Affirmative Action Under Trump/Sessions

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Prothero
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Affirmative Action Under Trump/Sessions

Post by Prothero » August 2nd, 2017, 11:26 am

So the Department of Justice under Sessions announced today it will be reviewing admissions policies at major university to investigate whether white students are being discriminated against under what remains of affirmative action. There are multiple arguments or points of view.

Of course one can see how a white student having been denied admission at his selective university of choice might feel discriminated against on learning that students with lower GPA's and test scores were admitted based on their racial or ethnic class or even their socioeconomic class.

The arguments for affirmative action policies to ensure both ethnic (racial) and socioeconomic diversity at the university level are also strong. Which is more beneficial? A class discussion where the participants represent many segments of society or one in which privileged white students hold a discussion without diverse input?

The white student with high GPA and high SAT or ACT test scores, often was born into a well to do family with educated parents. Such students often attended private schools and received tutoring for college admission testing. Can we say comparing only GPA and SAT scores against that of the student of color or minority ethnicity, whose parents often did not attend college, whose schools are poorly funded relative to the suburbs and who received no special assistance or preparation in college admission tests is a fair comparison?

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?

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LuckyR
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Re: Affirmative Action Under Trump/Sessions

Post by LuckyR » August 2nd, 2017, 8:49 pm

Prothero wrote:So the Department of Justice under Sessions announced today it will be reviewing admissions policies at major university to investigate whether white students are being discriminated against under what remains of affirmative action. There are multiple arguments or points of view.

Of course one can see how a white student having been denied admission at his selective university of choice might feel discriminated against on learning that students with lower GPA's and test scores were admitted based on their racial or ethnic class or even their socioeconomic class.

The arguments for affirmative action policies to ensure both ethnic (racial) and socioeconomic diversity at the university level are also strong. Which is more beneficial? A class discussion where the participants represent many segments of society or one in which privileged white students hold a discussion without diverse input?

The white student with high GPA and high SAT or ACT test scores, often was born into a well to do family with educated parents. Such students often attended private schools and received tutoring for college admission testing. Can we say comparing only GPA and SAT scores against that of the student of color or minority ethnicity, whose parents often did not attend college, whose schools are poorly funded relative to the suburbs and who received no special assistance or preparation in college admission tests is a fair comparison?

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?
This is a mature topic, no sense in treating it like it is 1978.

Any University lawyer can point out that GPAs and test scores define the floor not the ceiling, in other words folks who have GPAs and test scores that are too low, get weeded out. It is a fallacy that students with the very highest GPAs and test scores get automatically accepted based on those alone. Essays, letters of reference and interviews decide who gets accepted.
"As usual... it depends."

Prothero
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Re: Affirmative Action Under Trump/Sessions

Post by Prothero » August 2nd, 2017, 11:37 pm

Well, I am not sure what you mean by a "mature topic" but if it were such a settled issue, I am not sure why the Department of Justice feels the need to investigate or why the Supreme Court keeps ending up with cases.
In any event schools are not shy about trying to achieve "diversity" the only remaining legally acceptable goal and admissions are not done on a color blind, ethnic blind, sex blind or without regard to socioeconomic status.
The assertion that essays, letters of reference and interviews are the only criteria is simply not true in practice.

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LuckyR
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Re: Affirmative Action Under Trump/Sessions

Post by LuckyR » August 3rd, 2017, 3:13 am

Prothero wrote:Well, I am not sure what you mean by a "mature topic" but if it were such a settled issue, I am not sure why the Department of Justice feels the need to investigate or why the Supreme Court keeps ending up with cases.
In any event schools are not shy about trying to achieve "diversity" the only remaining legally acceptable goal and admissions are not done on a color blind, ethnic blind, sex blind or without regard to socioeconomic status.
The assertion that essays, letters of reference and interviews are the only criteria is simply not true in practice.
Don't sell yourself short, I believe you have a perfectly fine understanding of the term mature. The reason politicians do the majority of what they do is rarely logical and intermittently passes muster legally, so their actions are proof of nothing.

As to the schools, many seek to graduate the very best doctors, lawyers what have you, for their community. Since entrance GPAs and test scores do not predict success in graduate schools it is illogical to think of them as a measure of student quality. Yet passed over students do routinely (completely understandable, yet still illogical).

And despite your protests we both know that neither one of us said or believes "that essays, letters of reference and interviews are the only criteria..."
"As usual... it depends."

