Friday, December 11, 2015
Century Foundation Fellow Weighs in on UT Affirmative Action Case
In an awkward exchange in Wednesday’s potentially game-changing Supreme Court arguments on affirmative action, Justice Antonin Scalia hesitantly asked whether it might be better for black students to go to “a slower-track school where they do well” than to go to a highly selective college, like the University of Texas, through some form of racial preference.
“I don’t think,” Mr. Scalia said, “it stands to reason that it’s a good thing for the University of Texas to admit as many blacks as possible.” He was addressing Gregory G. Garre, the lawyer defending the University of Texas at Austin’s affirmative action policy, which supplements the automatic admission of top-ranking students from all high schools across the state with the use of race as one factor in a “holistic” approach to admissions.
In asking such a pointed question, Mr. Scalia was stepping into a long debate over what has been called the mismatch theory of college admissions. . .
“There’s research finding that roughly half of government leaders and half of corporate leaders come from just 12 selective colleges,” Richard Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation who has studied affirmative action, but favors a class-based admissions process, said Thursday. “So clearly we want to try to find ways to provide access to those institutions for people from a variety of backgrounds.” . . .