Affirmative Action Under Trump/Sessions

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GE Morton
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Re: Affirmative Action Under Trump/Sessions

Post by GE Morton » August 11th, 2017, 11:55 am

LuckyR wrote:You are, of course, free to deny the existence (and thus the importance) of groups. And if groups didn't exist, no one could argue with your commentary.
Now, now. I certainly did not deny that groups exist. Of course they exist --- by definition: "The group consisting of all bald-headed men with Nordic ancestry born in the US since 1950." There, I've just defined a group, which certainly exists. But I cannot proceed to reify it into a moral agent with interests and goals, which can suffer harms or reap benefits, except to the extent those attributes are true of at least some of its members.

Propositions imputing an attribute of personhood to a group must be reducible to a set of propositions about members of the group, or it is meaningless. Assuming otherwise is called the "fallacy of composition," or what Gilbert Ryle called a "category mistake" --- assuming that a subject belonging to one ontological category belongs to another. Groups belong to a different ontological order from individuals, and take on a different set of properties. For example, if we say, "Utah has a population of 3 million," we are making a statement about the group (consisting of the citizens of Utah), not its members --- no citizen of Utah has a population of 3 million. But if we say, "Utah is a Mormon state," then we are speaking of the members of that group, and the proposition is true only if it is true of at least some of its members.

So to claim that a certain policy is "unfair" to a group, you must show that it is unfair to Alfie, Bruno, Chauncey, or some other member(s) of that group, and explain why it is unfair to each of them. Unless you can do that reduction your claim is incoherent and thus meaningless. If you do the reduction, and it turns out the policy is not unfair to any of the members, then your claim is false.
Alas, outside of Philosophy Forums, they kind of exist and actually occupy a not insignificant amount of time and energy among various entities (government, corporations, communities etc).
Indeed they do. That is an artifact of populist democracy, in which politicians define and pander to groups in order to win votes. But I'm not sure of your point: Are you suggesting that if a certain type of fallacious reasoning becomes common enough, it ceases to be fallacious?
And yes, University admissions as you correctly state have an element of subjectivity to them. Sorry, that's the way it is. Your use of the word should is kind of cute, though.
Hmm. I don't think I'm using that term any differently than anyone else participating in this debate. The question is, "Should governments force universities to practice 'affirmative action'?" Is it not? That question is, of course, a moral question, and moral propositions are characterized by "shoulds" and "oughts."
I think there are a couple of misconceptions that drive this subject away from logical evaluation. The first is that becoming a lawyer, doctor, or a Harvard or Stanford graduate, is so darn difficult that the fact that say only 4% of applicants get accepted, means that over 90% of applicants are "unqualified". The opposite is true. A substantial minority of applicants are perfectly qualified, say 35 - 45%, about ten times more, than the size of the first year class. Huge amounts of perfectly qualified applicants get rejected . . . Let me put it a different way, if the med school magically got funding for double the number of students, they would not have to dip into the "unqualified" pool to fill the class.
You're begging the question again. You're setting some arbitrary criteria for being "qualified," then pointing out that not all "qualified" applicants are accepted. That is irrelevant; your "qualified" threshold is meaningless. If the number of student slots is limited, then the school should select the best qualified, based on objective criteria. Ultimately, the criterion for determining whether an applicant was deemed "fully qualified" by the school is whether or not he was admitted.
The other misconception is that high GPAs and test scores, the darlings of shallow evaluations of the subject matter because of their ability to be stratified easily, predict success in higher learning, once the first weeding out process has been performed. Or to describe it numerically, you can show a difference in success between the top quintile and the last, but not between the first and the second . . . Given these two realities, it is completely reasonable that an applicant with acceptable but second tier numbers (gpa and test scores) could legitimately outrank (due to superior research, essay, letters of recommendation and especially interview) a second student with better numbers. And we all agree that the higher ranked applicant deserves to be accepted first, right?
Yes, it is possible that a "second tier" applicant may prove to be a better student and, eventually, a more talented or productive professional than some "first tier" students. But the odds are against it. I.e., if you admit 100 "second tier" applicants and thereby exclude 100 "first tier" applicants, you will, almost certainly, end up with a less talented and productive cohort of professionals. BTW, test scores and GPAs are not the only objective data available to admissions offices. Letters of recommendation from teachers or other qualified professionals are reasonably trustworthy, and such things as awards won (at science fairs, writing competitions, art exhibits, etc.) and publication of stories, poems, essays are also predictive of academic success. Interviews are not only subjective, they're useless. Shy students don't do well in them, and clever students will know how to tell the interviewer what he wants to hear. They are unlikely to reveal any relevant information about the student not evident in the objective record.

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LuckyR
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Re: Affirmative Action Under Trump/Sessions

