Harvard Sued for Asian Quotas in Admissions

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Re: Harvard Sued for Asian Quotas in Admissions

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So the Duke economist Peter Arcidiacono who was hired as an expert witness to sort through the data Harvard was forced to hand over in the Asian discrimination case has written a separate analysis of the effects of legacy on Harvard admissions: http://public.econ.duke.edu/~psarcidi/legacyathlete.pdf

I have not read the full report, but many of the key points were reported on in the press:
https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/09/ ... -disgrace/
Harvard’s ‘Legacy’ Preferences Are a National Disgrace
By ROBERT VERBRUGGEN
September 23, 2019 6:30 AM

. . .

The authors’ data cover the classes that applied in the autumns of 2009 through 2014 and are limited to applicants from within the U.S. By my math (based on their table 2), “LDCs” — legacies whose parents also went to Harvard; those on the dean’s list, often thanks to donations by relatives; and children of faculty and staff — were about a fifth of the students Harvard admitted during this time. Recruited athletes were another tenth. As the authors note, while it’s hardly identified with jock culture in the public imagination, Harvard for some reason fields 42 Division I sports teams.

. . .
In the authors’ estimation, most athletes and LDCs (together, “ALDCs”) at Harvard would not have gotten in based on their other credentials. Combining some more of their numbers (from table 10), I find that about 70 percent would not have made it. Paired with the fact that about 30 percent of students admitted to Harvard are ALDCs, this suggests that roughly a fifth of Harvard undergrads are there because of who their relatives are, or because they’re good at sports.

. . .
In other words, ALDC preferences are largely an affirmative-action program for certain privileged subsets of white people. One is almost tempted by the idea that Harvard’s preferences for underrepresented minorities might be justified simply to level the scales a bit.

But the numbers don’t really support that argument. The fact that a third of white Harvard students get in via ALDC preferences doesn’t mean a third of whites are occupying spaces that would otherwise go to the underrepresented minority groups that receive racial preferences. Without preferences, many white legacies would be replaced by white non-legacies — or by Asians, the overrepresented minority at the heart of the aforementioned lawsuit.

Indeed, as this table shows, the number of white admissions would fall by just 4 percent without legacy preferences and 6 percent without athlete preferences. (Though it would fall more if both were eliminated at once, of course, and unfortunately this leaves out the smaller D and C categories in ALDC.) In both scenarios, the largest number of abandoned seats go to Asians.

Image

The final row of the table also shows us what happens if legacy, athlete, and racial preferences are removed. In that case, whites actually receive 3 percent more Harvard slots than they do currently, because in today’s system they lose more from racial preferences than they gain from the others. Asian admissions rise more than 50 percent.

. . .

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Re: Harvard Sued for Asian Quotas in Admissions

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The federal judge in the case, Allison D. Burroughs (a 2014 Obama appointee), has "decided" the case in favor of the defendant in a ruling so partisan it is almost laughable. Large sections of this decision could literally have been written before the trial even began. Burroughs spends much of the decision justifying Harvard's "diversity" rationale instead of comparing evidence with the law. This woman spent a year pretending to do work.

Good thing her decision is completely meaningless. Can't wait for the Supreme Court ruling on this. If anything, Burroughs' home-cooked refereeing should make the appeal process easier:

https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/01/politics ... index.html
Federal judge upholds Harvard's admissions process in affirmative action case
By Joan Biskupic, CNN

Updated 5:50 PM ET, Tue October 1, 2019

A US district judge in Boston has upheld Harvard's admissions process following a challenge from a group representing Asian American applicants who believe the school discriminated against them.

Judge Allison Burroughs ruled Tuesday that while Harvard's admissions process is "not perfect," she would not "dismantle a very fine admissions program that passes constitutional muster, solely because it could do better."

In her 130-page opinion, Burroughs stressed that race-conscious admissions hold "an important place in society and help ensure that colleges and universities can offer a diverse atmosphere that fosters learning, improves scholarship, and encourages mutual respect and understanding."

The ruling in the closely watched case is likely to be appealed and culminate in a national showdown over affirmative action at the US Supreme Court.

The challengers had argued at trial that as Harvard's "personal" rating system disfavors Asian Americans, it favors blacks and Hispanics, who generally have lower standardized test scores compared with Asian Americans.

The Harvard ruling comes as college admissions practices are being scrutinized nationwide, including by federal prosecutors who allege that celebrity and other wealthy parents paid off coaches and education administrators to falsify student records to help them win acceptance at elite schools. The Harvard dispute centers on a wholly different but nonetheless longstanding point of contention: how institutions use students' race to boost the chances of traditionally disadvantaged applicants and enhance diversity on campus.

Affirmative action challenge

William Lee, the Washington lawyer who represented Harvard, said in a statement that the decision "represents a significant victory not merely for Harvard, but also for all schools and students, for diversity, and for the rule of law. As the court has recognized, now is not the time to turn back the clock on diversity and opportunity."

Harvard President Lawrence Bacow added, "The consideration of race, alongside many other factors, helps us achieve our goal of creating a diverse student body that enriches the education of every student."

