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Banning Affirmative Action: The California Story

California as Exhibit A for what happens when a state bans affirmative action in college admissions. We’ll look at race, college and California.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, left, talks with Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-Covina at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, April 21, 2014. Hernandez proposed a constitutional amendment that would ask voters to again allow public colleges to use race and ethnicity when considering college applicants. The proposal stalled this year after backlash from Asian Americans. (AP)

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, left, talks with Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-Covina at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, April 21, 2014. Hernandez proposed a constitutional amendment that would ask voters to again allow public colleges to use race and ethnicity when considering college applicants. The proposal stalled this year after backlash from Asian Americans. (AP)

The Supreme Court’s ruling that states can ban affirmative action in college admissions is still reverberating this week.  Of course, eight states have already done it.  California was the first, sixteen years ago.  And the California story is eye-opening.  In the first year of the ban, black and Latino admission rates plummeted by half.  They’re still way down.  And Asian-American admissions soared.  Way beyond their percentage of the population.  Now Asian-Americans are California’s number one opponents of affirmative action.  This hour On Point:  College admissions and the California story.

— Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Katy Murphy, higher education reporter for the Oakland Tribune and the San Jose Mercury News. (@katymurphy)

Gary Orfield, professor of education, law, political science and urban planning at the University of California, Los Angeles. Co-director of the Civil Rights Project at UCLA. Co-author of “Educational Delusions?: Why Choice Can Deepen Inequality and How to Make Schools Fair,” “The Resegregation of Suburban Schools: A Hidden Crisis in American Education” and “Higher Education and the Color Line.”

Carlos Munoz, Jr., professor emeritus in the department of ethnic studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

Henry Liem, philosophy professor at San Jose City College.

From Tom’s Reading List

Associated Press: California bill reignites affirmative action  — “Nearly 20 years after California became the first state to ban the use of race and ethnicity in college admissions, a proposal to reinstate affirmative action has sparked a backlash that is forging a new divide in the state’s powerful Democratic Party and creating opportunity for conservatives.”

San Jose Mercury News: California’s affirmative action ban bolstered by Supreme Court ruling — “By upholding a Michigan law nearly identical to California’s, the ruling left only a legislative — or ballot initiative — route for allowing racial and gender preferences in public college admissions, contracts and hiring.”

Los Angeles Times: Affirmative action at California colleges: A debate based on fear — “Instead of deciding based on misinformation or fear, and worrying about narrow group interests, we can have a more principled conversation about whether a racially diverse college-educated population is important for a stable and equitable California. Proponents of affirmative action will also need to make a much stronger case for why existing programs to ensure diversity are insufficient, including one that admits the top 9% of students from most high schools in the state.”

 

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