Post by LuckyR » August 11th, 2017, 10:57 pm

GE Morton wrote:
LuckyR wrote:I think there are a couple of misconceptions that drive this subject away from logical evaluation. The first is that becoming a lawyer, doctor, or a Harvard or Stanford graduate, is so darn difficult that the fact that say only 4% of applicants get accepted, means that over 90% of applicants are "unqualified". The opposite is true. A substantial minority of applicants are perfectly qualified, say 35 - 45%, about ten times more, than the size of the first year class. Huge amounts of perfectly qualified applicants get rejected . . . Let me put it a different way, if the med school magically got funding for double the number of students, they would not have to dip into the "unqualified" pool to fill the class.
You're begging the question again. You're setting some arbitrary criteria for being "qualified," then pointing out that not all "qualified" applicants are accepted. That is irrelevant; your "qualified" threshold is meaningless. If the number of student slots is limited, then the school should select the best qualified, based on objective criteria. Ultimately, the criterion for determining whether an applicant was deemed "fully qualified" by the school is whether or not he was admitted.
The other misconception is that high GPAs and test scores, the darlings of shallow evaluations of the subject matter because of their ability to be stratified easily, predict success in higher learning, once the first weeding out process has been performed. Or to describe it numerically, you can show a difference in success between the top quintile and the last, but not between the first and the second . . . Given these two realities, it is completely reasonable that an applicant with acceptable but second tier numbers (gpa and test scores) could legitimately outrank (due to superior research, essay, letters of recommendation and especially interview) a second student with better numbers. And we all agree that the higher ranked applicant deserves to be accepted first, right?
Yes, it is possible that a "second tier" applicant may prove to be a better student and, eventually, a more talented or productive professional than some "first tier" students. But the odds are against it. I.e., if you admit 100 "second tier" applicants and thereby exclude 100 "first tier" applicants, you will, almost certainly, end up with a less talented and productive cohort of professionals. BTW, test scores and GPAs are not the only objective data available to admissions offices. Letters of recommendation from teachers or other qualified professionals are reasonably trustworthy, and such things as awards won (at science fairs, writing competitions, art exhibits, etc.) and publication of stories, poems, essays are also predictive of academic success. Interviews are not only subjective, they're useless. Shy students don't do well in them, and clever students will know how to tell the interviewer what he wants to hear. They are unlikely to reveal any relevant information about the student not evident in the objective record.
Okay. I tried to cut you a break by giving you an "out" through my use of the wording "misconception". Merely repeating (practically verbatim) the misconceptions as if they were correct, doesn't magically make them carry any weight. For example, there are cases in the literature where a University unexpectedly got late funding for more students, they accepted students off of the wait list who otherwise would have ended up rejected. Guess what? Those students off of the wait list did EXACTLY THE SAME by graduation day, as the very top students who were accepted. Thus why it is well known that many more students can excel in any program than there are positions.

As to your attitude on interviewing applicants, better minds than either of us have decided through millennia of experience that interviews are not only crucial, but typically the primary deciding factor when choosing (as Universities do each and every year) among huge numbers of completely qualified applicants. Name any position in any field at any level worth having that does NOT use interviews of some type in the selection process.

Perhaps I can clarify my use of the word "qualified". If you find through experience that historically the top 35% of applicants will always graduate from your school but you as administrator cannot predict based on entrance GPA and test scores among the top 35% of applicants, where in the final graduation class rankings (four years later) the students will end up, would you agree that the entire top 35% are qualified?

OK, let's say funds are slashed so you can only admit 4% of students. You have to use something to select the 4%, it doesn't make sense to use GPAs and test scores, since they don't predict which students among the top 35% will make the best graduates, so you use something else, let's say interviews (or anything else for that matter). This is a pretty close approximation to the situation of many elite programs.
"As usual... it depends."

GE Morton
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Re: Affirmative Action Under Trump/Sessions

Post by GE Morton » August 12th, 2017, 12:08 pm

LuckyR wrote:For example, there are cases in the literature where a University unexpectedly got late funding for more students, they accepted students off of the wait list who otherwise would have ended up rejected. Guess what? Those students off of the wait list did EXACTLY THE SAME by graduation day, as the very top students who were accepted. Thus why it is well known that many more students can excel in any program than there are positions.
Well, your second statement there --- that more students can excel than there are slots --- is surely true. But that is an argument for additional funding, not for affirmative action. The first statement, however, requires some clarification. First, what was the difference between the mean GPAs and test scores of the two groups? If it was trivial, then the result you cite is not surprising. E.g., if the lowest GPA among the accepted students was 3.5, and the lowest among the wait list students later accepted was 3.4, then the academic performance differences will likely also be trivial. But the school will have to draw the line somewhere. If the school has slots for n students, then it should draw that line at the student with the nth highest GPA. (I'm simplifying; I realize that other other factors also contribute admission "points").

The second question is, "Did exactly the same" --- in what way? By what measure? Graduation rate? Final GPA? Grad school acceptance? Later performance in a profession? If the differences in admission points were insignificant, then I'd expect the differences in those results to be insignificant also. The differences in GPAs and test scores between students admitted under "normal" criteria and those admitted per "affirmative action" policies, however, are NOT trivial. Allan Bakke, of the famous Bakke v. University of California Supreme Court case, ". . . had a college grade point average (GPA) of 3.46 and an undergraduate science GPA of 3.44 . . . By contrast, the average 'disadvantaged track' admittee in 1973 had a college GPA of 2.88 and an undergraduate science GPA of 2.62 . . . Bakke’s Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores put him at the 97th percentile (Science); 96th percentile (Verbal); 94th percentile (Quantitative); and 72nd percentile (General Information). On the other hand, the average 'disadvantaged track' admittee in 1973 had MCAT scores in the 35th percentile (Science); 46th percentile (Verbal); 24th percentile (Quantitative); and 33rd percentile (General Information)."

http://www.heritage.org/civil-rights/re ... ampus-hurt

Mean differences in SAT scores of white and black students admitted to three top schools in 2005 was 230 points (old scale). As a result " . . . about half of black college students rank in the bottom 20 percent of their classes, black law school graduates are four times as likely to fail bar exams . . ."