Edward Blum, a conservative lawyer who had engineered the challenge filed in 2014, said his group, Students for Fair Admissions, would appeal to decision for the 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals.

"We believe that the documents, emails, data analysis and depositions SFFA presented at trial compellingly revealed Harvard's systematic discrimination against Asian American applicants," Blum said in a statement.

Blum has long opposed racial policies that have primarily benefitted blacks and Hispanics. In the past, Blum had sought white students to challenge affirmative action. In 2016, such a case he engineered against affirmative action at the University of Texas at Austin lost narrowly at the Supreme Court.

The Harvard lawsuit was brought under Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits race discrimination at schools that receive federal funds. Filed on behalf of Asian Americans but without any named individuals alleging bias, the case has accelerated simmering complaints from students of Asian heritage that their numbers at Ivy League institutions are capped, just as Jewish students faced quotas on elite campuses in the last century.

At its broadest, Blum crafted the case to challenge a 1978 Supreme Court precedent that first upheld campus affirmative action, permitting universities to consider the race of an applicant among many factors, toward the goal of greater campus diversity, and forbidding racial quotas in admissions. Regents of the University of California v. Bakke was decided by a 5-4 vote and has been affirmed by narrow splits through the years. It now appears a possible target of reversal at a Supreme Court that has grown more conservative and in recent years and overturned a handful of liberal precedents from the 1970s.

Burroughs found that "Harvard's admission program passes constitutional muster in that it satisfies the dictates of strict scrutiny."

"The students who are admitted to Harvard and choose to attend will live and learn surrounded by all sorts of people, with all sorts of experiences, beliefs and talents" she wrote. "They will have the opportunity to know and understand one another beyond race, as whole individuals with unique histories and experiences. It is this, at Harvard and elsewhere that will move us, one day, to the point where we see that race is a fact, but not the defining fact and not the fact that tells us what is important, but we are not there yet."

An appeal of Burroughs' ruling would go first to the 1st Circuit, before any battle over race at the reconstituted Supreme Court, with two new appointees of President Donald Trump. Justice Anthony Kennedy cast the deciding vote in the University of Texas case. He was succeeded last year by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, whose record is more conservative than Kennedy's.

The Trump administration submitted a "statement of interest" in the Harvard case, siding with the SFFA challengers and noting that the administration was investigating Harvard's screening processes after complaints to the Department of Education from more than 60 Asian American groups. The Obama administration had fielded and rejected similar complaints.

'Personal' ratings

Given the escalating competition in college admissions nationally, the trial drew an overflow crowd to Burroughs' courtroom. The three-week hearing ended on November 2, 2018, and separate closing arguments were held on February 13, 2019.

During those hearings, the challengers argued that based on data they had obtained from Harvard, that admissions officials engaged in stereotypes that discriminated unlawfully against Asian American applicants, including stereotyping students of Asian descent as "book-smart" and "not personable."

Students for Fair Admissions asserted four claims under Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act: that Harvard unlawfully holds Asian Americans to a higher standard than students of other races; that it engages in racial balancing to keep roughly the same percentages of racial groups; that it uses race not as a single "plus factor" but as a defining characteristic for admission; and, finally, that Harvard bypassed race-neutral options that for campus diversity, such as tied to students' socioeconomic backgrounds.

Harvard lawyers countered that any claims that Asian Americans fared poorly on "personal" scores arose from SFFA's selective mining of data that failed to include the full pool of applicants, among them favored children of alumni, faculty and staff, and accomplished athletes.

The percentage of Asian American students accepted at Harvard has steadily increased in recent years. Harvard reports that of those students entering this fall as the class of 2023, Asian Americans make up 25.6%, African Americans 13.1% Hispanics 11.8% and Native Americans and Native Hawaiians 2.2%. The remaining category, 47%, covers mostly white students.

Each year Harvard accepts about 2,000 students, then ends up with a freshman class of about 1,600 students who choose to attend, from a pool of about 40,000 applicants annually. Harvard lawyers argued that if racial affirmative action were disallowed, the number of African American and Hispanic students in the total student body of 6,700 would fall by roughly 1,000.

In her ruling, Burroughs rejected the arguments that Harvard could obtain sufficient diversity by looking at non-racial criteria, such as a family's economic status.

"Harvard has demonstrated," she concluded, "that there are no workable and available race-neutral alternatives, singly or taken in combination, that would allow it to achieve an adequately diverse student body while still perpetuating its standards for academic and other measures of excellence."

No expert on either side of the case, Burroughs wrote, had proposed an alternative that would allow Harvard to "meet its diversity goals while not unduly compromising on its other legitimate institutional objectives."

Regarding the Asian American "personal" ratings, Burroughs said she saw "no evidence of discrimination" beyond a "slight numerical disparity."

"The statistical disparity is relatively minor," she wrote, "and can be at least partially explained by a variety of factors" including information derived from teacher and guidance counselor recommendations.

"Even if there is an unwarranted disparity in the personal ratings, the court is unable to identify any individual applicant whose admissions decision was affected and finds that the disparity in the personal ratings did not burden Asian American applicants significantly more than Harvard's race-conscious policies burdened white applicants," the judge wrote. "Further, there is no evidence of any discriminatory animus or conscious prejudice.

