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Thursday, April 14, 2005

Do Racial Preferences Hurt? Affirmative!

Marie Gryphon has written a Cato Policy Analysis on the effects of Affirmative Action. Here is a sample from the Executive Summary:
Affirmative action defenders frequently and correctly tout the importance of college to the goal of improving life prospects. But preferences at selective schools have not increased college access. They cannot do so because most minority students leave high school without the minimum qualifications to attend any four-year school. Only outreach and better high school preparation can reduce overall racial disparities in American colleges.

Nor do preferences increase the wages of students who attend more selective schools as a result of affirmative action. When equally prepared students are compared, recent research shows that those who attend less selective institutions make just as much money as do their counterparts from more selective schools.

Affirmative action produces no concrete benefits to minority groups, but it does produce several significant harms. First, a phenomenon called the"ratchet effect" means that preferences at a handful of top schools, including state flagship institutions, can worsen racial disparities in academic preparation at all other American colleges and universities, including those that do not use admissions preferences. This effect results in painfully large gaps in academic preparation between minority students and others on campuses around the country.

Be sure to check it out. At 26 pages long, it is a bit lengthy, but well worth the time.

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Copyright © S Michael Moore 2005