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/2 ... verbruggen
As to your attitude on interviewing applicants, better minds than either of us have decided through millennia of experience that interviews are not only crucial, but typically the primary deciding factor when choosing (as Universities do each and every year) among huge numbers of completely qualified applicants. Name any position in any field at any level worth having that does NOT use interviews of some type in the selection process.
Interviews are ubiquitous in workplace hiring, but there they serve some purpose and make some sense: employers try to determine whether a prospective employee will "fit in" to the culture of that particular shop or company. Managers, who typically conduct the interviews and make the final hiring decisions for employees they will supervise, also want to assess whether they personally will have a congenial relationship with the employee.

In the workplace employees must work together and get along. That is not the case in a university. Every student is working on his own, pursuing his own educational and career goals; there is, for the most part, no need for cooperation and comity among students. Social relationships, if they develop, are extracurricular and incidental. Nor is it the proper business of a public school to foster or attempt to preserve any particular culture or "atmosphere," beyond a general insistence on tolerance. And I doubt that the use of interviews for college admissions is a product of "better minds." Private schools may use them because do wish to foster a particular culture --- church-affiliated schools, for example, may wish to admit students receptive to their religious message. Public schools use them because they are traditional --- or because the faculty and administrators ARE trying to foster a particular culture, likely a lefty one. Which they have no business doing.

I said earlier that interviews are unlikely to reveal any relevant or useful information about a student not evident in the objective data. If you disagree, please cite some examples of such useful information.
Perhaps I can clarify my use of the word "qualified". If you find through experience that historically the top 35% of applicants will always graduate from your school but you as administrator cannot predict based on entrance GPA and test scores among the top 35% of applicants, where in the final graduation class rankings (four years later) the students will end up, would you agree that the entire top 35% are qualified?
As I said before, the question for the school is not which applicants are "qualified," per some arbitrary criteria, but which are the BEST qualified.
OK, let's say funds are slashed so you can only admit 4% of students. You have to use something to select the 4%, it doesn't make sense to use GPAs and test scores, since they don't predict which students among the top 35% will make the best graduates . . . .
That is not the case. The test scores and GPAs DO predict that (not perfectly, of course). The top 4% of applicants, per test scores and GPAs, will likely make the best graduates. You're indulging in a 4-term fallacy there. Your 35% are those who "will always graduate." The 4% are "the best graduates." Not all who may graduate will be the "best graduates." And, presumably, the latter is the goal.

Prothero
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Re: Affirmative Action Under Trump/Sessions

Post by Prothero » August 13th, 2017, 6:55 pm

We can pretend that all public high schools are equal opportunity venues for getting a good education. That facts would not support that. The way public schools are funded (largely by local property taxes) ensures that poor districts spend less per pupil and do not attract the best teachers (despite many notable exceptions). So we can suggest that the race is fair and all students start out from an equal point but the evidence is socioeconomic status (which correlates well with race), educated parents or at least parents who value education, the presence of reading materials in the home and parents who read to you are not equally distributed and all of the social science evidence and data indicates otherwise.

We also can pretend that a medical school class or law school class composed predominantly of Asian-American students (the group with the highest GPA and LSAT, MCAT scores) would go on to be the best doctors and lawyers and best serve the larger community which has a much more diverse ethnic and socioeconomic composition. There are studies about where graduates practice and which communities they decide serve and not unexpectedly those from minority and poorer backgrounds are more likely to return to those communities to practice. We can also pretend that high GPA's and MCAT scores are predictors of the "best" doctors but anyone involved in teaching or graduate medical education will tell you, empathy, communication skills and the ability to inspire confidence and relate to your patient are much more important. In the age of the internet; memorization and regurgitation skills are of even less importance. Once again there are studies of the professional success of students admitted under "diversity" or "affirmative action" programs and there is nothing to suggest they experience less professional success or deliver poorer quality care or become worse lawyers.
What is the best predictor of college success? SAT, ACT scores, well no. GPA turns out to be better regardless of the quality of the school perhaps because it indicates students concerned about their education and willingness to work. It turns out extracurricular involvement is a good predictor. The most predictive factor in college graduation turns out to be the financial status of your family.

Then there is the opinion of a large number (I think the majority) of educators and university administrative personnel all of whom value diversity on the campus and support the utilization of factors other than GPA and test scores in the admissions process.
We are not likely to agree on a solution, here. The public at large is divided and several states have outlawed quotas or affirmative action or even diversity as an admissions factor. The data indicates this results in a markedly diminished number of minority or financially challenged students in the entering classes of elite California schools and has the same result elsewhere. I don't know of any school which has an entirely "blind" or "automatic" admissions process based solely on GPA and SAT or ACT scores. You would have to give applicants a number, remove their name and sex, and let a computer pick the entering class based just on numbers. I don't know of any educator who supports such a system.

Frankly, I am what most conservatives would call a liberal progressive in derisive terms. I think income inequality is a major problem in our society. I think a society whose professional class, educated class and financially well to do class roughly represents the makeup of the society as a whole is better off and I think efforts to achieve that are both well intentioned and wise.