But Burroughs was not without some criticism for Harvard, suggesting some changes in its admissions office.
"The process would likely benefit from conducting implicit bias trainings for admissions officers, maintaining clear guidelines on the use of race in the admissions process, which were developed during this litigation, and monitoring and making admissions officers aware of any significant race-related statistical disparities in the rating process," she wrote.

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Re: Harvard Sued for Asian Quotas in Admissions

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Here we go. The federal court ruling has been appealed:

https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2020 ... eal-brief/
Students for Fair Admissions Files Appeal Brief in Harvard Admissions Case

By Benjamin L. Fu and Dohyun Kim, Crimson Staff Writers
February 19, 2020

Anti-affirmative action group Students for Fair Admissions filed its opening appellate brief in federal court Tuesday as part of a longstanding lawsuit pending against Harvard over allegations that the College discriminates against Asian Americans in its admissions process.

SFFA argued throughout its brief that a previous district court ruling against it was incorrect and that the appeals court should reverse the decision. The group’s lawyers argued that the district court failed to apply strict scrutiny and failed to appropriately consider evidence of the alleged discrimination.

SFFA’s filing comes roughly four months after district court judge Allison D. Burroughs issued her final ruling at the conclusion of a five-year-long phase of the lawsuit. Her Oct. 2 ruling rejected SFFA’s arguments that the College’s race-conscious admissions policies are discriminatory toward Asian American applicants.

Three days after Burroughs published her opinion, SFFA filed a notice of appeal in the United States First Circuit Court of Appeals, marking the organization’s intent to challenge Burroughs’s ruling.

SFFA’s Tuesday brief reiterates previous arguments that Harvard penalizes Asian American students in the admissions process, practices “racial balancing” when selecting each incoming class, weights race too heavily in considering students’ applications, and has failed to sufficiently explore alternative race-neutral processes.

Harvard has repeatedly denied allegations that its admissions process is discriminatory, and has argued that it considers race as one factor among many in a “holistic” admissions process.

Harvard spokesperson Rachael Dane defended the College’s inclusion of race as a factor in admissions in an emailed statement Tuesday.

“We will vigorously defend the Court’s decision, which makes clear that Harvard does not discriminate on the basis of race in its admissions process, and that Harvard’s pursuit of a diverse student body is central to its educational mission and consistent with longstanding Supreme Court precedent,” Dane wrote. “Today’s filing by Students for Fair Admissions further exposes their ultimate goal of removing the consideration of race in college and university admissions.”

SFFA president Edward J. Blum wrote an emailed statement that the organization hopes the appeals process will ultimately reverse the district court ruling.

“It is our hope the First Circuit Court of Appeals will reverse the lower court’s erroneous opinion and compel Harvard to end the use of race in their admissions policies,” Blum wrote.

In one of the Tuesday brief’s arguments, SFFA’s lawyers highlighted their belief that the court erred in applying strict scrutiny. Burroughs accepted Harvard’s arguments, despite the fact that, according to SFFA, Harvard failed to prove that it does not discriminate.

“This analysis is irreconcilable with strict scrutiny,” the appellate brief reads. “Given the serious doubts that the district court harbored, Harvard by definition has not ‘offered sufficient evidence that would prove that its admissions program is narrowly tailored to obtain the educational benefits of diversity.’ The case should have ended there.”

SFFA’s lawyers also contested that Burroughs failed to fully appreciate statistical evidence, evidence related to subjective standards for “personal ratings” in admissions, and internal Harvard communications about concerns over possible discrimination.

The brief’s conclusion is straightforward, reading, “The district court’s judgment should be reversed.”

SFFA’s filing marks just the latest move in a protracted legal battle that has brought national attention on to Harvard’s admissions policies. Documents released throughout the case have revealed previously confidential details about the admissions process, such as how the College considers applications from athletes and relatives of major donors.

Harvard is scheduled to issue its reply brief within 30 days. SFFA will then have three weeks to publish another response to Harvard’s brief.
And the Justice Department has backed the appeal:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/educatio ... ts-wrapper
The Trump administration is arguing that Harvard University discriminates unlawfully against Asian Americans when choosing an undergraduate class, siding this week with a group that challenged the Ivy League school’s admissions process through a lawsuit pending in a federal appellate court.
On Monday, the Justice Department filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit that laid out two arguments for overturning the Burroughs decision.

First, the department claimed Harvard uses “racial balancing” to assemble incoming classes that have a “remarkably stable” racial and ethnic composition year after year. This amounts to “a system of de facto quotas” forbidden under Supreme Court precedents, the department contended.

Second, the department claimed that Harvard’s internal review of applications imposes “a racial penalty by systematically disfavoring Asian-American applicants.”

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Re: Harvard Sued for Asian Quotas in Admissions

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The celebrated psychologist, YouTube sensation, and former Harvard professor Jordan Peterson weighed in on the Harvard lawsuit a year ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sv_BcV6yfyU

Peterson very quickly arrives at the core of the matter: that standardized testing and other observable metrics can only be replaced by methods of evaluation that are more biased, and that what is going on at Harvard and other universities regarding Asian applicants is a form of prejudice.


