A non-profit organization that works to close different types of racial gaps in education has released a brief which calls for more race-conscious policies colleges and universities.
In the Education Trust’s “Hard Truths” report, Tiffany Jones and Andrew Nichols note “despite the popular belief that affirmative action gives Black and Latino students an unfair advantage, these students are still underrepresented at the nation’s selective colleges.”
With this in mind, the pair offers ten race-based policies which, they assert, are necessary “to eliminate racism”:
1) Institutions should adopt a renewed commitment to affirmative action in higher education and use holistic admissions that include race as a factor
2) Institutions should stop over-relying on traditional measures of “merit” and other admissions preferences that disadvantage students of color
3) Institutions, states, and the federal government should provide more data that is disaggregated by race and ethnicity in higher education
4) Remove state bans on affirmative action
5) Design statewide race-conscious higher education attainment goals
6) States should invest resources in colleges that provide high-quality opportunity for students of color, as opposed to race-neutral higher education funding formulas
7) Federal government should invest more in HBCUs, tribal colleges, other minority-serving institutions (MSIs), and make sure enrollment driven MSIs are truly serving students of color
8) Federal government should require states to work toward closing racial equity gaps in spending both in higher education and K-12 in order to participate in state/federal partnerships
9) Design loan forgiveness and other student debt policy solutions to benefit students of color and help close racial wealth gaps
10) Require accreditors to examine a college’s campus racial climate
Regarding number 2, Jones and Nichols claim merit “is one of the chief impediments restricting access” of minorities to colleges. In addition, grade inflation is generally a white institution phenomenon (and thus benefits that demographic), and the continued use of standardized tests by colleges ignores long-argued claims of racial and cultural bias.
The authors argue universities should “put a greater emphasis on nontraditional academic factors” such as students’ high school “work experience” and “family responsibilities,” and should “taper their use” of legacy, donor, and sports admissions.
The authors do not seek federal intervention to achieve number 4, instead advocating grass roots measures to overturn state restrictions.
Does not Number 7 present a conundrum? Why should more resources be allocated to Historically Black Colleges when racial diversity is supposed to be such an invaluable benefit to education?