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Hereandnow
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Re: Affirmative Action Under Trump/Sessions

Post by Hereandnow » August 13th, 2017, 7:20 pm

Prothero:
Is it good for the society or the future if all the doctors, lawyers, CEO's, and professors, etc. are privileged whites? Don't we as a society have some obligation to acknowledge the results of decades of open discrimination?
Privileged whites?? It's not the having of too many whites, but having too many Asians, which is the concern these days. See te recent interview with the Indian student who got in to a great med school by pretending is was black (he had to shave his head) and thereby having his 3 point gpa sufficient for getting in. Imagine if affirmative action of some kind were not in place: The very best of Asia, from Hong Kong, Korea (where education is like breathing), India; all the very best, the geniuses who are not just outstanding in their communities, but in their country, who have as their dream nothing greater than going to MIT or Harvard. It is not just the blacks who need protection, it's the whites and everyone else. For these foreign students (who come from the best families and can afford the tuition) are more competitive than their American counterparts (being the cream of a very large crop). the outcome would be that Asians would come to dominate in the the best universities. I think they already do.

On the up side, America flourishes: Most stay in the US, are offered lots of money and take the the highest paying jobs. Good for the economy (imagine taking their talents elsewhere). Good for multiculturalism as the country needs more color, more political clout in the hands the educated to rid itself of a legacy of conservative stupidity. The down side is......hey: where's the down side?

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Re: Affirmative Action Under Trump/Sessions

Post by Prothero » August 13th, 2017, 9:10 pm

Hereandnow wrote:On the up side, America flourishes: Most stay in the US, are offered lots of money and take the the highest paying jobs. Good for the economy (imagine taking their talents elsewhere). Good for multiculturalism as the country needs more color, more political clout in the hands the educated to rid itself of a legacy of conservative stupidity. The down side is......hey: where's the down side?
The downside is an elite (financial, technical) which does not reflect the cultural and ethnic makeup of the population and an increased degree of social, political and financial inequity. Humans are unfortunately not color blind or culture blind and such inequities invariably generate resentment and social unrest. Such inequities are in fact a major cause of trouble and violence throughout the world, when a minority rules over a powerless majority (take countless African or Middle Eastern countries as examples). There is also the problem of assuming that GPA;s and test scores actually determine the best, especially true for doctors and lawyers perhaps more justified for mathematicians and engineers.

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Re: Affirmative Action Under Trump/Sessions

Post by Hereandnow » August 13th, 2017, 10:52 pm

Prothero:
The downside is an elite (financial, technical) which does not reflect the cultural and ethnic makeup of the population and an increased degree of social, political and financial inequity. Humans are unfortunately not color blind or culture blind and such inequities invariably generate resentment and social unrest. Such inequities are in fact a major cause of trouble and violence throughout the world, when a minority rules over a powerless majority (take countless African or Middle Eastern countries as examples). There is also the problem of assuming that GPA;s and test scores actually determine the best, especially true for doctors and lawyers perhaps more justified for mathematicians and engineers.
Quite right. Only, I am in favor of greater representation from Asians, and i like the cultural mix. I think diversity makes America great again. The irony here is that, affirmative action is usually thought of in terms of a black's complaint against whites, not an Asian's complaint against blacks.

But no, the initiative itself, that of affirmative action, which is to bring deprived minorities into educative possibilities that they would otherwise be denied, and thereby foster a society that is more inclusive in terms of wealth and success is a worthy one. Though there are two sides to this, and the opposition's is not to be taken lightly. Two drawbacks to affirmative action. One, as Clarence Thomas will tell you, is that is maligns the dignity of the achievements of those who are advantaged; the other is, obviously, it denies advantage to the meritoriously deserving, which in turn, one could argue, is not good for anything.

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Re: Affirmative Action Under Trump/Sessions

Post by Prothero » August 14th, 2017, 12:22 am

Hereandnow wrote:Quite right. Only, I am in favor of greater representation from Asians, and i like the cultural mix. I think diversity makes America great again. The irony here is that, affirmative action is usually thought of in terms of a black's complaint against whites, not an Asian's complaint against blacks.

But no, the initiative itself, that of affirmative action, which is to bring deprived minorities into educative possibilities that they would otherwise be denied, and thereby foster a society that is more inclusive in terms of wealth and success is a worthy one. Though there are two sides to this, and the opposition's is not to be taken lightly. Two drawbacks to affirmative action. One, as Clarence Thomas will tell you, is that is maligns the dignity of the achievements of those who are advantaged; the other is, obviously, it denies advantage to the meritoriously deserving, which in turn, one could argue, is not good for anything.
Actually Asians have a complaint against all other ethnic groups. They have to have much higher GPA and scores to get admitted to elite universities and professional schools than any other group. I acknowledge the difficulty of the subject and the fact that well intentioned and well informed individuals will reach different conclusions.
I just am biased that particularly a population of doctors and lawyers which better represent the makeup of the population will better serve that population and that such a diverse class of professionals will better serve the society at large as well. I am also of the opinion that the difference in GPA and test scores does not indicate the superiority of one ethnic group but instead represents unequal opportunity and preparation and so called pure merit (empirical) admissions policies will only perpetuate those inequities.

