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Back in 2003, the Supreme Court ruled in a pair of cases emanating from the University of Michigan (Gratz, Grutter) that the Constitution did not prohibit public universities from implementing narrowly tailored programs intended to create a racially diverse student body. You can give each student an individualized consideration to see if he or she personally would help you build a critical mass of representative students (Grutter), but you can't give every every underrepresented minority applicant a +20 on your admissions matrix automatically (Gratz). Moreover, as Justice O'Connor warned in her majority opinion in Grutter:
It has been 25 years since Justice Powell first approved the use of race to further an interest in student body diversity in the context of public higher education. Since that time, the number of minority applicants with high grades and test scores has indeed increased. We expect that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest approved today.  
Well, it's only nine years later, but Justice O'Connor has been replaced by Justice Alito, and apparently it's soon enough to look again.

Abigail Fisher and Rachel Michalewicz are white students who were denied undergrad admission at the University of Texas in fall 2008.  Each claims that UT's consideration of race as a factor in its admissions policy discriminated against her and should be deemed unconstitutional. So, what is UT's admission's policy, and why should the composition of the Court be a concern?

As the Fifth Circuit described it, first there's the Top Ten Percent provision, which accounts for 81 percent of the entering class, filling 88 percent of the seats allotted to Texas residents and leaving only 1,216 offers of admission university-wide for non-top 10 percent residents:

In 1997, the Texas legislature responded to the Hopwood decision by enacting the Top Ten Percent Law, still in effect. The law altered UT's preexisting policy and mandated that Texas high school seniors in the top ten percent of their class be automatically admitted to any Texas state university.

The Top Ten Percent Law did not by its terms admit students on the basis of race, but underrepresented minorities were its announced target and their admission a large, if not primary, purpose. In 2004, among freshmen who were Texas residents, 77% of the enrolled African-American students and 78% of the Hispanic students had been admitted under the Top Ten Percent Law, compared to 62% of Caucasian students.

What about the rest of the class? Unsatisfied with the diversity produced from the Top Ten Percent Law alone, race can enter the process. The school looks at each student's Academic and Personal Achievement Indices—the former is what you'd expect—standardized test scores and class rank, and if you're high enough you can get in on that basis alone. But what's Personal Achievement?
The Personal Achievement Index is based on three scores: one score for each of the two required essays and a third score, called the personal achievement score, which represents an evaluation of the applicant's entire file. The essays are each given a score between 1 and 6 through "a holistic evaluation of the essay as a piece of writing based on its complexity of thought, substantiality of development, and facility with language." The personal achievement score is also based on a scale of 1 to 6, although it is given slightly greater weight in the final PAI calculation than the mean of the two essay scores.

This personal achievement score is designed to recognize qualified students whose merit as applicants was not adequately reflected by their Academic Index. Admissions staff assign the score by assessing an applicant's demonstrated leadership qualities, awards and honors, work experience, and involvement in extracurricular activities and community service. In addition, the personal achievement score includes a "special circumstances" element that may reflect the socioeconomic status of the applicant and his or her high school, the applicant's family status and family responsibilities, the applicant's standardized test score compared to the average of her high school, and — beginning in 2004 — the applicant's race. To assess these intangible factors, evaluators read the applicant's essays again, but this time with an eye to the information conveyed rather than the quality of the student's writing. Admissions officers undergo annual training by a nationally recognized expert in holistic scoring, and senior staff members perform quality control to verify that awarded scores are appropriate and consistent. The most recent study, in 2005, found that holistic file readers scored within one point of each other 88% of the time.

None of the elements of the personal achievement score — including race — are considered individually or given separate numerical values to be added together. Rather, the file is evaluated as a whole in order to provide the fullest possible understanding of the student as a person and to place his or her achievements in context. As UT's director of admissions explained, "race provides — like [the] language [spoken in the applicant's home], whether or not someone is the first in their family to attend college, and family responsibilities — important context in which to evaluate applicants, and is only one aspect of the diversity that the University seeks to attain."