GE Morton
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Re: Affirmative Action Under Trump/Sessions

Post by GE Morton » August 3rd, 2017, 11:13 am

Prothero wrote:The arguments for affirmative action policies to ensure both ethnic (racial) and socioeconomic diversity at the university level are also strong.
Really? I've never heard anything like a compelling argument for ethnic/socioeconomic diversity in academia or in any other field. Could you outline one? That seems to be an article of PC faith lacking any rational or empirical basis.
Which is more beneficial? A class discussion where the participants represent many segments of society or one in which privileged white students hold a discussion without diverse input?
I should think the most beneficial class discussion would be one involving the brightest, best-prepared, best-informed students. GPAs and test scores may not be perfect predictors of academic success, or of future proficiency in the student's chosen field, but they are the best predictors we have.
Is it good for the society or the future if all the doctors, lawyers, CEO's, and professors, etc. are privileged whites?
It is if only privileged whites are able to attain the highest levels of skills in those fields (which is unlikely).
Don't we as a society have some obligation to acknowledge the results of decades of open discrimination?
There is no problem with acknowledging it. There is a problem with trying to rectify it retroactively via more ("reverse") discrimination. That is fool's errand.

Eduk
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Re: Affirmative Action Under Trump/Sessions

Post by Eduk » August 4th, 2017, 11:47 am

Morton just Google scientific study diversity. Granted you may find the studies lack rigour or have some other complaint but there is no shortage of studies to suggest diversity is preferable to homogeneity.
Likewise it is clear that results should be weighted against socio-economic background. It is of course much less clear exactly what that weighting should be.
I agree with your final point that things like affirmative action are not a solution. Two wrongs don't make a right after all.
Plus humans are humans. They will fill the legal quota then carry on being as biased as they always were. Possibly even doing a worse job than before.
Unfortunately I have no solution to offer. Other than googling scientific study diversity of course.

GE Morton
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Re: Affirmative Action Under Trump/Sessions

Post by GE Morton » August 4th, 2017, 2:18 pm

Eduk wrote:Morton just Google scientific study diversity. Granted you may find the studies lack rigour or have some other complaint but there is no shortage of studies to suggest diversity is preferable to homogeneity.
"Preferable"? What are the criteria for deeming one process "preferable" to another (in this context)? Without begging the question, of course.
Likewise it is clear that results should be weighted against socio-economic background.
That is not at all clear. Unless, of course, you set "diversity" as a goal a priori. Which begs the question. If your only goal is to attract the best qualified students then that weighing is obviously counterproductive.

Eduk
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Re: Affirmative Action Under Trump/Sessions

Post by Eduk » August 4th, 2017, 9:32 pm

Sorry didn't realise this was a post about the definition of preferable. Why don't you go first and define what is preferable to you, in the context of a university.
No, weighting takes into account the concept of equity not just equality. For example let us imagine that I was up the night before an exam, sick. Took the exam and due to feeling unwell and sleep deprivation performed much worse than I could have. Does that mean I'm now less gifted than I was? Or is that just bad luck with no long term consequences to my abilities?
By the way I never suggested equity was a simple equation to work out. Only that it is a real thing which should be considered.

GE Morton
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Re: Affirmative Action Under Trump/Sessions

Post by GE Morton » August 5th, 2017, 9:57 am

Eduk wrote:Sorry didn't realise this was a post about the definition of preferable. Why don't you go first and define what is preferable to you, in the context of a university.
You stated: " . . . there is no shortage of studies to suggest diversity is preferable to homogeneity."

A study which concludes that A is "preferable" to B or C must first set forth some criteria for ranking them. E.g., one may say anti-cancer drug A is preferable to drug B if more patients given A recover, or survive longer, than patients given B.

Without such criteria a claim that one thing is preferable to another is meaningless --- merely someone's subjective personal opinion. That is hardly worthy of being called a "study."
No, weighting takes into account the concept of equity not just equality. For example let us imagine that I was up the night before an exam, sick. Took the exam and due to feeling unwell and sleep deprivation performed much worse than I could have. Does that mean I'm now less gifted than I was?
No. But you're comparing a temporary inability with a systemic one. Students may take the SAT as often as they wish. There is no need for any "weighting;" a student who did poorly because of a temporary disability can just take the test again. "Weighting" the scores to offset some systemic disability merely results in admitting less qualified and capable students.

Eduk
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Re: Affirmative Action Under Trump/Sessions

Post by Eduk » August 5th, 2017, 10:06 am

The studies themselves explain their terms. Try reading them. You can surely use Google as well as I.

How about a different scenario. Where I was a single child and my guardian was long term sick. I may be expected to do my schooling during the day then return home to tend for my loved ones. This without doubt would increase my workload substantially and certainly effect my grades. I would of course learn different valuable lessons but that's by the by.

I don't understand what you have against the concept of equity. Are you familiar with the term?