GE Morton
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Re: Affirmative Action Under Trump/Sessions

Post by GE Morton » August 14th, 2017, 2:21 am

[
Prothero wrote:We can pretend that all public high schools are equal opportunity venues for getting a good education. That facts would not support that. The way public schools are funded (largely by local property taxes) ensures that poor districts spend less per pupil and do not attract the best teachers (despite many notable exceptions).
You're right that not all public schools are equal opportunity venues. But I'm mystified as to why you think they can be or should be. What other goods or services produced or offered by diverse humans are equal? Not all restaurants are equal either; nor are all hotels, football teams, or auto repair shops. And surely you know by now that pouring more money into schools does little or nothing to improve them. Per pupil spending by public schools has tripled (in constant dollars) since 1970, but student performance has not improved a whit.

https://object.cato.org/sites/cato.org/ ... a746_2.pdf

The Washington, DC school system spends about $29,000 per pupil per year, yet ". . . 83 percent of the eighth graders in these schools were not 'proficient' in reading and 81 percent were not 'proficient' in math."

http://www.cnsnews.com/commentary/teren ... nt-reading

Catholic schools spend about half the US average per pupil as public schools (~$6000 v. ~$12,000), yet their graduates consistently outperform public school students on standardized tests.

https://www.ncea.org/NCEA/Proclaim/News ... _Tsts.aspx
So we can suggest that the race is fair and all students start out from an equal point . . .
Education is not a footrace and "fairness" does not require that everyone start from an equal point. That will never be the case; the factors that contribute to academic performance are distributed along a bell curve, like virtually all traits of all living species. "Fairness" only requires that each student be allowed to play the hand he is dealt. It does not require stacking the deck to favor some players.
. . . but the evidence is socioeconomic status (which correlates well with race), educated parents or at least parents who value education, the presence of reading materials in the home and parents who read to you are not equally distributed and all of the social science evidence and data indicates otherwise.
I agree. And just how do you imagine pouring more money into the schools serving these children will change those factors?
We also can pretend that a medical school class or law school class composed predominantly of Asian-American students (the group with the highest GPA and LSAT, MCAT scores) would go on to be the best doctors and lawyers and best serve the larger community which has a much more diverse ethnic and socioeconomic composition. There are studies about where graduates practice and which communities they decide serve and not unexpectedly those from minority and poorer backgrounds are more likely to return to those communities to practice.
Are the residents of those communities better off being treated by a neighborhood doctor who is "one of their own" but graduated in the bottom 20% of his medical school class, or going across town to an Asian doctor who graduated in the top 10%?
We can also pretend that high GPA's and MCAT scores are predictors of the "best" doctors but anyone involved in teaching or graduate medical education will tell you, empathy, communication skills and the ability to inspire confidence and relate to your patient are much more important.[
Yes, those platitudes are often recited. But if you're diagnosed with a brain tumor, will you seek out surgeon who will empathize with you and with whom you can relate, or one with a strong track record performing that type of surgery?
I think income inequality is a major problem in our society.
Humans, like all other animals, are unequal in virtually every meaurable trait. Apart from the envy those inequalities may arouse and the bad behavior that sometimes results, what problem do you see with it?

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Re: Affirmative Action Under Trump/Sessions

Post by Hereandnow » August 14th, 2017, 9:50 am

G.E. Morton:

Per pupil spending by public schools has tripled (in constant dollars) since 1970, but student performance has not improved a whit.
AN where did that spending go? Are the classrooms smaller? And most importantly, does this increase in funding translate into more time in the classroom, in an explicitly proeducational environment? It is the "implicit" education students are receiving that in their daily life learning world that keeps them from making a meaningful step out of structural poverty and ignorance. What good are better facilities, e.g., if when the school bell rings there is nothing to support the value and discipline of knowing and learning?
My thinking is that in the US crime and poverty and racial issues could be dramatically cleared away in a single generation, but it would take something this country cannot imagine: Twelve hour school days, many more teachers and much smaller classrooms. With the exception of the latter two, how do you think Korea does it? Are they all geniuses? Not a chance. They simply live education, in a culture of education. It is not unusual to see at 11 pm middle school students pouring out of buses after an entire day of studying in after school institutions.

You mention the Washington school system. I wonder what happens after school. Do kids go home to an environment of educated people, modeling and exemplifying language and behavior that presents a meaningful alternative to the culture of inertia in their midst, on the bus and in the street, and at home? This is where values are born, and the only way to bring rel educational reform is time: time spent among people who are literate, engaged. And this would cost a fantastic fortune.

Money in itself is not enough. Odd way to put it, but we need the least advantaged, the ones at issue here, in, say Washington DC, to give up their children to the an educational system that is willing and funded enough keep them for most of the day.

But Americans would never go for the Korean lifestyle, and this is their failing.

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Re: Affirmative Action Under Trump/Sessions

Post by GE Morton » August 14th, 2017, 9:28 pm

Prothero wrote: I just am biased that particularly a population of doctors and lawyers which better represent the makeup of the population will better serve that population and that such a diverse class of professionals will better serve the society at large as well.
Well, you say you are "biased" to that view, so perhaps you have no reasons for holding it. But if you do have reasons I'd like to hear them.
I am also of the opinion that the difference in GPA and test scores does not indicate the superiority of one ethnic group but instead represents unequal opportunity and preparation and so called pure merit (empirical) admissions policies will only perpetuate those inequities.
GPAs and test scores do not indicate the superiority of any group. They only indicate the superiority, or lack of it, of the applicants submitting them.

BTW, "equity" is a moral term and applies only to the acts of moral agents. If the lack of opportunity and preparation are not the doing of moral agents, then they are not inequitable.

-- Updated August 14th, 2017, 10:42 pm to add the following --
Hereandnow wrote:My thinking is that in the US crime and poverty and racial issues could be dramatically cleared away in a single generation, but it would take something this country cannot imagine: Twelve hour school days, many more teachers and much smaller classrooms.
It sounds like you're advocating transforming the schools from education institutions into cultural re-programming centers, a la Brave New World[/i[]. But 12 hours/day is not likely enough --- you'd have to keep the kids 24 hours/day, removing them completely from their birth environment and culture. I.e., terminate parental rights and make them all wards of the State. Would you propose that for all kids, or just for kids from certain ethnic groups?
With the exception of the latter two, how do you think Korea does it? Are they all geniuses? Not a chance. They simply live education, in a culture of education. It is not unusual to see at 11 pm middle school students pouring out of buses after an entire day of studying in after school institutions.