And the Fifth Circuit, like the district court below it, approved UT's plan:
In this dynamic environment, our conclusions should not be taken to mean that UT is immune from its obligation to recalibrate its dual systems of admissions as needed, and we cannot bless the university's race-conscious admissions program in perpetuity. Rather, much like judicial approval of a state's redistricting of voter districts, it is good only until the next census count — it is more a process than a fixed structure that we review. [...]

A university may decide to pursue the goal of a diverse student body, and it may do so to the extent it ties that goal to the educational benefits that flow from diversity. The admissions procedures that UT adopted, modeled after the plan approved by the Supreme Court in Grutter, are narrowly tailored — procedures in some respects superior to the Grutter plan because the University does not keep a running tally of underrepresented minority representation during the admissions process. We are satisfied that the University's decision to reintroduce race-conscious admissions was adequately supported by the "serious, good faith consideration" required by Grutter. Finally, it is neither our role nor purpose to dance from Grutter's firm holding that diversity is an interest supporting compelling necessity. Nor are we inclined to do so.

Ah, but Justice O'Connor has been replaced by Justice Alito, and Chief Justice Rehnquist by Chief Justice Roberts, and the last time he got a big affirmative action in education case, he wrote:
The parties and their amici debate which side is more faithful to the heritage of Brown, but the position of the plaintiffs in Brown was spelled out in their brief and could not have been clearer: “[T]he Fourteenth Amendment prevents states from according differential treatment to American children on the basis of their color or race.” What do the racial classifications at issue here do, if not accord differential treatment on the basis of race? As counsel who appeared before this Court for the plaintiffs in Brown put it: “We have one fundamental contention which we will seek to develop in the course of this argument, and that contention is that no State has any authority under the equal-protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to use race as a factor in affording educational opportunities among its citizens.” There is no ambiguity in that statement. And it was that position that prevailed in this Court, which emphasized in its remedial opinion that what was “[a]t stake is the personal interest of the plaintiffs in admission to public schools as soon as practicable on a nondiscriminatory basis,” and what was required was “determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis.” What do the racial classifications do in these cases, if not determine admission to a public school on a racial basis?   Before Brown, schoolchildren were told where they could and could not go to school based on the color of their skin. The school districts in these cases have not carried the heavy burden of demonstrating that we should allow this once again, even for very different reasons. For schools that never segregated on the basis of race, such as Seattle, or that have removed the vestiges of past segregation, such as Jefferson County, the way "to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis" ... is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
But in these issues, Justice Kennedy may swing, even multiple times within the same opinion. From his concurring opinion in that 2005 case:
[P]arts of the opinion by The Chief Justice imply an all-too-unyielding insistence that race cannot be a factor in instances when, in my view, it may be taken into account. The plurality opinion is too dismissive of the legitimate interest government has in ensuring all people have equal opportunity regardless of their race. The plurality’s postulate that “[t]he way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race,” ante, at 40–41, is not sufficient to decide these cases. Fifty years of experience since Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U. S. 483 (1954) , should teach us that the problem before us defies so easy a solution. School districts can seek to reach Brown’s objective of equal educational opportunity. The plurality opinion is at least open to the interpretation that the Constitution requires school districts to ignore the problem of de facto resegregation in schooling. I cannot endorse that conclusion. To the extent the plurality opinion suggests the Constitution mandates that state and local school authorities must accept the status quo of racial isolation in schools, it is, in my view, profoundly mistaken.
But, he concludes ...
Though this may oversimplify the matter a bit, one of the main concerns underlying [the opinions supporting the school assignment plan at issue] was this: If it is legitimate for school authorities to work to avoid racial isolation in their schools, must they do so only by indirection and general policies? Does the Constitution mandate this inefficient result? Why may the authorities not recognize the problem in candid fashion and solve it altogether through resort to direct assignments based on student racial classifications? So, the argument proceeds, if race is the problem, then perhaps race is the solution.

