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Affirmative Action’s Failure in Higher Education

Posted by Steve Markowitz on August 25, 2017

In the 1970s concerns grew that people of color were inappropriately represented in America’s institutions of higher education.  Social engineers and the judicial branch of government determined that this inequity could be addressed by programs that became known as Affirmative Action.  While the inequity was real, evidence indicates the corrective actions have failed.

The New York Times published an article whose headline speaks of Affirmative-Action’s failure:  “Even With Affirmative Action, Blacks and Hispanics Are More Underrepresented at Top Colleges than 35 Years Ago”.  The article includes data indicating that since 1980 the percentage of African-American students in America’s top 100 schools has remain “virtually unchanged”.  The Times indicated, however, that there have been gains for African-American and Hispanic in “less selective colleges”.

The Times only offered snippets of potential reasons behind the Affirmative-Action’s failure in America’s top 100 schools.  This includes what the Times refers to as “equity issues that begin earlier” and “distinct disadvantage to begin with”.  A deeper dive into these issues could have been informative and point towards corrective actions.  Did the Times avoid such discussion in fear of who may be to blame for the failure of the Affirmative Action Programs?

The Times indicated that the number of white students enrolled in the top 100 universities has declined since 1980.  During this same period there has been an increase in the number of Asian students.  The reasons behind these changes deserve study, but were ignored by the Times.

Social engineering is at best a soft science with a record of success that has been spotty.  It is often riddled with crony-capitalism.  Programs that fail to successfully meet the goals set up when they were created need to be canceled or radically changed.

Social engineering programs should be judges based on results, not emotion.  Programs that have proven successful should be considered for expansion.  Those that have failed should be eliminated.  Unfortunately this type of results-based performance evaluation are rarely used by social engineers and their partners in the government.

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