It is useless to compare academic performance, or performance in many other fields, across cultures, because many of them are culture-related. Korea is monocultural, and education is highly prized in that culture (as it is in Jewish culture. Japanese culture, and several others). The US is multicultural, and not all the subcultures attach as much importance to education. Koreans, Jews, Japanese in the US, though, do as well as, or better than, their relatives in their ancestral countries in that arena. Immigrants bring their culture with them and perpetuate it.

Advocates of cultural and ethnic "diversity" do not appreciate the meaning and implications of that term. Persons from different ethnic/cultural backgrounds will tend to have, not just different skin colors, but different values, different interests, different habits, different attitudes regarding many things. It is unreasonable, and unrealistic, to expect the descendants of Africans to place the same value on education (or anything else) as the descendants of Korean or Jewish immigrants, or to expect them to "act white." They won't, and no amount of money poured into public schools will make that happen. Multiculturalism implies multiple value systems, multiple world views, and multiple ethics.

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Hereandnow
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Re: Affirmative Action Under Trump/Sessions

Post by Hereandnow » August 14th, 2017, 11:32 pm

GE Morton

It sounds like you're advocating transforming the schools from education institutions into cultural re-programming centers, a la Brave New World[/i[]. But 12 hours/day is not likely enough --- you'd have to keep the kids 24 hours/day, removing them completely from their birth environment and culture. I.e., terminate parental rights and make them all wards of the State. Would you propose that for all kids, or just for kids from certain ethnic groups?


Well, since you mentioned it,is Brave new World so bad, minus the Delta class and fictionalized values? In fact, it's this kind of social stratification we are trying to remove. But not so much Brave New World as Walden II, where Skinner makes a good case for a Utopia built on the premise that conditioning is not immoral. Terminating parental rights? Granted, you really can't do this. But on a volunteer basis, and on a not so grand scale: who's to say this can't work? Start with Baltimore, with a fragment of Gates' money. Could catch on.

Of course, consider business as usual: structural poverty and ignorance does not possess any element of its own redemption. This must come from outside, and hence the need for affirmative action. But why not a more hands on approach, after all, as Skinner would put it, you and I and all of us are already conditioned. Should we have to wait for freedom in disfunctional institutions like "the family" to get lucky? Things could go very badly for the myth of free choice.

It is useless to compare academic performance, or performance in many other fields, across cultures, because many of them are culture-related. Korea is monocultural, and education is highly prized in that culture (as it is in Jewish culture. Japanese culture, and several others). The US is multicultural, and not all the subcultures attach as much importance to education. Koreans, Jews, Japanese in the US, though, do as well as, or better than, their relatives in their ancestral countries in that arena. Immigrants bring their culture with them and perpetuate it.

Advocates of cultural and ethnic "diversity" do not appreciate the meaning and implications of that term. Persons from different ethnic/cultural backgrounds will tend to have, not just different skin colors, but different values, different interests, different habits, different attitudes regarding many things. It is unreasonable, and unrealistic, to expect the descendants of Africans to place the same value on education (or anything else) as the descendants of Korean or Jewish immigrants, or to expect them to "act white." They won't, and no amount of money poured into public schools will make that happen. Multiculturalism implies multiple value systems, multiple world views, and multiple ethics.


I don't buy this idea that educational failings are simply a hard and fast reality and remedies are second to cultural priorities. The culture that thrives in inner city neighborhoods plagued by crime and ignorance is not fixed, nor is it something desirable. Values?? Are you defending anti-educational values? Odd.

GE Morton
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Re: Affirmative Action Under Trump/Sessions

Post by GE Morton » August 16th, 2017, 11:41 pm

Hereandnow wrote:Of course, consider business as usual: structural poverty and ignorance does not possess any element of its own redemption . . .
Per whose judgment? Per whose values? You're begging the question there. May members of minority groups construct their own hierarchies of values, set their own priorities and pursue their own interests, or would you force them to live by your standards? If the latter, how do you reconcile that position with the precept of Equal Agency (all persons have equal status as moral agents)?
But why not a more hands on approach, after all, as Skinner would put it, you and I and all of us are already conditioned. Should we have to wait for freedom in disfunctional institutions like "the family" to get lucky? Things could go very badly for the myth of free choice.
I'm not sure what freedom you mean there. Freedom from what? Who do you think is unfree, and in what respects?

Yes, one can say that "we are all conditioned," but that is somewhat misleading. We are all, to a large extent, shaped by our experiences in life, which in turn depend to a large extent on our personal environments, but that "conditioning" is spontaneous and random; it is more accurately called "learning from experience." "Conditioning" implies behavioral changes deliberately induced in constrained subjects in accordance with specific goals of some third party. In political contexts the goal is typically erecting someone's concept of Utopia. All Utopias violate the Equal Agency principle.
I don't buy this idea that educational failings are simply a hard and fast reality and remedies are second to cultural priorities. The culture that thrives in inner city neighborhoods plagued by crime and ignorance is not fixed, nor is it something desirable. Values?? Are you defending anti-educational values? Odd.
In a sense, yes. I don't share and have no respect for or sympathy with those values, but I do respect the right of each person to live his life in accordance with his own values, as long as they don't entail violating anyone else's rights.