The argument ignores the dangers presented by individual classifications, dangers that are not as pressing when the same ends are achieved by more indirect means. When the government classifies an individual by race, it must first define what it means to be of a race. Who exactly is white and who is nonwhite? To be forced to live under a state-mandated racial label is inconsistent with the dignity of individuals in our society. And it is a label that an individual is powerless to change. Governmental classifications that command people to march in different directions based on racial typologies can cause a new divisiveness. The practice can lead to corrosive discourse, where race serves not as an element of our diverse heritage but instead as a bargaining chip in the political process. On the other hand race-conscious measures that do not rely on differential treatment based on individual classifications present these problems to a lesser degree.

The idea that if race is the problem, race is the instrument with which to solve it cannot be accepted as an analytical leap forward. And if this is a frustrating duality of the Equal Protection Clause it simply reflects the duality of our history and our attempts to promote freedom in a world that sometimes seems set against it. Under our Constitution the individual, child or adult, can find his own identity, can define her own persona, without state intervention that classifies on the basis of his race or the color of her skin.

But then again, he explains ...
A compelling interest exists in avoiding racial isolation, an interest that a school district, in its discretion and expertise, may choose to pursue. Likewise, a district may consider it a compelling interest to achieve a diverse student population. Race may be one component of that diversity, but other demographic factors, plus special talents and needs, should also be considered. What the government is not permitted to do, absent a showing of necessity not made here, is to classify every student on the basis of race and to assign each of them to schools based on that classification. Crude measures of this sort threaten to reduce children to racial chits valued and traded according to one school’s supply and another’s demand.
The case will be argued some time this fall. Justice Kagan has disqualified herself—as solicitor general, she supervised the Justice Department's brief before the Fifth Circuit. In case of a 4-4 tie, the decision below (upholding the policy) prevails.

Originally posted to Adam B on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 03:02 PM PST.

Also republished by Discussing The Law: TalkLeft's View On Law and Politics and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Per SCOTUSblog (5+ / 0-)

    Denniston:

    University officials made a strenuous but unsuccessful effort to persuade the Supreme Court not to hear Fisher’s case.  They noted that she had gone to college at another school, Louisiana State University, and had now graduated, so she would not again be seeking admission as a freshman at Austin.   Moreover, the university’s lawyers contended that little was at stake in the case for Fisher, because she was seeking only $100 in refund of fees she paid when she applied for admission.   The university could refund the fees, and make the case moot, the attorneys contended.  Fisher’s lawyer, however, countered that she is still seeking nominal damages for the harms she claimed she suffered in being denied admission to the university.
    •  They wouldn't have taken this case (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      poco, RFK Lives, Mindful Nature, BachFan

      unless they were going to seriously limit or even outlaw affirmative action.

      I took conlaw from Archibald Cox (who argued Bakke).  He didn't think it was going to last 50 years.  He said that about 30 years ago (God I am old)

      The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

      by fladem on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 06:56:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  As I noted below (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greenbird, BachFan

        The 4 may not know how far Kennedy's willing to go, but why not roll the dice?

        •  They probably have a pretty good idea where he (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          fladem, Dump Terry McAuliffe

          will go.  On B v. G and on Citizens United, he joined w/ the group.  My guess is that he'll join it here, too.

          Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

          by RFK Lives on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 07:45:48 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  See above (PICS) (0+ / 0-)

            Citizens United was never a question; Kennedy has always been libertarian on campaign finance issues.  Race is different.

            •  Your post mentions no intercircuit conflict (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dump Terry McAuliffe

              The 5th Cir decision appears to be utterly consistent w/ prior precedent.  It appears that the basis for granting cert was to dispose of affirmative action once and for all.  Roberts has been very successful in pushing the edge of the envelope to date, and I see no reason for him to take on an issue this controversial unless he expects to win again.  

