March 19, 2013, 10:36 am
The lead article in Sunday’s New York Times featured important research that could help shape the future of equity debates and affirmative action in higher education.
The article, “Better Colleges Failing to Lure Poorer Strivers,” by David Leonhardt, cites a significant study conducted by Stanford University’s Caroline Hoxby and Harvard University’s Christopher Avery, which finds that while more than three-quarters of wealthy high-achieving students attend selective four-year colleges, only about one-third of high-achieving low-income students do so.
Looking at students whose grades and test scores put them in the top 4 percent of the high-school Class of 2008, Hoxby and Avery found that 34 percent of those from the lowest income quartile of households attended one of the nation’s most selective 238 colleges compared with 78 percent of those from the richest quartile….
January 17, 2013, 12:32 pm
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s new memoir, My Beloved World, has been getting a lot of buzz, from 60 Minutes to NPR to The Washington Post (which published both a book review by Dahlia Lithwick and a separate feature article by Robert Barnes). With the Supreme Court slated to rule later this year on Fisher v. University of Texas, challenging the use of race in higher-education admissions, all of these analyses have focused on the way Sotomayor reacted to receiving affirmative action at Princeton College and Yale Law School.
Her story about growing up poor and Puerto Rican in the Bronx naturally invites comparison to her colleague Justice Clarence Thomas’s 2007 memoir, My Grandfather’s Son, detailing his tale of overcoming poverty and racism and his very different reaction to affirmative-action policies. While Sotomayor is grateful for affirmative action, Thomas’s…
November 7, 2012, 2:59 pm
Last night Oklahoma became the eighth state to ban affirmative action at public institutions, including colleges and universities. By 59 to 41 percent, voters approved a measure to prohibit racial preferences in state hiring, contracting, and education programs. Although Oklahoma is a conservative state, similar anti-affirmative-action referenda have passed in “blue” states, such as California, Michigan, and Washington. More than one-quarter of America’s high-school population lives in states that have banned racial affirmative-action programs at public colleges.
The vote is noteworthy for a couple of reasons.
For one thing, it underlines the deep and troubling divide between institutions of higher education and the American public on the issue of racial preferences. In the Fisher v. University of Texas litigation, contesting the use of race in college admissions, that is…
October 11, 2012, 5:01 pm
Justice Anthony Kennedy’s comments in oral arguments for “Fisher v. University of Texas” merit close scrutiny because he is seen as a possible swing vote in the case.
When I attended Wednesday’s Supreme Court oral argument in Fisher v. University of Texas, all eyes were on Justice Anthony Kennedy, in whose hands, most people believe, rests the fate of racial affirmative action in higher-education admissions. Four justices to Kennedy’s right appear to strongly oppose racial preferences as unconstitutional, while three to his left favor them (Justice Elena Kagan recused herself). Justice Kennedy, who dissented in the 2003 Grutter v. Bollinger decision upholding the use racial preferences in admissions at the University of Michigan Law School, was mostly silent during the argument, but as news accounts have…