agreed.
     
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