              Your citation to the prior Kennedy opinion shows his patented David Brooks streak.  I simply don't think that he has the spine to buck the 4 when push comes to shove*.  It's a political and a personality analysis much more than a legal analysis at this point.

              I hope I'm wrong.

              *I also don't think that Kennedy will have the spine to buck the 4 on individual mandates, unless they decide to punt the issue until 2014.

              Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

              by RFK Lives on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 08:12:26 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  If you think Obama is getting (0+ / 0-)

          re-elected, then this is the best chance you are going to have for a while, so your theory makes sense.

          Would Kennedy vote to outlaw affirmative action if Obama looked like he was going to win, and the case might just get reversed again?

          I think this is going down, though, and they took the case to make an election issue out of it.

          Just a guess - that is all you can ever do with this Court.

          The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

          by fladem on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 08:10:06 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  can I just say (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BachFan

        wow.  (not the old part, the Cox part)

        •  Generations of his students (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mindful Nature, BachFan

          saw the guy with the crewcut and the bow tie teaching the fuck the draft case.

          He LOVED that case.

          Oh how that phrase bellowed from him.

          The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

          by fladem on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 08:14:10 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I took Cox's undergrad course on Con Law (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Adam B

            -- mostly because my high school Am history teacher loved Watergate ... we jumped straight from the Civil War to Nixon & Watergate.  So the opportunity to learn about constitutional law from the target of the Saturday Night Massacre was not to be missed, even though it ate up one of my few electives.

            And Professor Cox changed my life -- I'd gone to college intending to become a physicist or an astronomer, but after Con Law I was all, "this is frickin' COOL stuff", and I decided to become a lawyer instead.

            "Specialization is for insects." -- Heinlein

            by BachFan on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 03:03:49 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks For the Diary (4+ / 0-)

    I was planning on writing one about SCOTUS' decision to take this case and what it may or may not mean, from the perspective of the Black attorneys left at my commercial law firm, but have been swamped.  I am glad that it didn't go unnoticed, though.

    So thanks again.

    If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

    by shanikka on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 03:14:06 PM PST

  •  The Parents Involved decision (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dclawyer06, shanikka, ER Doc

    didn't get NEARLY enough media attention. AT ALL.

    Read my stuff at burn after writing and The Huffington Post @indiemcemopants on Twitter

    by Scottie Thomaston on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 03:45:33 PM PST

    •  Some of us Tried (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Scottie Thomaston, ER Doc

      Tried to slow the train down.  Tried to explain to folks that the way to successfully push back against Alito was not on gender, but on race grounds given some of his decisions involving Black plaintiffs trying to redress discrimination, but no.  It was all about abortion.  We lost the fight on those grounds and of course Samuel Alito became a member of the court.

      So now, I look at him, the language in "Parents Involved" and the throwaway dicta by former Justice O'Connor in Grutter about what should be a "reasonable time" to no longer need "affirmative action" in America, and I am close to tears.

      Frankly, there are many many days when I have feared lately that Black people are being systematically rendered as an irrelevant nuisance by the country whose foundation we largely built with our slave labor.  Irrelevant because everyone takes us for granted as the moral compass that is supposed to worry about and champion everyone else's cause but our own, above our own.  Nuisance because we not only did not miraculously overcome the legacy of what was done to us for hundreds of years and become just like immigrants who come for the "opportunity" but also because still from time to time one of us actually points out that this country hasn't made good on the wrong it has done us that we can still see played out every day.  

      Yesterday, hearing the news, was another one of those days.

      If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

      by shanikka on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 04:56:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Too see how the arguments will go, (0+ / 0-)

    Read the Sander amicus brief:

    http://www.projectonfairrepresentation.org/...

    I predict she'll win.

    •  The Sander research is fascinating (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greenbird

      Though I don't know if it goes to the constitutionality of affirmative action as much as it looks at interesting data as to its wisdom.