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Re: Affirmative Action Under Trump/Sessions

Post by LuckyR » August 17th, 2017, 1:38 pm

GE Morton wrote:
LuckyR wrote:For example, there are cases in the literature where a University unexpectedly got late funding for more students, they accepted students off of the wait list who otherwise would have ended up rejected. Guess what? Those students off of the wait list did EXACTLY THE SAME by graduation day, as the very top students who were accepted. Thus why it is well known that many more students can excel in any program than there are positions.
Well, your second statement there --- that more students can excel than there are slots --- is surely true. But that is an argument for additional funding, not for affirmative action. The first statement, however, requires some clarification. First, what was the difference between the mean GPAs and test scores of the two groups? If it was trivial, then the result you cite is not surprising. E.g., if the lowest GPA among the accepted students was 3.5, and the lowest among the wait list students later accepted was 3.4, then the academic performance differences will likely also be trivial. But the school will have to draw the line somewhere. If the school has slots for n students, then it should draw that line at the student with the nth highest GPA. (I'm simplifying; I realize that other other factors also contribute admission "points").

The second question is, "Did exactly the same" --- in what way? By what measure? Graduation rate? Final GPA? Grad school acceptance? Later performance in a profession? If the differences in admission points were insignificant, then I'd expect the differences in those results to be insignificant also. The differences in GPAs and test scores between students admitted under "normal" criteria and those admitted per "affirmative action" policies, however, are NOT trivial. Allan Bakke, of the famous Bakke v. University of California Supreme Court case, ". . . had a college grade point average (GPA) of 3.46 and an undergraduate science GPA of 3.44 . . . By contrast, the average 'disadvantaged track' admittee in 1973 had a college GPA of 2.88 and an undergraduate science GPA of 2.62 . . . Bakke’s Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores put him at the 97th percentile (Science); 96th percentile (Verbal); 94th percentile (Quantitative); and 72nd percentile (General Information). On the other hand, the average 'disadvantaged track' admittee in 1973 had MCAT scores in the 35th percentile (Science); 46th percentile (Verbal); 24th percentile (Quantitative); and 33rd percentile (General Information)."

http://www.heritage.org/civil-rights/re ... ampus-hurt

Mean differences in SAT scores of white and black students admitted to three top schools in 2005 was 230 points (old scale). As a result " . . . about half of black college students rank in the bottom 20 percent of their classes, black law school graduates are four times as likely to fail bar exams . . ."

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/2 ... verbruggen
As to your attitude on interviewing applicants, better minds than either of us have decided through millennia of experience that interviews are not only crucial, but typically the primary deciding factor when choosing (as Universities do each and every year) among huge numbers of completely qualified applicants. Name any position in any field at any level worth having that does NOT use interviews of some type in the selection process.
Interviews are ubiquitous in workplace hiring, but there they serve some purpose and make some sense: employers try to determine whether a prospective employee will "fit in" to the culture of that particular shop or company. Managers, who typically conduct the interviews and make the final hiring decisions for employees they will supervise, also want to assess whether they personally will have a congenial relationship with the employee.

In the workplace employees must work together and get along. That is not the case in a university. Every student is working on his own, pursuing his own educational and career goals; there is, for the most part, no need for cooperation and comity among students. Social relationships, if they develop, are extracurricular and incidental. Nor is it the proper business of a public school to foster or attempt to preserve any particular culture or "atmosphere," beyond a general insistence on tolerance. And I doubt that the use of interviews for college admissions is a product of "better minds." Private schools may use them because do wish to foster a particular culture --- church-affiliated schools, for example, may wish to admit students receptive to their religious message. Public schools use them because they are traditional --- or because the faculty and administrators ARE trying to foster a particular culture, likely a lefty one. Which they have no business doing.

I said earlier that interviews are unlikely to reveal any relevant or useful information about a student not evident in the objective data. If you disagree, please cite some examples of such useful information.
Perhaps I can clarify my use of the word "qualified". If you find through experience that historically the top 35% of applicants will always graduate from your school but you as administrator cannot predict based on entrance GPA and test scores among the top 35% of applicants, where in the final graduation class rankings (four years later) the students will end up, would you agree that the entire top 35% are qualified?
As I said before, the question for the school is not which applicants are "qualified," per some arbitrary criteria, but which are the BEST qualified.
OK, let's say funds are slashed so you can only admit 4% of students. You have to use something to select the 4%, it doesn't make sense to use GPAs and test scores, since they don't predict which students among the top 35% will make the best graduates . . . .
That is not the case. The test scores and GPAs DO predict that (not perfectly, of course). The top 4% of applicants, per test scores and GPAs, will likely make the best graduates. You're indulging in a 4-term fallacy there. Your 35% are those who "will always graduate." The 4% are "the best graduates." Not all who may graduate will be the "best graduates." And, presumably, the latter is the goal.
My reason for writing my last few posts was not to discuss the merits of AA (obviously). Rather since it is my expectation that many if not most on this thread have not served on an Admissions Committee for an elite University program, I wanted to inform folks how various data points are used in common Admissions protocols. You are encouraged to comment on how admissions SHOULD work, but that is enhanced with an understanding of how they do work. Before dropping this minor sidelight, the most comprehensive review of various selection criteria and their ability (and inability) to predict Medical school success found that as your sources noted GPA and test scores were the most predictive. Trouble is, they weren't very predictive. They accounted for only 23% of the possible accuracy. Or in other words 77% of why medical students ranked where they did at graduation was either another selection criteria (minor) or completely unpredictable (major).

