Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Education Plan Ignores Minorities

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Education Plan Ignores Minorities

Article excerpt

The effects of affirmative action's slow death are beginning to roll east across the country from California. The University of California system is now prohibited from using race as a criterion for admission. The first results are now in.

The Washington Post reports that minority (black and Hispanic) admission to the freshman class at UCLA's and Berkeley's law schools dropped 80 percent. At the University of Texas at Austin, minority admission was down 85 percent in the law school and down 20 percent in the undergraduate school.

Any drop in minority representation in such important institutions and professions is a serious national problem. What are we doing about it? What is at the heart of President Bill Clinton's huge educational initiative - by his own boast, the largest single increase in higher education spending since 1945? Answer: A $35-billion federal giveaway to middle-income and upper-middle-income college students. Yet the great crisis in American education is not at the university level. It is at the elementary and high school levels, where thousands of kids - particularly minority kids - are getting educations so rotten that their entire life prospects are blighted. What, after all, are the California and Texas experiences telling us? They're showing that under affirmative action large numbers of minority students were being admitted on the basis of race. Take away the criterion of race - as has now happened there - and four out of five minority law applicants and one out of five undergrads who would previously have been admitted to these schools don't make it in straight-up colorblind competition. This is a tragedy that cries out for remedy. Think of what Clinton could do with that $35 billion. At $35 billion over five years - $7 billion a year - we could be giving 2 million inner-city kids an outright grant of $3,500 per year to improve their elementary and high school education. (According to the Cato Institute, the average private school tuition is $3,116.) Now, we can argue left and right how to give it out: whether directly as a voucher to the child for private education or poured back into the existing system to improve the public schools. …

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