      (In a nutshell, his argument is that when students are admitted to schools "above" where their achievements justify, they end up not doing well at such schools and have worse life outcomes than had they attended schools at which they are better "matched."  His research has mostly been at the law school level, IIRC, and has been challenged.)

      •  My reading of the brief (0+ / 0-)

        is that they claim the compelling interest arguments in Grutter v Bollinger are undermined sufficiently by the research for the court to reverse, in effect a constitutional argument.  I'm not familiar enough with the research to have an opinion.

  •  Race as a criteria (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peregrinus, DeanObama

    I think at one time with discrimination against minorities so prevalent this was needed.  But I do not think it should be considered anymore.  In my opinion, all students should be considered "purple".  The color of one's skin should not matter when applying to college.  The tables have turned.  Now, if one is white one may be passed over even though one has a better academic record, better test scores, better extracurricular activities, and better essays just because one is white and not a person of color.  There are students getting into UT who end up dropping out because they are not prepared for the workload.    While I would prefer that everyone who applies to college have the opportunity to go I do think there are now white students who may be more qualified getting bumped simply because of their skin color.  

    •  Um, that's what affirmative action has always been (7+ / 0-)

      There will always be thousands more qualified applicants than there are slots.

      Do you have any data to support your dropout assertion?

    •  It could be worse (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Esjaydee

      Try being Asian-American and wanting to go to UCLA or Berkeley.

    •  White women are the largest beneficiaries of AA (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Vita Brevis, ManhattanMan

      And from the article: None of the elements of the personal achievement score — including race — are considered individually or given separate numerical values to be added together. Rather, the file is evaluated as a whole in order to provide the fullest possible understanding of the student as a person and to place his or her achievements in context.

      So no, the poor poor white people don't have better everything and can handle the work better and won't drop out and oh no that means that one spot in school will never ever ever ever be able to be filled.

      •  Is this still true? (0+ / 0-)

        I heard this years ago, but with the huge gains in women's higher educational levels, I wonder if that still holds.  Have you seen any recent data to support that?

        •  Haven't seen very recent data honestly (0+ / 0-)

          However, given that white women were for a long time the largest beneficiaries, it would reason that the playing field for people of color isn't nearly even enough.  Also just wanted to point out that people never seem to bring up how white people have benefited from AA when they argue that "the tables have turned"

    •  You should also consider how entering classes are (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Adam B

      assembled.

      It isn't like students line up on a nice linear scale, because there are so many bases for comparison.

      Most schools go through a process of

      1) Pick out the "certain admits" who really really stand out
      2) then look to the pool of "well qualified" people who are good, but not as exceptional.  this pool is always bigger than the number of remaining slots.
      3) Figure out the demographics of the "Certain admits" and based on what you have, fill in the rest of the class to fill in the cracks.  If pool one has a lot of people from rural washington, then you pull in urbanites.  A lot of white people, pull in minorities.  A lot of minorities, pull in proportionately more whites. and so on.  

      thus, your odds of getting in vary from year to year depending on who else is in the pool.

      Not considering race at all would be terrible from an educational perspective, because you ahve to have a diverse pool of colleagues to create a rich educational environmeent for all.  In that sense, we will never not consider background as a factor, including race.  Not at least if we aren't idiots.

    •  A white kid and a black kid... (0+ / 0-)

      ...with equal test scores and grades are not equally qualified.

      The black kid is more qualified. He had to overcome discrimination and in order to succeed.

      This discrimination used to be a huge barrier. Today, discrimination is rare and not very influential. That is why Affirmative Action programs are small and not influential.

      Read the description of the Texas program. Race is a small part of a score...

      ...that is a third of a score...

      ...that is half of a score...

      ...that only is used to evaluate about a third of the students.

      That is barely enough to compensate a Black kid for the disadvantage the (well-researched) Pygmalion Effect probably had on his high-school grades!

  •  The 5-4 Conservative Majority Trying to Lock in (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TerryDarc, catwho

    Their decisions. The Roberts Court has been the most ideological in history.