GE Morton
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Re: Affirmative Action Under Trump/Sessions

Post by GE Morton » August 5th, 2017, 11:03 am

Eduk wrote:The studies themselves explain their terms. Try reading them. You can surely use Google as well as I.
You're making the argument here, Eduk, not the authors of these studies. YOU need to summarize their methodology and results, not send your reader off to search for needles in haystacks. At the very least you need to provide a link to one of the studies to which you refer.
How about a different scenario. Where I was a single child and my guardian was long term sick. I may be expected to do my schooling during the day then return home to tend for my loved ones. This without doubt would increase my workload substantially and certainly effect my grades.
And also, perforce, affect your ability to do college work. If you are admitted anyway, because your credentials were "weighted," and another, better-qualified applicant is rejected to make room for you, you win, but everybody else --- that rejected student and your eventual patients, clients, customers, or employers --- loses.
I don't understand what you have against the concept of equity. Are you familiar with the term?
Modern "liberals" (leftists) are wont to confuse or equate equity, or justice or fairness, with equality. They are not the same. Equity means impartiality. Justice consists in securing to each person what he or she is due. An admissions policy which relies on objective criteria, such as test scores and GPAs, is perfectly equitable and just. Neither equity nor justice requires that persons who are not equal in relevant ways be treated equally. Indeed, so treating them is inequitable (it is not impartial) and results in injustices.

Although all humans (with some exceptions) are equally moral agents, they are not naturally or materially equal, any more than are the members of any other living species. Some tadpoles swim faster than others; some pine trees grow taller than others; some cats catch more mice than others. Humans differ in every measurable dimension -- in native talents, capacities, interests, motivations, beauty, strength, health, life experiences, and luck. Neither equity nor justice requires "equalizing" all those differences.

Eduk
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Re: Affirmative Action Under Trump/Sessions

Post by Eduk » August 5th, 2017, 11:23 am

No you said you've not heard an argument for diversity. Please define 'for'. I assume you mean the opposite of against. I simply said use Google, honestly it's not hard and I feel no need to hand hold you. If you do or don't use Google that's your call. I just said such arguments exist if you look for them.

I don't possess your ability to see into the future. Who knows how long my guardian will be sick for? Or my circumstances unchanged? At what point exactly will I cope well enough for my natural ability to start to outstrip the person with lesser ability who outscored me through no fault of my own. Like I said I can't see into the future like you so I can't give a hard and fast binary answer to all questions.

GE Morton
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Re: Affirmative Action Under Trump/Sessions

Post by GE Morton » August 5th, 2017, 4:06 pm

Eduk wrote:No you said you've not heard an argument for diversity.
Yes. That was a response to this claim of yours: "The arguments for affirmative action policies to ensure both ethnic (racial) and socioeconomic diversity at the university level are also strong."

You are making a claim there. It is your obligation to substantiate that claim, with a synopsis of such a study, a citation (to the author, publication, and date) and a link to it. Just you would be expected to do in a footnote if you made that claim in a book. Advising your interlocutor to "google for them" is vague and evasive.
I don't possess your ability to see into the future. Who knows how long my guardian will be sick for? Or my circumstances unchanged? At what point exactly will I cope well enough for my natural ability to start to outstrip the person with lesser ability who outscored me through no fault of my own.
That is irrelevant. When you think your circumstances have changed for the better you can re-take the test and re-apply.

Gertie
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Re: Affirmative Action Under Trump/Sessions

Post by Gertie » August 6th, 2017, 5:24 pm

Prothero wrote:So the Department of Justice under Sessions announced today it will be reviewing admissions policies at major university to investigate whether white students are being discriminated against under what remains of affirmative action. There are multiple arguments or points of view.

Of course one can see how a white student having been denied admission at his selective university of choice might feel discriminated against on learning that students with lower GPA's and test scores were admitted based on their racial or ethnic class or even their socioeconomic class.

The arguments for affirmative action policies to ensure both ethnic (racial) and socioeconomic diversity at the university level are also strong. Which is more beneficial? A class discussion where the participants represent many segments of society or one in which privileged white students hold a discussion without diverse input?

The white student with high GPA and high SAT or ACT test scores, often was born into a well to do family with educated parents. Such students often attended private schools and received tutoring for college admission testing. Can we say comparing only GPA and SAT scores against that of the student of color or minority ethnicity, whose parents often did not attend college, whose schools are poorly funded relative to the suburbs and who received no special assistance or preparation in college admission tests is a fair comparison?

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?
I don't know the situation in American colleges, but affirmative action can be a useful measure in tackling systemic problems. Ideally it should only need to be a short-term tool to help kickstart change, while the systemic issues are addressed. If it becomes a long-term 'solution', there's probably not enough being done to tackle the larger systemic issues, such as certain groups being particularly disadvantaged by poverty and all the associated problems, poor early education provision, low expectations, etc.

Which does a disservice to individuals, and deprives society of a talent pool which doesn't have chance to flourish.

GE Morton
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Re: Affirmative Action Under Trump/Sessions

Post by GE Morton » August 6th, 2017, 8:18 pm

Gertie wrote:I don't know the situation in American colleges, but affirmative action can be a useful measure in tackling systemic problems. Ideally it should only need to be a short-term tool to help kickstart change, while the systemic issues are addressed. If it becomes a long-term 'solution', there's probably not enough being done to tackle the larger systemic issues, such as certain groups being particularly disadvantaged by poverty and all the associated problems, poor early education provision, low expectations, etc.
What would you suggest be done to "tackle [those] larger systemic issues"?

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