But I have to post about the effort in California to repeal Prop 209 that outlaws affirmative action in state institutions. Prop 209 was passed in 1996 and has survived many legal challenges as well as at least one attempt at legislative revision. Prop 209 is the reason the UC system has such a large proportion of Asian students, especially at the flagship campuses. It should be noted, however, that interest groups in the UC system have been looking for backdoors ever since it passed, as was detailed in this NYT article from 2007.

Apparently, the entire composition of the UC regents changed when nobody was looking. The proposal will be on the ballot in California for the 2020 presidential election, which means it has a fairly good chance of passing since turnout will be high and California is a solid blue state. It is a pity that the Asian diaspora has to fight these battles over and over again, when in reality the anti-affirmative action, egalitarian spirit of Prop 209 should by now have been imposed on private institutions in California like Stanford and the University of Southern California.

https://www.latimes.com/california/stor ... ive-action
Plan to restore affirmative action in California clears hurdle after emotional debate

By TERESA WATANABE STAFF WRITER
JUNE 15, 2020

UC campuses also revised their admissions review process from one that heavily relied on grades and test scores to a comprehensive evaluation that considers 14 factors, looking at how students perform academically given the opportunities in their schools and neighborhoods.

In addition, UC campuses increased outreach to underserved communities. UCLA, for instance, works with 20 Los Angeles Unified high schools and several Black churches in the Inland Empire to scout promising students and keep them on track. The strategy, spearheaded by Youlonda Copeland-Morgan, UCLA vice provost of enrollment management, has helped the campus increase the proportion of resident Black students admitted as freshmen from 3.7% in 2012 to 6.3% in 2019.

The measures have produced some progress. The share of admission offers to California freshmen who are Black increased from 4.3% in fall 2010 to 4.7% in 2019, while the Latino share grew from 22.9% to 34.3% during the same period. Asian Americans also increased from 33.9% to 35.72% while whites declined from 32.4% to 21.9%.

By way of comparison, the demographics of California high school graduates have changed during that time period. Black students decreased their share from 6.65% in 2010 to 5.3% in 2019, while Latinos increased from 42% to 51.8%, Asian Americans stayed roughly the same at about 14%, and whites declined from 34.4% to 24.7%.

But UC has not kept pace with the growing diversity of students in California K-12 schools or the overall state population, the memo said. In 2016, for instance, underrepresented students made up 37% of UC freshmen but 56% of high school graduates.

UC campuses also have not hired proportional numbers of female faculty in several fields, such as life sciences, physical sciences and mathematics, compared with the number of women with doctorates in those areas. The university has kept pace in engineering, computer science, education, arts and humanities, the board memo said.

Ahmad Mahmuod, a UC Berkeley incoming junior, said the constraints of Proposition 209 have hampered the ability to press for more Black students, faculty and services — such as earmarked scholarships — at his campus. He and a group of other Berkeley students took their concerns to Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), who has credited them for inspiring her to introduce ACA 5.

“We know when campuses are more diverse and reflect the community, everyone benefits,” said Mahmuod, who is majoring in legal studies.

Reaction to ACA 5 is mixed among Asian Americans. Polls show that the majority of Asian Americans support affirmative action, and the measure is likely to increase the admission of students from some Southeast Asian subgroups and Pacific Islanders, according to Vincent Pan of Chinese for Affirmative Action.

Lu, however, said some Asian Americans are concerned they will be squeezed out of UC seats. She said many of her foundation members are immigrants who came to the United States “dirt poor” and succeeded through education and hard work. Allowing preferential treatment based on race, she said, will deny people the right to succeed through merit.

“Our skin color will become a scarlet letter,” she said.

Both Asian American regents, William Um and Lark Park, voted to support ACA 5. Park said that it was “fantasy” to assert that race and gender don’t matter. “We need to stop pretending that everyone has access to equal opportunity because they don’t,” Park said.

The debate over ACA 5 revives a four-decade battle over affirmative action in the UC system. In 1974, a white student named Allan Bakke sued the UC system, saying a special admissions program for minorities led to his rejection by UC Davis medical school and violated his constitutional and civil rights. In a landmark 1978 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down racial quotas but upheld the use of race as one of several factors in college admissions policy.

Even if ACA 5 wins passage, the UC and California State University systems would still need to decide how affirmative action would be implemented in their admission and hiring processes. In that event, Regent Sherry Lansing stressed, UC would not lower its high academic standards but merely add race as one of many factors in admissions decisions.

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Re: Harvard Sued for Asian Quotas in Admissions

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A separate Department of Justice investigation into Yale has concluded that Yale is violating the 1964 Civil Rights Act by discriminating against Asian and white applicants. This is apparently something of a warning. If Yale does not agree to remove race and national origin from their evaluation process, the DoJ will initiate formal legal action against it.

https://www.ft.com/content/2a5aa41b-218 ... 41cb7f3858
US justice department accuses Yale of admissions bias
University threatened with lawsuit over rate at which it admits Asian-American and white students

Kadhim Shubber in Washington YESTERDAY

The US Department of Justice on Thursday accused Yale University of discriminating against Asian-American and white undergraduate applicants, warning the institution it would face a lawsuit if it did not change its admissions practices.