    On the other hand, their ability to direct the federal courts is increasingly tenuous. With 8 years of Clinton plus at least 4 years of Obama, the appellate courts have been shifting gradually left from the long, long Republican winning streak on the presidency.

    If they make some overarching 5-4 decision, I predict it'll be every bit as durable as Citizens United, which is already falling apart and getting backlash. Bad precedents don't last.

    •  Eventually... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Adam B

      Yeah, it only took 58 years, and the careful strategy of Charles Hamilton Houston,  to overturn Plessy v. Ferguson.

      •  well (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        catwho

        That was a much more intractable problem: the idea that corporations should be able to spend whatever they want buying politicians is a LOT less divisive.

        But also, I'm pretty sure Plessy was what, like an 8-1 decision? There was a lot more work to undo racial attitudes and embedded prejudices than there will be to undo whatever whacky pro-corporate 5-4 decisions Roberts, Scalia and the henchmen leave us with.

  •  The Shape of the River (0+ / 0-)

    I haven't read the Sanders brief, but have thought the William Bowen/Derek Bok book, The Shape of the River, made a pretty compelling empirical case for affirmative action.

    •  I have read both and both claim to use (0+ / 0-)

      empirical evidence to argue for opposing policy stances.  As in so many other debates, we who do not have direct knowledge of the data and methodology have to decide whom to trust.

      The echo of too many Jews as too many Asians is also hard to ignore.

      Where are we, now that we need us most?

      by Frank Knarf on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 07:24:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  College admissions based on (0+ / 0-)

    skin color were necessary at one time but  times have changed for the better and everyone can now compete based on intellect and talent.

  •  It'll likely be 5-3 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hester

    Kennedy has shown precious little independance since Roberts and Alito joined. I suspect that he's acting less out of conviction than for social reasons--he's a sad old man who doesn't want to spend his golden years shunned by his friends.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 07:37:36 PM PST

    •  then he should quit. n/t (0+ / 0-)

      "Say little; do much." (Pirkei Avot: 1:15)

      by hester on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 07:43:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Actually (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Adam B

      On the Supreme Court, the general rule has been that justices get more liberal as they get older. It's kind of backwards. Rehnquist, Stevens, O'Connor, Blackmun, etc all shifted left over time (admittedly Rehnquist had a ways to go).

      But you always have to remember Kennedy was appointed by Reagan, and by that standard he's been surprisingly liberal on some pet issues, like sexual orientation, capital punishment or abortion. But he's still a conservative. There is a working 5-4 conservative majority and has been ever since O'Connor stepped down and was replaced by Alito.

    •  I don't believe that's true (0+ / 0-)

      I think about cases like Kennedy v Louisiana (death penalty for rape) and any "evolving standards of decency" case.  Or the California prison overcrowding case.  Or CLS v Martinez.

  •  whites may think this will help them (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ManhattanMan

    but it means all state universities will be dominated by Asians. Affirmative action for whites will be next.

  •  That logo looks more like... (0+ / 0-)

    ...the University of Tennessee "UT."

    The Texas version is more of a shait brown color.

    Go Big Orange!
    //Alma mater.
    /
    /Only thing in Texas is steers and some other thing.

  •  UT's policy is flawed for different reasons (0+ / 0-)

    The 10% policy doesn't take into account the size of the schools, nor the academic rigorousness of the curriculum.  So for a very tiny rural school with less than a hundred people in it, you'd literally have to be among the top 10 students to qualify.  

    I was in such a situation in Georgia - small fine arts magnet school - public and part of the county school system - with a graduation class of 74. Our top ten percent was exactly 7 people.  Thankfully, UGA's policy was less blanket and they were aggressive in getting graduates from our high school, so 35/74 of us were both accepted to and attended the school.  (Our Valedictorian? She got a total free ride at Harvard...)

    Keep your religion out of my government.

    by catwho on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 09:25:19 PM PST

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