College Admissions and Diversity

Harvard is claiming that it needs to select preferentially for race in its admissions in order to achieve its student body diversity goals.

…it has tried alternatives to race-conscious affirmative action to diversify its undergraduate student body, but such efforts would harm both the diversity and academic strength of the class.

This is nonsense.

“Affirmative action” programs, giving preferential treatment as they do (however small the preference is claimed to be) to persons based on their race (and/or sex in most other such programs), are fundamentally racist. More broadly, when there are limited classroom seats (let’s say) discriminating in favor of one group—whether by race or by merit—necessarily discriminates against other groups: those not preferred.

Non-Merit Discrimination in College Admissions

The non-merit discriminants that colleges and universities use—Harvard comes to mind—center on race, ethnicity, and gender.  The Trump administration has moved to reduce that reliance on bigotry for admissions (ironic word, that), and the Left is crying race.

Anurima Bargava, ex-President Barack Obama’s DoJ head of “civil rights enforcement” (an ironic title), insists that the rollback of regulations authorizing racism and sexism in determining who will be admitted—and who will be barred from admission—is

a purely political attack that benefits nobody.

The rollback benefits those being discriminated against without harming anyone else. But the Obama administration’s politics of divisiveness and…identity…considered those people to be nobodies; that’s why the policy discriminated.

Taxpayer Money

This is how the citizens of Missouri are seeing their tax money being used, this time by the University of Missouri.  You remember the U of M, the place where a professor demanded students attack a student reporter because he was covering a student protest.  The place where little discipline was applied to the students who answered the professor’s call. The place where the president and chancellor were forced to resign because they weren’t coddling the snowflakes enough.

Student Loan Delinquency

…rates are declining.  Or so a headline number implies.

The share of new delinquencies on student loans has fallen to the lowest level in more than decade—and it’s not just due to the healthy labor market.

In the first quarter, slightly over 9% of student debt outstanding was newly delinquent….

Aside from employment rates, which encourage jobs as trade-off for college, the decline is laid off to a couple of causes.

[F]forbearance[] allows borrowers to go months without making a payment while remaining in good standing on their debt.

And

How Bad is a Vocational Education?

Especially compared with a formal college education?  Oren Cass, Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, had some thoughts on that in a recent Wall Street Journal piece.

Elevating vocational education, and prioritizing its students, must begin with a substantial reshaping of American high schools. Vocational education will not succeed so long as culture and public policy consign it to second-class status—a dumping ground for students who interfere with what school districts consider their real mission, college prep.

Get Rid of Calculus in High School?

James Makarian, SnapLogic CTO, thinks high school calculus is overrated; he’d rather see statistics and computer science get the emphasis.

I agree: don’t teach calculus in senior high school.  Push it down into freshman/late junior high classes.  Then do computer science and statistics in close sequence behind the calc course.  It’s not possible to do more than (badly) cookbook statistics without the underlying arithmetic.  And cookbooking something as serious as statistics means the related research will be badly done more often than not or badly understood by those reading the research.

An Education Failure

A Miami-Dade police officer’s 14-year-old daughter dissed her teacher at Pinecrest Cove Preparatory Academy charter school, and her father was called to the school.  The video at the link shows the ensuing abuse: the “father” whipped his daughter with his belt, slugged her, yanked her hair.  Fortunately, no serious physical damage appears to have been done, but I have to wonder about the emotional damage, I have to wonder about the quality of her home life, and I have to wonder whether that life might have been a factor in her relationship with her teacher.

Academic Preparedness

New York City has a program, Expanded Success Initiative, that was intended to improve the city’s K-12 “black and Latino males'” (apparently, the girls just don’t matter in New York City) performance.  It’s failing; although, the piece at the link is more optimistic than that.

Students…reported better school relationships and more fair treatment than peers in comparable schools outside the program.[]

Socialization does matter in a child’s development; however….

[A]cademic outcomes and suspension rates remained roughly similar to those in the comparison schools.

Academics are the primary purpose of schools.  ESI improved nothing important.

Teachers Unions

…and their strikes’ impacts.  Look at the Arizona teachers union strikes, for instance.

Arizona parents scrambled to find alternative arrangements for their children as the state braced for a third day of teacher walkouts.

It’s estimated that at least 800,000 Arizona students have been affected by the strike that started Thursday, with some school districts in the state closed until further notice.

It isn’t only the children that these strikers are holding hostage for their demands.  It’s the parents, too, who must take time off from work to take care of their children with those kids denied access to schools and education.

A Lesson About Discrimination

A few days ago, The Wall Street Journal ran a piece about a teacher and a principal who taught a 1968 lesson about racial tolerance, using the equally arbritrary blue eyes-brown eyes discriminant as the teaching prop.

A Letter to the Editor response decried both the lesson and the pride in it that was conveyed in that article.

…one of the most disturbing and emotional things I had ever experienced. Teachers whom I once looked up to were subjecting me to irrational and arbitrary treatment based on my eye color. … My father … called my school’s leadership and received a complete apology.