In a letter to the Ivy League university, the justice department claimed Yale gave unlawful preference to black and Hispanic applicants, and alleged that Asian-American and white students with comparable grades were accepted at a significantly lower rate.

“There is no such thing as a nice form of race discrimination,” said Eric Dreiband, who heads the justice department’s civil division. “Unlawfully dividing Americans into racial and ethnic blocs fosters stereotypes, bitterness, and division.”

The claims are the latest example of the political and legal pressure top US universities have faced in recent years over their affirmative action policies, which conservatives have long sought to unwind.

Similar allegations have been levelled at Harvard University, which last year won a lawsuit brought by a student group alleging it unfairly limited the number of Asian-American applicants it admitted. The case is on appeal, and the justice department has intervened against the university.

Yale on Thursday denied the justice department’s claims and said it looked “at the whole person when selecting whom to admit”. The university said it had “co-operated fully” with the DoJ’s investigation and was continuing to produce data to the government as part of the probe.

“Given our commitment to complying with federal law, we are dismayed that the DoJ has made its determination before allowing Yale to provide all the information the department has requested thus far,” it said.

“We are proud of Yale’s admissions practices, and we will not change them on the basis of such a meritless, hasty accusation.”

The justice department began investigating Yale in 2018 for possible violations of Title VI of the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act, which bars race and other discrimination in programmes that receive federal funding. Yale receives federal funding.

It said the probe found Yale’s diversity goals were “vague, elusory, and amorphous” and that the university used race as “predominant criteria that in practice are determinative in many admissions decisions”.


From 2000 through to 2017, the number of places given to Asian-American students was lower than the proportion of applicants from that group, the justice department letter said. It said the same was true for white students in a majority of those years.

“Data produced by Yale show that Asian-American applicants have a much lower chance of admission than do members of Yale’s preferred racial groups, even when those Asian-Americans have much higher academic qualifications and comparable ratings by Yale’s admissions officers,” the letter said.

The justice department threatened to sue Yale if it failed to agree by August 27 to not use “race or national origin” when considering applicants in its 2020-21 admissions cycle, and to get the government’s approval for any plans to use race in admissions in future.

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Re: Harvard Sued for Asian Quotas in Admissions

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A school system in Maryland, just outside of DC, is undergoing a similar fight over middle- and high-school "gifted and talented" programs as the one going on in NYC. The school board recently changed the criteria for admission to these programs to factor the student's "peer group," as well as other things. The exact formula is being kept a secret. The year after the new criteria were implemented, Asian enrollment dropped by almost a quarter, while enrollment for the other races increased. A lawsuit is pending:

https://www.dailysignal.com/2020/09/02/ ... sian-kids/
Parents Sue School System for Discriminating Against High-Achieving Asian Kids
Kenny Xu September 02, 2020

A group of parents filed a lawsuit Tuesday alleging that the public school system in Montgomery County, Maryland, discriminates against Asian American students in the admissions process for gifted and talented programs.

The group of mostly Asian American parents, organized as the Association for Education Fairness, is asking a federal court in Maryland to find that changes to the admissions process violate the Constitution’s equal protection clause and to prohibit continued enforcement of the changes.

After the parents had petitioned the Montgomery County Board of Education for several years, Pacific Legal Foundation filed the suit on their behalf against both the school board and Superintendent Jack Smith in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.

“If you have a neutral and fair admissions process, we shouldn’t care what the racial outcome is. And we shouldn’t be manipulating it to get to the point where we want a racial outcome,” Chris Kieser, one of the foundation’s lawyers on the case, told The Daily Signal on Wednesday morning.

Without court intervention, the parents say in the suit, their children “will be denied the opportunity to compete for admission to … magnet middle school programs on an equal footing with other applicants on the basis of their race.”

A spokesman for Montgomery County Public Schools acknowledged The Daily Signal’s request for comment on the suit Tuesday evening, but had not responded at publication time.

Montgomery County is an affluent, Democrat-run jurisdiction just outside the District of Columbia.

In 2017, Montgomery’s school system implemented major changes in the admissions process on the recommendation of an education consultancy called Metis Associates.

Administrators replaced the old process of admissions, which was based on a combination of cognitive test scores, grades, and teacher recommendations, with a new “field test” that automatically screens a student’s qualifications using a secret formula that takes into account his or her “peer group.”

MCPS so far has refused to release the full data on the variables used in the field test to determine admissions.

In the one-year span between 2017 and 2018, the percentage of Asian Americans participating in several gifted and talented programs in MCPS middle schools dropped.

In 2017, 40% of the students admitted to the selective Takoma Park Middle School were Asian; in 2018, that percentage dipped to 31.4%.

In each of the other gifted and talented programs that conducted the field test, the results were the same across the board: a steep decline in the proportion of Asian students accepted, while the numbers rose for all three other races.


“Now, the county is entitled to and should take steps to help boost the opportunity of those who are underperforming to attend the magnet program,” said Kieser, the Pacific Legal Foundation lawyer, adding:

But it’s one thing to increase opportunity by offering test prep or increasing programs in the low-performing schools. It’s another thing to change the admissions process to prioritize low performers because you don’t like the racial balance of the school.

