Friday, April 18, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Courting diversity in university enrollment

By Dan K. Thomasson

Diversity in college enrollment is a most desirable thing. In the elusive perfect world, it would be achievable without the pain it causes both those who must rely on it and those who are victimized by it.

One person who is both a beneficiary of race-conscious admissions policies and who claims to abhor the stigma attached to that good fortune recently voted with the majority in the Supreme Court’s decision to keep affirmative action alive in higher education but make it more difficult to use. Both those opposed to affirmative action and those wanting to keep it alive claimed victory in the 7-1 decision.

Justice Clarence Thomas — who was admitted to Yale Law School through an affirmative-action program — was instrumental in pressuring the court to take the Texas University at Austin case, although it did not initially have enough votes required under the panel’s rules for acceptance. Thomas has long opposed racial preference for college admission, contending that such policies taint those admitted under such circumstances and cast a shadow over their careers.

This argument particularly applies to professional schools for law and medicine. Many opponents ask questions along these lines: Would you like to be operated on by a doctor who got into med school because of his race or would you like to be defended in a criminal case by a lawyer, etc.? We’ve all heard these arguments and they do no justice to either side.

In reality, the court ducked the issue, sending it back to an appeals court to demand that the Texas school exhaust other ways to promote diversity before triggering preference based on race or ethnicity. That ruling, however, also will affect most other state-supported institutions, forcing them to find less painful ways to achieve diversity. Meanwhile, the court next term will hear another affirmative action case, this one over a Michigan law that bans preferential treatment in public university admissions.

The answer to this thorniest of issues obviously is raising the level of primary and secondary education to the point where students are competitive in their classroom and test scores, where the field of endeavor is not tilted. But the current way public education is financed works against the struggle for equality. Better neighborhoods have better schools. Charter schools and vouchers help some, but still have a long way to go.

Unfortunately, the most important missing ingredient in improving K-12 learning — parental involvement — seems in short supply, especially among the economically and environmentally disadvantaged. Too many single mothers, struggling to support a family, are unable to provide a daily infusion of school help.

Head Start, the wonderful preschool program from Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society days, has been a major achiever in improving the education prospects for thousands of children. Even when youngsters get that federally financed early learning, some may return daily to an environment that is far from satisfactory.

A Hispanic caller to a recent National Public Radio discussion on the court’s decision noted that she was admitted to college even though her grades and test scores were marginal. Her good friend with excellent scores and grades was put on a waiting list. The caller said she found out almost immediately that she was in over her head, academically, and she struggled to make a .09 grade-point average her first semester. She said it taught her quickly that it would take special effort to reach her goals in this environment. She had gotten the opportunity through racial consideration, and she took advantage to double down and achieve. She supports the program.

Thomas and those who decry the policy as frequently demeaning and stigmatizing would argue that hundreds of others who were admitted under similar circumstances have been set up to fail.

The policy will continue until another court decides otherwise. The solution now is as elusive as that perfect world.

— Reach Dan K. Thomasson, former vice president of Scripps Howard News Service, at thomassondan@aol.com

Special to The Enterprise

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Former caretaker convicted of murder, elder abuse

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1, 4 Comments | Gallery

     
    Old friend helps Brad and others find kidneys

    By Dave Jones | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Chuck Rairdan joins school board race

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1, 2 Comments

    Going green at church, school, everywhere

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    For the record

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

     
    UCD to host Global Health Day event

    By Cory Golden | From Page: A2

    Ukraine insurgents reject call to quit buildings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 3 Comments

     
    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    ‘Hitchhiking’ dog looking for new home

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Online K-12 school holds info night

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Volkssporting Club plans North Davis walks

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Schwenger lawn signs available

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

    Volunteers needed for Grad Night

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Davis grad makes rain collection a business

    By Jason McAlister | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    A few spots left on history tour

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Chipotle fundraiser boosts Emerson tech upgrade

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Event to provide nature scholarship

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Students have new options on leasing front

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Groups join for a day of service

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    NAMI backers walk in Sacramento

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    Food for the hungry

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

    .

    Forum

    Dad makes mom look bad

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

     
    More tax money? Answer the question

    By Rich Rifkin | From Page: A6, 4 Comments

     
    UCD IS responsible for students

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 4 Comments

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

     
    In search of great ideas

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

    Please keep the nursery open

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Early help is a great investment

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    .

    Sports

    Aggies lose a slugfest in opener at Riverside

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Fox coming to UCD; Riffle heads to Florida

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

    DHS’ Golston goes full-bore on the diamond

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Devils show more life in loss to Mitty

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Sharks double up Kings in Game 1

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    DYSA roundup: Intensity has big week; 10U games dominate schedule

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Pro baseball roundup: Susac sends Sacramento to a rare loss

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    Sports briefs: Aggies set the academic bar high

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    ‘The Bloom’ paves way for Whole Earth Festival

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    DHS tribute to Tony Fields slated for April 25-26

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    UCD, city team up for Music on the Green

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    ‘Transcendence’: A whole new level of tedium

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11 | Gallery

    .

    Business

    Ford turns its Focus to domestic market

    By Ali Arsham | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, April 18, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Real Estate Review

    Featured Listing

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER1

    Professional Services Directory

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER2

    Lyon Real Estate

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER3

    Acacia at Huntington Square

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Jamie Madison

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Yolo FCU

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Travis Credit Union

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER5

    Kim Eichorn

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER6

    Suzanne Kimmel

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER6

    Lynne Wegner

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

    Kim Merrel Lamb

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

    Patricia Echevarria

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

    Chris Snow

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

    Sheryl Patterson

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

    Don Guthrie

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

    Andrew Dowling

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

    Coldwell Banker

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER10

    Coldwell Banker

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

    Heather Barnes

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER12

    Julie Partain & Dick Partain

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER12

    Malek Baroody

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER13

    Karen Waggoner

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

    Willowbank Park

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

    Julie Leonard

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

    Tim Harrison

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

    Team Traverso

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

    Tracy Harris

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Lori Prizmich

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Joe Kaplan

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

    Raul Zamora

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

    Coldwell Banker

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

    Open House Map

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

    F1rst Street Real Estate

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER20