AFFIRMATIVE ACTION REDUX
WaPo has an op-ed supporting racial discrimination in professional schools disguised as a news story:
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, if its member schools relied strictly on academic measures for admissions, the proportions of black, Hispanic and Native American medical students would fall from the current 11 percent to no more than 3 percent. The situation is similar for the nation’s law schools, particularly highly selective ones, the Law School Admission Council said.
As the Supreme Court deliberates in two cases that challenge race-conscious admissions at the University of Michigan, attention has been focused on the potential impact on undergraduate education nationwide. But experts say the consequences could be worse for minority students who aspire to professional schools, where competition for seats is keener and alternatives are fewer.
“The best estimate that we have is that without race-conscious admissions, the number of African Americans in an entering class of 350 would fall below 10,” said Jeffrey S. Lehman, dean of Michigan’s law school. In the past decade, Michigan has enrolled 21 to 37 black first-year law students per class. “If there were a way to enroll more underrepresented minorities without considering race, we’d do it,” he said. “It is not that we like being race-conscious.”
So, unless standards–which the school has set–are lowered, very few minority students would get in. Why does that matter?
Medical school officials said that training black and Latino doctors is crucial not only for the sake of diversity but also to help ensure that there are medical professionals willing to practice in poor and minority communities, which are typically underserved by doctors. Numerous surveys of minority medical school graduates have found that they are far more interested in practicing in poor communities than other students.
“When you’re looking for medical students, there is a lot more to it than grade-point averages and test scores. Nobody has shown that the best doctor is necessarily the one with the best grade-point average and MCAT scores,” said Neil H. Parker, senior associate dean at UCLA medical school.
Really? Then why is that the way white and Asian students are selected? Why not go to a system–applied to students of all races–that does pick the best students? Further, if the goal is simply to get minority students degreed so they will serve in “their” communities, wouldn’t it make more sense for them to go to a lesser-tier school in their own community? Presumably, the point of going to a selective school like UCLA or Michigan is to join the profession’s elite and go on to commensurate careers. If your goal is to do community service, any decent school would suffice. Further, if we change the goal of these schools so that they are no longer elite, then racial discrimination is no longer necessary–just expand the class size to accomodate everyone who qualifies under the new, lower, standards. Or, if infrastructure issues prohibit that, simply decide what the class size will be and choose from all of the applicants who qualify based on the reduced standards via a lottery. That way, rather than having a school consisting of 90% “elite” students and 10% non-elite students who are clearly identifiable by race, no one will know who the dumb ones are other than by seeing how they perform in their classes.