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Latino Daily News

Tuesday January 18, 2011

Affirmative Action Bans Have Consequences

As an increasing number of states are banning affirmative action in their institutes of higher education, researchers warn of the negative outcome.

It is said that the ban would result in fewer black and Latino students being accepted into the best schools, and they would instead be “shuffled-down” to less selective universities or even community colleges. White and Asian students would reportedly fill the top-tier schools.

As of November 2010, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Nebraska, Texas and Washington have all banned affirmative action in public higher education institutes. In Arizona, one paper stated that it was “no longer needed” despite large amounts of research pointing out that “race-blind” admissions in states with bans are failing to keep up with the changing demographics.

In a new book titled Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, it is reported that in California in 1994, four years before voters approved a ban on affirmative action, 38 percent of high school graduates and 18 percent of University of California students were black, Latino, or Native American. In 2008, after ten years without affirmative action, the very same minorities made up almost 50 percent of high school graduates, but only 20 percent of UC students.

Equal Opportunity co-editors Eric Grodsky, a sociologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Michal Kurlaender, a professor of education at the University of California, Davis said, “By stepping back from its commitment to affirmative action, we believe California and other states and colleges have contributed to an increase in racial and ethnic stratification. Within college types, [underrepresented minority] students tended to shift from higher-to lower-quality colleges and universities. … African American and Latino undergraduates in the state of California may be worse off now than they were 10 years ago.”

Opponents of affirmative action have said they believe students of color are better off at the less selective schools, because they are less prepared for college than their white peers, since they often come from poor backgrounds and mediocre schools.

Affirmative action has been “ruled out” by the U.S. Supreme Court if it’s quotas would be forced to be met, but the court stated that “a narrowly tailored consideration of race in admissions decisions” is legal.