Moving on, as to the topic of the thread, AA. Since it is established that A) the pool of applicants who can excel at (for the purposes of my post, but could apply to any other field) Medical school is vastly larger than the class size, B) the ability to predict which among those who can excel, who will be at the very top of that group at graduation is quite limited and C) excellence at the Medical school graduation level does not correlate very well with who will be a superior practicing physician, let's dive deeper into the issue.

One could ask, who are public medical schools serving, ie who is their client? The common knee jerk response are the students, after all most pay in the low 6 figures for the privilege of learning the profession. However the schools look at it differently. As expensive as the education is, it is still subsidized by the state. Thus to a greater or lesser degree the citizenry of the state are the client of the medical school. Almost everyone agrees that the current practice of giving residents of the state preference over out of state residents with higher GPAs at State schools is not only reasonable, but required. Why? Because, residents of the state are more likely to end up practicing in the state and serving the citizens who partially paid for their education. Well, what if, for example if the state has a shortage of doctors in the rural part of the state, is it reasonable for the school to slant admissions towards qualified applicants from those rural parts of the state who profess the plan to practice there? Again, reasonable, if not preferable.

Tangentially related topic: currently it is legal (and typically encouraged) for women to express a preference for a female GYN doctor, if they feel the preference is important to them. Why do you think that is? In that direction, is it reasonable that a Hispanic patient might feel better with a primary care doc who intimately understands their culture? Might that understanding and thus communication ability contribute to that patient's outcome? The answer is yes, regardless of your opinion. Well, given that, does a state supported school with a 30% Hispanic population and a 7% Hispanic physician cohort have an interest to turn out docs who are: more likely to practice in an under-served location, the corollary to that is: and serve an under-served group of citizens (the Medical school's client, after all)?

The above, not the history of slavery, racism etc that are too often inappropriately is brought into lay discussions, is the motivation behind much of AA.
"As usual... it depends."

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Re: Affirmative Action Under Trump/Sessions

Post by GE Morton » August 17th, 2017, 2:37 pm

LuckyR wrote:My reason for writing my last few posts was not to discuss the merits of AA (obviously).Before dropping this minor sidelight, the most comprehensive review of various selection criteria and their ability (and inability) to predict Medical school success found that as your sources noted GPA and test scores were the most predictive. Trouble is, they weren't very predictive. They accounted for only 23% of the possible accuracy. Or in other words 77% of why medical students ranked where they did at graduation was either another selection criteria (minor) or completely unpredictable (major).
What is the criterion of "success" used in this study? Are you saying the correlation coefficient between GPAs/test scores and class rank at graduation was only 0.23? If so, I find that so surprising I'd want to see the details of that study. Do you have a link to it? However, as I mentioned before, if the differences in GPAs/test scores among the test group were small, then the differences in student performance should also be small, and various other factors could overwhelm that difference to establish rank.

BTW, I notice you reported no correlation figure between race/sex/ethnicity and "success." In "affirmative action" schemes those are also selection factors.
One could ask, who are public medical schools serving, ie who is their client? The common knee jerk response are the students, after all most pay in the low 6 figures for the privilege of learning the profession. However the schools look at it differently. As expensive as the education is, it is still subsidized by the state. Thus to a greater or lesser degree the citizenry of the state are the client of the medical school.
That is true of public medical schools, but not of private ones.
Almost everyone agrees that the current practice of giving residents of the state preference over out of state residents with higher GPAs at State schools is not only reasonable, but required. Why? Because, residents of the state are more likely to end up practicing in the state and serving the citizens who partially paid for their education. Well, what if, for example if the state has a shortage of doctors in the rural part of the state, is it reasonable for the school to slant admissions towards qualified applicants from those rural parts of the state who profess the plan to practice there? Again, reasonable, if not preferable.
Yes, that is reasonable for state-supported medical schools.
Tangentially related topic: currently it is legal (and typically encouraged) for women to express a preference for a female GYN doctor, if they feel the preference is important to them. Why do you think that is?
Largely because (some) women are uncomfortable discussing intimate matters with or exposing themselves to strange men.
In that direction, is it reasonable that a Hispanic patient might feel better with a primary care doc who intimately understands their culture? Might that understanding and thus communication ability contribute to that patient's outcome?
It might, provided the Hispanic doctor is as capable as other docs the patient might have seen instead. If the patient chooses cultural affinity over competence, then no, that choice is not reasonable.
Well, given that, does a state supported school with a 30% Hispanic population and a 7% Hispanic physician cohort have an interest to turn out docs who are: more likely to practice in an under-served location, the corollary to that is: and serve an under-served group of citizens (the Medical school's client, after all)?
Location is a physical barrier, and it is unfeasible for many patients to travel long distances for care. If the Hispanic 30% are concentrated in a certain of the state where there are few physicians, then, yes, they are under-served. They are not under-served, however, by the mere lack of Hispanic physicians in their area, any more than they are under-served by the lack, say, of Hispanic-run gas stations.

[/quote]
The above, not the history of slavery, racism etc that are too often inappropriately is brought into lay discussions, is the motivation behind much of AA.[/quote]

No. That is a secondary rationalization devised well after affirmative action programs began to be implemented and drew criticism. Their primary rationalization has always been to "make up" for legacy of slavery and Jim Crow, and it remains so.

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