Eva Guo, one of the leaders of the Association for Education Fairness, said she suspects implicit racial balancing is going on.

“The Board of Education and Superintendent Jack Smith have made no secret of the fact that the changes they have implemented to the magnet program admissions policy … are intended to reduce the proportion of Asian American students enrolled in these programs,” Guo said Monday in an email to the Daily Signal, “because they thought Asian Americans are ‘overrepresented’ in the programs.”

Montgomery County Public Schools has made no secret of desiring to increase the percentage of black and Hispanic students in admissions for gifted and talented programs.

“We’re not doing a very good job of bringing in African American and Latino students,” school board member Patricia O’ Neill said about the gifted and talented programs in 2016.

As the battles in school board meetings grew more tense, however, board members, who are elected without party affiliation, appeared to show hostility toward Asian American rights and dreams.

“Your pursuit of the American dream is not necessarily everyone’s pursuit of the American dream,” then-board member Jill Ortman-Fouse said in 2016 in response to the Association for Education Fairness.

“In our country, we have experienced decades of horrors and atrocities against our African American families,” she said, seeming to imply that the value of the African American narrative in this educational context outweighs the Asian American one.

Parents involved in the Association for Education Fairness say the school board’s rhetoric grew more confrontational and dismissive of Asian American concerns about the fairness of allowing the school district to exercise more expansive control over admissions in the name of race.

In 2016, then-school board member Chris Barclay commented to the local Bethesda Beat newspaper:

In this region, [which] unfortunately is very addicted to power and ranking, there is a reality of folks wanting to be on top or have more than others. … How are we going to have this conversation so it’s not just again the usual suspects that end up knowing everything and then end up being able to leverage their knowledge to being able to get what they want for their children.

Barclay’s reference to “the usual suspects” meant the local Asian American community, the Association for Education Fairness says.

After the school board made the changes in the admissions process, the school system turned down Asian kids in for the gifted and talented program in middle schools despite their scoring as high as the 99th percentile in the tests administered for admissions.

The Asian American parents’ suit alleges this is due to the school system’s stated principle of considering a person’s score “within the context of his or her peer group.”

This was another way of saying that the school system applied local norms to its schools, pledging to select similar numbers of students from each school despite the vast differences in academic excellence among schools in Montgomery County.

The schools with more Asians enrolled tended to do significantly better across all metrics than the schools with fewer. However, Asian enrollment also tended to cluster in a small number of schools, parents say, so “local norming” the students would allow the school administrators to systematically exclude large numbers of high-performing Asian kids.

In the end, the parents who brought the suit allege, the Montgomery County school system’s intended result was to suppress Asian admissions, and those efforts largely were successful.

At least, that is, until the Association for Education Fairness sued.

“In my humble opinion on academic admissions, all students are supposed to be treated equally and judged by their characters and academic performance regardless of their race,” Guo told The Daily Signal in the Monday email.

“If we win this case,” she said, “it means that our justice system is still alive and effective; if we win, my son will not have to worry about being denied by [gifted and talented] programs just because of his race.”

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Re: Harvard Sued for Asian Quotas in Admissions

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An interesting article about the debate around Prop 209 in California. Richard Sander, the co-author of Mismatch, just issued a rebuttal to a rambling and incoherent study written by a man named Zachary Bleemer at the behest of the UC President. The Bleemer study was released as a "working paper" to allow it to sidestep peer review. Approximately thirty pages with seventy pages of appendices, the study makes at least four sweeping claims based on unverified or incomplete data. Bleemer references the data in his appendices in the study, but if you look in the appendices you find that they are drawn from datasets that are either secret or have been adapted from previous studies, mostly by other sociologists who share Bleemer's political inclinations. If Bleemer's study can be summarized in one sentence, it is: Affirmative action has only positive effects for its target recipients and magically zero negative effects for anyone else. He's one step away from a study that proves affirmative action actually helps Asians by limiting their enrollment at elite schools that would have accepted them had they been any other race. Links to the study and the rebuttal are in the article.

https://www.latimes.com/california/stor ... o-students
Debate over California’s affirmative action ban rages anew at UC as voters weigh repeal

By TERESA WATANABESTAFF WRITER
SEP. 9, 20206 AM UPDATED10:19 AM

Two months before California voters decide whether to again allow affirmative action, debate is heating up over how the 24-year state ban on it has affected Black and Latino students at the University of California.

Richard Sander, a UCLA economist and law professor, on Tuesday sharply challenged a recent UC Berkeley study that concluded Black and Latino California students experienced lower enrollment, graduation rates and subsequent wages following passage of Proposition 209, which banned preferential treatment in public education and employment based on race, ethnicity or sex.

Sander said the study erroneously claimed that enrollment of underrepresented minorities fell by about 800 students per year after the ban took effect in 1998. Their freshman enrollment did fall in 1998, Sander said, but began growing after that. Graduation rates also increased, as did attainment of degrees in science, technology, engineering and math fields, he said.

