Racial manipulation of UC admissions can’t help but go haywire

Racial manipulation of UC admissions can’t help but go haywire

Want an exceptionally shrewd look at University of California admissions policies that lays out how the nominally race-neutral system is skewed by administrators desperately trying to prop up enrollment of some — but not all — minorities? Check out this post on the Education Realist blog run by an anonymous but very insightful California educator.

“The Big Reveal on Cal’s holistic admissions process created much fuss, most of it on behalf of Asians who are clearly the victims of discriminatory behavior.

“I’m fussed, too. But most people don’t completely understand how this ‘problem’ came about, and why the UC and other universities are discriminating against Asians. It’s not so much ‘affirmative action for whites’ as it is unintended consequences of being forbidden to use affirmative action for blacks and Hispanics.”

‘Immigrant Asians … kill whites on grades’

University_of_California_sealHow did this play out? UC chose to …

“… de-emphasize those evil, racist tests that traditionally represent, in the typical progressive’s mind, a means of reinforcing the institutionalized hegemony of the white man’s values. Grades, in contrast, reflected the school’s values, the school’s priorities. So majority URM schools, both charters and inner city, can put whatever grades they like on classes that can be called whatever they want. UC officials made the change, along with Eligibility in the Local Context, so that majority URM schools could lie about their students’ academic abilities properly reflect the students’ diligence and abilities in subjects simply not valued by the institutional racists at the College Board.

“The problem is, alas, that UC admissions made changes to their policy based on the ‘demographic footprint’ of tests, but they forgot about the demographic footprint of grades.

“Namely: Asians, particularly recent immigrant Asians, kill whites on grades. The test score advantage is getting (suspiciously) worse, but the grade advantage is huge.

“That wasn’t part of the plan. Look, universities know the game as well as anyone: grades are a fraud. That’s why, until relatively recently, all universities weighted test scores as high or higher than grades.

“If high school grades were objectively accurate, why does the University of California have an entry level writing requirement?—and why is that writing requirement either a test or a college level course? (And I have my own doubts of college level courses, but more on that later.) … If high school grades meant anything, schools could just accept students with high grades and hey, presto. Problem solved.”

‘Any outrage is counterbalanced by another’

harvard_admissions_020912-thumb-640xauto-5259This is just a powerful, devastating analysis of the racial games that UC officials play. But it doesn’t lead to the tidy conclusion one might expect about UC admissions.

“You know what would have been much easier? Require four Subject tests: English Lit, Math 2c, American History, and a Science. Asians would still do well, but it would have been harder. Dump the SAT, dump or devalue grades. If nothing else, we’d be giving smart kids of all races a chance to show their stuff purely through test scores, imperfect as they may be, rather than the vagaries of teacher assessment.

“But that gets UC right back to the problem it started with, the reason it emphasized GPA over test scores in the first place, the problem that it created just to give them a cover story for ignoring the will of the California voters (and, eventually, the constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court). A test-score only admissions process would eliminate almost all blacks and Hispanics from consideration. The problem: every attempt to bring in more blacks and Hispanics leads to more Asians.

“Problem? Why is it a problem? Shouldn’t the universities just let the chips fall where they may? If the schools are overwhelmingly Asian, so what?

“Well, for starters, relying exclusively on grades leads to Kashawn Campbell at the low end—hell, Kashawn’s story singlehandedly reveals the need for test scores, the fraudulence of high school grades, and the sketchy nature of college grades in one neat little package.

“But more importantly, a huge number of the Asians admitted are either nationals or first and second generation Chinese, Koreans, and Indians.

“None of what I’ve written or will write is intended in any way to rationalize the discrimination against Asians. Quite the contrary. Any fair admissions process would lead to overrepresentation of Asians. But I hope to persuade readers that college admissions in its current form, in both private and public schools, is so corrupt that getting outraged about discrimination for or against any one demographic is pointless. Any outrage you find is counterbalanced by another, and no, it’s not as if it all works out.”

What a vivid account of how race works at UC, Prop 209 or no Prop 209, and of how college administrators think.

I encourage people to check out the Education Realist blog regularly.

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