Sander called the UC Berkeley paper “worse than useless” in its current form, speaking out at a press briefing organized by opponents of Proposition 16, a proposed constitutional amendment on the Nov. 3 ballot that would repeal the affirmative action ban. He has asserted that the ban was “arguably the best thing that ever happened” to racial minorities because it pushed UC campuses to heavily invest in their academic preparation and helped raise their graduation rates.

The debate comes amid mounting activism over the repeal effort. In June, the UC Board of Regents unanimously supported a repeal of Proposition 209, amplifying the sweeping support within the university system to restore affirmative action. Then-UC President Janet Napolitano, all 10 campus chancellors and the governing bodies for faculty, undergraduate and graduate students all expressed support for the repeal effort.

Opponents of affirmative action have staged weekly rallies, arguing that merit, not “racial favoritism,” should be used in college admissions.

. . .

Bleemer’s study out of UC Berkeley focused on the impact of Proposition 209 in the first two years after it took effect, tracking more than 200,000 UC applicants between 1996 and 1999 to see whether they were admitted, where they ultimately enrolled and their academic outcomes. Bleemer also tracked the applicants’ wage earnings through their early 30s.

Sander at UCLA presented data only for freshmen and transfer students, showing their enrollment steadily grew from 1999 onward.

UC data for all undergraduates, however, show a more nuanced picture.

Overall Black undergraduate student enrollment, for instance, continued to drop until 2002, when it began rising again, according to UC data. The share of UC undergraduates who are Black held at 3% until 2006 and has slowly increased to 4.1% today.

Latino enrollment numbers have continuously grown since 1998, but their share among UC undergraduates fell until 2000, according to UC data, hitting a low point of 12.3% before gradually increasing each year to 24.8% in fall 2019.

Today, Latino and white students are the UC system’s most underrepresented major demographic groups compared with their proportion among California high school graduates who meet UC admission requirements, according to data from UC and the California Department of Education.

Latinos, for instance, made up 44.7% of that qualified pool but only about a quarter of UC undergraduates. Whites made up 27% of those eligible for UC admission but 21.4% of UC undergraduates in fall 2019. Black students were at rough parity at 4.2% of eligible students and 4.1% of UC undergraduates. Asian Americans were overrepresented, making up 19.9% of the eligible pool and 33.5% of UC students.

In a historic shift, however, Latinos surpassed Asian Americans for the first time to become the leading group of prospective freshmen admitted to UC for fall 2020 — part of the system’s largest and most diverse first-year class ever admitted, according to preliminary data.

Sander also presented data showing that graduation rates of underrepresented minorities have slowly increased.

Bleemer’s study said after the affirmative action ban took effect, Black and Latino graduation rates worsened when measured against academically comparable Asian Americans and whites.

Sander said he and other researchers cannot fully examine the veracity of Bleemer’s study because it used a massive database that the UC Office of the President will not publicly provide.

A request for the data was rejected by Pamela Brown, vice president of the UC Institutional Research and Academic Planning office because, she told Sander and other researchers in an Aug. 26 email, they contain “sensitive, personally identifiable information.”

“Why is [UC], which is legally prohibited from engaging in political activity, allowing its confidential data to be used in an amateurish, inaccurate paper that has been prominently injected into a political debate, for what certainly looks [like] an attempt to influence the fate of Prop. 16 on the November ballot?” Sander asked. “It’s not hard to connect the dots and see that the university is using its data as a political weapon, to be withheld from objective scholars who might report ‘inconvenient truths.’”


In a statement, the university said Bleemer was given access to the data as an employee of UC’s Institutional Research and Academic Planning office and not through a public disclosure. Federal law and the privacy rights of applicants and students prevent UC from publicly disclosing any “highly personal and confidential data” that is sought by Sander, the statement said, and a data set he is requesting in a lawsuit “does not exist and would take UC staff months to compile.” The California Public Records Act does not require organizations to create new records, it said.

pianoman
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Re: Harvard Sued for Asian Quotas in Admissions

Post by pianoman »

Yet another merit-based high school admissions program is under attack. Lowell High School is one of two schools in San Francisco that are allowed to admit students selectively, the other being an arts school. It is about 56% Asian, with a San Francisco Asian population of about 34%. (Only 15% white despite a 45% local population.) It is 10% Latino and 2% black (San Francisco is only 15% Latino and 6% black.) Lowell is regularly ranked as one of the best high schools in the nation.

https://www.sfgate.com/education/articl ... 651014.php
'I'm listening to a bunch of racists': Meeting devolves over proposed Lowell High admissions policy

Katie Dowd

SFGATE
Oct. 15, 2020
Updated: Oct. 15, 2020 4:13 p.m

Lowell High School, one of San Francisco's most elite schools, does things differently.

While most public schools in the city are subject to the lottery system, Lowell is not. The high school uses a combination of middle school GPA and state testing scores to evaluate most prospective students (some slots are set aside for students from under-served areas). But due to the chaos created by distance learning — and the fact that standardized testing couldn't be done at all — the San Francisco Board of Education decided it wasn't fair to evaluate students on metrics they could not meet in 2020.

Instead, the board proposed putting Lowell into the lottery system for the next school year. The change would affect the class of 2025.

The Oct. 9 announcement sent immediate shock waves through the Lowell community, some of whom put together a petition to demand the school board reevaluate its proposal.

“San Francisco families caught off guard by the proposal for a 100% lottery admission at Lowell would like to know the district has exhausted all options to maintain the academic legacy at Lowell High School," the change.org petition reads. "Parents, students, and alumni are worried that the transition will become permanent and remove one of the two remaining academic and merit-based public high schools in the city."

The announcement was also met with some push-back by the current student body. One junior, quoted anonymously in the Lowell High student paper, said "not everyone is capable of handling the stress" of the school. "Lowell isn’t going to adapt to you," the student said. "You adapt to Lowell, and if you can’t handle it, that’s on you."

The fight got even more contentious in a virtual school board meeting Tuesday, in which some parents called in to angrily defend Lowell's admissions process. Proponents say the competitive system keeps Lowell among the top public schools in the nation, while critics say the process is exclusionary for many underrepresented groups, both socioeconomic and racial.

The Chronicle reports that the meeting frequently devolved into shouting and, at one point, board member Alison Collins — who appeared to think her mic was muted — said, "I’m listening to a bunch of racists."

"This was not a good day for San Francisco," board member Rachel Norton told The Chronicle. "What I’ve heard tonight from people who claim to support our system and claim to support our students is disgusting. I’m really overcome by the ugliness."

The Board of Education is set to decide on Lowell's admission process by Oct. 20.

pianoman
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Re: Harvard Sued for Asian Quotas in Admissions

Post by pianoman »

The appeal to the Harvard lawsuit ruling has been rejected, which means the next stop is the Supreme Court, with a now 6-3 conservative majority: https://www.reuters.com/article/domesti ... 7S22Z?il=0

More interestingly, the solidly liberal state of California has rejected the proposal to repeal Prop 209 by a vote of 57% to 43%:
https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/ ... 241580002/
Deep blue and overwhelmingly against racial preferences: What's going on in California

Equality is central to the American creed. The Founding Fathers, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr. and, now, the people of America's largest state have reaffirmed that fact.

Ward Connerly Opinion contributor

In the 2020 election, by nearly 2 to 1, Californians chose former Vice President Joe Biden over President Donald Trump to be the 46th U.S. president. At the same time, this deep blue state delivered a resounding rebuke to the return of racial preferences.

This was an unequivocal victory for equality under the law.


Twenty-four years ago, Californians adopted Proposition 209 — which amended the state constitution and banned racial discrimination and preferences in public hiring, contracting and education.

This year, Proposition 16 was intended to repeal Prop 209, and voters rejected it by a margin of 57% to 43%.

Rejection of Prop 16 ran across party lines

The Yes on 16 campaign enjoyed a funding advantage of 16 to 1; the support of the entire California political, business and media establishment; and endorsements by a host of national figures, including Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris.

Yet Prop 16 still lost decisively, at even bigger margins than Prop 209 won in 1996 (55% to 45%).

Just before the election, a statewide poll conducted by the highly respected Public Policy Institute of California showed that the rejection of Prop 16 ran across party lines. Those opposed to it included 77% of Republicans, 27% of Democrats and 63% of independents.

As it turns out, embracing equality, not mapping out racial proportions, is an American value. The NO on 16 campaign drew from Republicans, Democrats, independents, and men and women of all colors and creeds.

. . .

Today, Americans recognize the steady racial progress this country has made. As an 81-year-old Black man, I grew up in the segregated and racist South. I lived to see America overcome systemic racism and become a country where every man and woman, regardless of race, ethnicity or religion, is equal before the law, where people are, indeed, judged by the content of their character, and where being racist is the worst thing one can be.

This does not mean that racism has been eradicated, as many incidents frequently remind us, but addressing racism cannot be accomplished by inflicting new racial discrimination, as Prop 16 would have done.

Prop 16 proponents were most aghast at the “overrepresentation” of Americans of Asian descent, especially at California’s most selective public universities. In other words, they felt there were far too many "yellow" faces on campus. The fact that this is racism did not bother those who cloaked their desire for legal discrimination in words such as “diversity” and “level playing field.”

Defeating the soft bigotry

By the same token, Prop 16 proponents had no qualms about continuing to belittle and patronize Blacks and Latinos, claiming that they need special treatment.

The rejection of Prop 16 last week meant a chance to move beyond grievance and race-based affirmative action across the country.

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy issued his famous executive order that instructed federal contractors to take "affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin."

This was at a time when Blacks did, indeed, face discrimination — hence the words “without regard to.”

Since then, however, “affirmative action” has often come to mean precisely the opposite — being misused on the federal, state and local level as the basis for making hiring, contracting and college admissions decisions specifically with regard to skin color.

The results have been tragic, especially for Black Americans subjected to stigma and the soft bigotry of low expectations.

It is well past time to end racial preferences — which cannot exist without corresponding discrimination — all across the country. Currently, only eight states, in addition to California, have done so. Let’s expand that number to include all states and other units of government.

Equality is central to the creed of the United States. The Founding Fathers, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr. and now the people of America's most populous state have reaffirmed that fact.

Ward Connerly is president of Californians for Equal Rights, the NO on Prop 16 Campaign, and president of the American Civil Rights Institute.

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